Mary region

The southernmost region of Mary, with its fertile Murgab riverine oases, has attracted people since ancient times. Its capital Mary is the place from which the famous UNESCO World Heritage site of Merw can be visited, but also the excavation sites of the Margush civilization from Bronze Age times, of which the Gonur Depe archeological remains form the center. While Merw was at its largest at the time it functioned as regional capital of the Seljuk Empire, caravan traders have used the oases as stepping stone long before and long since. For caravans, Merw formed a cross roads on several routes, linking Khorezm, Bukhara and Samarkand to its north, to Bactria and Herat to its south when following the Murgab River to its origin. Even today, Mary Region has an entry point into Afghanistan. While the southern border areas are rarely visited and part of a protected national park, Mary and its many historical sites, see an ever-growing flow of visitors who want to experience the ancient Silk Road atmosphere. Mary is a pleasant town in its own right, with a bustling green-domed bazaar, and host to the famous Mary History and Ethnography Museum.