On the ruins of ancient civilizations Marý is one of the largest cities of Turkmenistan, named after the ancient city of Merv (until 1937 Mary had same name, Merv). Mary is situated in the middle of the Karakum desert in the Murghab oasis, to the south of which flows the famous Karakum canal. Mary especially attracts numerous tourists with the fact that near the city there are the ruins of at least five ancient cities of different eras, the oldest of which is the complex of Merv. It has been included in UNESCO World Heritage List as the most well preserved ancient center of Great Silk Road.
Resurrected city Merv city during long centuries of its history several times flourished and fell into decay. The greatest flowering of the city was in the Middle Ages (1040-1221) when it was the capital of Seljuk state. In that epoch Merv was a giant city with population of over a million people. In the XIII century Merv was destroyed by the Mongols. When the Russian army in the late XIX century came to this land, on the site of a huge medieval city they found only ruins and a small Turkoman fortress. On this place Russians founded a new city in 1884. Since then, Mary got a new life.
The new appearance of Mary Since 2000-ies there is an active improvement of streets, construction of large objects. In recent years in Mary were built: the new airport, the Historical Museum, "Rukhiyat" Palace, the hotel Margush, Gurbanguly-Khaji Mosque, etc. The city has a horse farm, which breds Akhal-Teke horses, known throughout the world. One of the important branches of municipal economy in Mary is the production of Turkoman carpets.
Important tourist center of Turkmenistan Today Mary is one of the most important tourist centers of Turkmenistan, particularly for archaeologists and fans of antiquity. After all, here lay the country of Margiana (with the capital, Merv city), one of the oldest centers of civilization, claiming the inclusion into the most ancient cultural world centers, along with Egypt, Mesopotamia, China and India. Here, the most well-preserved medieval monuments are: the mausoleum of the Seljukid sultan Sanjar (XII c) and the mosque-mausoleum Talkhatan-Baba (XI c), the fortress Erk-Kala. In 2012 by decision of Council of Heads of the CIS, the city of Mary has officially obtained the status of cultural capital of the CIS.