Turkmenistan offers to its visitors numerous archaeological, naturali-stic and artistic touristic attractions.
The visit of the country can be started by the capital, Ashgabat, a pleasant modern city with wide avenues and stately public buildings that symbolize the renewal of the country. It should not be missed the view of the city that can be admired from the upper floors of the Arch of Neutrality, an original building erected on a tripod that cele-brates the choice of neutrality of the independent Turkmenistan. Af-ter the inevitable visit to the Carpet Museum and a visit to the Natio-nal Museum of Turkmenistan, it is advisable to make an excursion to Nisa, an archaeological site at 25 km from the capital, where it is possible to admire the remains of the ancient capital of Parthians, whose kingdom, thanks to conquests of Mithridates I, extended in the II century b.C. from the shores of the Mediterranean sea to the banks of Indus. Excavations brought to light the remains of the an-cient fortress of Mithridatkert, built on the top of a hill and including inside two big architectonic structures, one of which, still partially e-rect, witnesses the originality of the architecture of Parthians. Another place to visit not far from Ashgabat is Anau, where there was an ancient mosque of great architectonic importance. Destroyed by the earthquake of 1948, nowadays it is possible to visit its remains. An archaeological site of great importance is Merv, now at 30 km from Mary, where several settlements have been superimposed one upon another forming in the centuries a quite complex stratified archaeo-logical reality. It should not be missed a visit to the Mausoleum of Sultan Sanjar, a building dating back to the twelfth century characte-rized by a row of ogival windows and by a semispherical dome. For completing the archaeological itinerary it is advisable a visit to Köne-ürgenç, situated in the north of the country at about 100 km from Dashoguz. This place was in the twelfth century the capital of the an-cient kingdom of Khoresm and keeps important evidences of that period. In Köneürgenç it is possible to admire the Mausoleum of Tü-rabeg Khanym, an imposing building that keeps inside beautiful mo-saics that can be reached through a wide decorated portal. In Kö-neürgenç also the Mausoleum of Il Arslan is very interesting. It is a square-shaped structure surmounted by a dodecagonal tower termi-nating itself in a conical dome decorated with geometrical patterns of various colours. A naturalistic attraction which ca not be omissed in a touristic itinerary for discovering Turkmenistan is the cave of Kov-ata, on the Kopet Dağ Mountains, where there is the underground lake of Bakharden. Here the temperature of water and air is constantly 36°C and the particular microclimate is very appreciated for its therapeu-tical properties.

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