Turkmenistan’s capital Ashgabat stands as a glistening marble oasis amidst the endless stretches of sand encircling it. Known as the Marble City for having the highest density of white marble structures on the planet, this strikingly beautiful city will undoubtedly impress with its grandiose architecture, ornate golden statues and spotless streets, all permeated in an otherworldly calm and half-vacancy that have earned the capital its second nickname, City of the Dead.
The Ashgabat City Tour is the perfect way to explore this peculiar metropolis, affording you the convenience of seeing the city’s diverse highlights without having to arrange your own transportation or worry with communication barriers. You’ll be accompanied by a private driver and experienced local guide who can provide you with a unique perspective on each site’s history, help you to haggle for the best prices at the local bazaar and answer all of your questions along the way.
To begin your City Tour of Ashgabat, your private local guide and driver will meet you at your hotel. Your tour of the Marble City will include:
- Old Nisa, the spectacular archaeological site just 15km from the city. Nissa was the capital of the Parthian Empire, founded in the 3rd century BC and remaining in power for nearly 500 years. Today it’s listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Turkmenbashi Ruhy Mosque, the largest mosque in Central Asia. Also referred to as the Spiritual Mosque and the Gypjak Mosque, it includes a mausoleum with the tombs of former president Turkmenbashy and his immediate family members.
- Arch of Neutrality, a 95-meter-high tower topped with a gold statue of former president Saparmurat Niyazov (Turkmenbashy) that rotates to face the sun. Ride to the top in a funicular to tour a small museum and enjoy a panoramic view of the city.
- Independence Park, including the yurt-shaped Independence Monument housing the Museum of National Values that’s surrounded by lavish fountains, 27 statues of Turkmenistan’s key historical figures and a golden statue of none other than Niyazov himself.
- Statue of Lenin, unique in that it stands on a large base ornately decorated in traditional Turkmen ornamentation.
- National Museum of History, displaying over half a million items from every region of the country, including rare and priceless artifacts from ancient times through the Middle Ages.
- Gulistan Bazaar (also known as the Russian Bazaar), one of the oldest markets in the city, a clean yet lively place to buy snacks and mingle with local shoppers.
Tour duration: approximately 5 hours
- Private, local guide;
- Entrance fees to the sights as per itinerary;
- Transport throughout the tour.