Mary, Turkmenistan

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Mary, Turkmenistan

Merv medieval times-1937
Alexandria Margiana antiquity
Gurbanguly Hajy Metjidi
Turkmenistan adm location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Mary, Turkmenistan
Location in Turkmenistan
Coordinates: 37°36′N61°50′E / 37.600°N 61.833°E / 37.600; 61.833 Coordinates: 37°36′N61°50′E / 37.600°N 61.833°E / 37.600; 61.833
Country Turkmenistan
Region Mary
  HakimKakageldi Gurbanov
223 m (732 ft)
Time zone UTC+5

Mary (Turkmen pronunciation:  [maɾɯ] ), formerly named Merv , Meru and Alexandria Margiana , is a city on an oasis in the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan, located on the Murgab River. It is the capital city of Mary Region. In 2010, Mary had a population of 126,000, [1] up from 92,000 in the 1989 census. [2] The ruins of the ancient city of Merv are located near the city.



Atanyyazow notes that the name "Muru" appears in Zoroastrian texts alongside the toponyms Sogd (Sogdia) and Bakhti (Bactria), and that the name "Margiana" appears carved into rocks at Behistun, Iran, dating back 2,500 years. Atanyyazow adds, "the name was used in the form Merv-ash-Shahizhan", with subsequent forms including Muru, Mouru, Margiana, Marg, Margush, Maru, Maru-shahu-jahan, Maru-Shahu-ezan, Merv, and Mary, and that some scholars interpret the word marg as "green field" or "grassland", noting that in Persian marg can mean a source of livestock. [3]


The ancient city of Merv was an oasis city on the Silk Road. It was destroyed and its population annihilated in the 13th century by the Mongols. Because of its location on the Silk Road, it revived over time only to be largely destroyed again in the 19th century by nomadic Teke raiders. Edmund O'Donovan described Merv in 1882 as

...only a "geographical expression." It means a certain amount of cultivated territory where half a million Tekke-Turkomans manage to eke out an existence by pastoral pursuits, plunder, and thievery, combined with the caravan service between Bokhara and Meshed. There is no central point which you can call Merv now, if I except the place which has grown into existence since my arrival. I speak of Koushid Khan Kala, a fort at a point on the river Murghab... [4]

It was occupied by Imperial Russia in 1884, triggering the Panjdeh incident between Afghanistan, British forces, and the Imperial Russian Army. The modern settlement was founded later that year as a Russian military and administrative post.

A force of the British Indian Army consisting of a machine gun detachment comprising 40 Punjabi troops and a British officer resisted the Bolsheviks near Merv in August 1918 in what was the first direct confrontation between British and Russian troops since the Crimean War. [5]

The area surrounding Mary was developed by the Soviet Union as a center for cotton production through the use of extensive irrigation. The Great Soviet Encyclopedia article on Mary reads in part,

Mary (until 1937 Merv), city, center of Mary oblast' of Turkmen SSR. Located on the Murghab River and Karakum Canal. Junction of railroad lines to Tashkent, Krasnovodsk, and Kushka. 67 thousand residents (1973; 8.5 thousand in 1897, 37 thousand in 1939, 48 thousand in 1959). Large wool degreasing plant, cotton gin, machine building factories; building construction amalgamate; food (milling, baking, and meat packing amalgamates, dairy plant, etc.), leather industry, carpet production. Near to Mary began to operate in 1973 the Mary District State Electrical Power Plant. Medical and pedagogical colleges. Museum of history of the revolution. Drama theater. [6]

In 1968, huge reserves of natural gas were discovered 20 kilometers west of the city in the Shatlyk Gas Field. [7]

After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the proclamation of independence of Turkmenistan, on 18 May 1992 Mary became the center of Mary Province.

In the 2000s, many streets and new residential areas were built. The new airport terminal was built, as was a new building for the Turkmen State Power Engineering Institute, a theater, the new library, a new historical museum, the Palace of Spirituality (Turkmen : Ruhiýet Köşgi), the Margush Hotel, a medical diagnostic center, the Ene Mähri obstetric-pediatric medical center, the Gurbanguly Hajji Mosque, a stadium, an equestrian complex, an indoor swimming pool, and a new railway station. [8]

In 2012, the city was declared one of the cultural capitals of the CIS. [9]


Mary is Turkmenistan's fourth-largest city and a large industrial center for the natural gas and cotton industries, two of the nation's major export earners. It is a trade center for cotton, cereals, hides, and wool.


World's Largest Yurt in Mary 151127-worlds-largest-yurt-Mary-Turkmenistan.jpg
World's Largest Yurt in Mary

Mary is known for its regional museum. The city lies near the remains of the ancient city of Merv.


The main football team is Merw Mary, who play at the Mary Stadium.

Notable people

International relations

Twin towns – Sister cities

Mary is twinned with:

Related Research Articles

The history of Turkmenistan is largely shrouded in mystery, its past since the arrival of Indo-European Iranian tribes around 2000 BC is often the starting point of the area's discernible history. Early tribes were nomadic or semi-nomadic due to the arid conditions of the region as the steppe culture in Central Asia was an extension of a larger Eurasian series of horse cultures which spanned the entire spectrum of language families including the Indo-Europeans and Turko-Mongol groups. Some of the known early Iranian tribes included the Massagatae, Scythians/Sakas, and early Soghdians. Turkmenistan was a passing point for numerous migrations and invasions by tribes which gravitated towards the settled regions of the south including ancient Mesopotamia, Elam, and the Indus Valley Civilization.

Ashgabat Capital of Turkmenistan

Ashgabat, formerly named Poltoratsk between 1919 and 1927, is the capital and the largest city of Turkmenistan. It is situated between the Karakum Desert and the Kopet Dag mountain range in Central Asia. It is also near the Iran-Turkmenistan border.

Karakum Desert desert in Central Asia

The Karakum Desert, also spelled Kara-Kum and Gara-Gum, is a desert in Central Asia. Its second word means sand; its first is a contraction of garaňky: "dark" or may pre-date that in this language family. This refers to the shale-rich sand generally beneath the sand of much of the desert. It occupies about 70 percent, 350,000 km2, of Turkmenistan.

Turkmenistan Country in Central Asia

Turkmenistan, also known as Turkmenia, is a country in Central Asia, bordered by Kazakhstan to the northwest, Uzbekistan to the north, east and northeast, Afghanistan to the southeast, Iran to the south and southwest and the Caspian Sea to the west. Ashgabat is the capital and largest city of the country. The population of the country is about 6 million, the lowest of the Central Asian republics because Turkmenistan is one of the most sparsely populated nations in Asia. Citizens of Turkmenistan are known as Turkmenistanis, Turkmenians or Turkmens.

Merv Major city in Central Asia

Merv, also known as the Merve Oasis, formerly known as Alexandria and Antiochia in Margiana was a major city in Central Asia, on the historical Silk Road, located near today's Mary in Turkmenistan. Several cities have existed on this site, which is significant for the interchange of culture and politics at a site of major strategic value.

Ahal Region Region of Turkmenistan

Ahal Region is one of five provinces of Turkmenistan. It is in the south-center of the country, bordering Iran and Afghanistan along the Kopet Dag Range. Its area is 97,160 km2 (37,510 sq mi) and population 939,700.

Mary Region Region of Turkmenistan

Mary Region is one of five provinces in Turkmenistan. It is located in the south-east of the country, bordering Afghanistan. Its capital is the city of Mary. Its area is 87,150 km2 (33,650 sq mi) and population 1,480,400. The average population density is about 15 persons per square kilometer, but it reaches 150–200 per square kilometer in the most developed oases.

Türkmenabat Place in Lebap Province, Turkmenistan

Türkmenabat, formerly and since medieval times, Chardzhou and in ancient times Āmul, is the second-largest city in Turkmenistan and the capital of Lebap Province. As of 2009, it had a population of approximately 254,000 people. From 1924 to 1927 it was briefly renamed Leninsk in honor of Vladimir Lenin.

Outline of Turkmenistan Overview of and topical guide to Turkmenistan

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Turkmenistan:

Baýramaly Place in Mary Province, Turkmenistan

Baýramaly is a city in and the seat of Baýramaly District, Mary Province, Turkmenistan. It lies about 27 km east of the provincial capital Mary, along the main railway line from Ashgabat to Tashkent. In 2009, its population was estimated at 88,486.

Ýolöten town in Mary Province, Turkmenistan

Ýolöten is a city and capital of Ýolöten District, Mary Province, Turkmenistan. The city is located in the delta of the Murghab River, 55 kilometers southeast of Mary. It was granted the status of a city in 1939.

Murgap, Turkmenistan City in Mary Province, Turkmenistan

Murgap (Russian:Мургап) is a city and capital of Murgap District in the Mary Province of Turkmenistan.

Gonur Depe Early Bronze Age settlement in Turkmenistan

Gonur Depe is an archaeological site located about 60 km north of Mary, Turkmenistan consisting of a large early Bronze Age settlement. It is the "capital" or major settlement of the Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex (BMAC) dated from 2400-1600 BCE.

Geok Tepe Place in Ahal Region, Turkmenistan

Geok Tepe is a city in and the administrative center of Gökdepe District, Ahal province, Turkmenistan, 45 kilometres (28 mi) north-west of Ashgabat. The city is built around a former fortress of the Turkmens which bore the same name. "Geok Tepe" is a Russian transliteration of the Turkic name Gökdepe, meaning "Blue Hill", from the Turkmen gök "blue" and depe "hill" or "summit". The city lies along the M37 highway.

Index of Turkmenistan-related articles Wikipedia index

The list of Turkmenistan-related articles is below

The Gurbanguly Hajji Mosque is a mosque in Mary, Turkmenistan. It was completed in 2009, during the rule of Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. It is a prominent landmark in Mary with its four minarets.

Mary History Museum is a history museum of Mary, Turkmenistan, located in the center of the city. The exposition of the museum reflects the history and culture of Mary from ancient times to the present day, is unique in size and content of the exhibits.

Turkmenistan is a country with large potential for an expanded tourism industry. Many of its Central Asian cities were main points of trade on the Silk Road, linking Eastern and Western civilizations. Many neighboring countries promote their countries based on their location along the Great Silk Road. Tourism has grown rapidly in recent years. Tourists from abroad are deterred by the restrictive visa regime with all countries of the world. Tourism is regulated by the Tourism Committee of Turkmenistan.

Teke (Turkmen tribe)

Teke is a major and politically influential tribe of Turkmens in Turkmenistan.


  1. Britannica Book of the Year 2010. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. 2009. p. 719. ISBN   978-1-59339-232-1 . Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  2. Population census 1989 Archived 18 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine , Demoscope Weekly, No. 359–360, 1–18 January 2009 (search for Туркменская ССР) (in Russian)
  3. Atanyýazow, Soltanşa (1980). Түркменистаның Географик Атларының Дүшүндиришли Сөзлүги [Explanatory Dictionary of Geographic Names in Turkmenistan]. Ashgabat: Ылым. p. 205.
  4. The Country of the Turkomans. London: Oguz Press and the Royal Geographical Society. 1977. ISBN   0 905820 01 0., Chapter 15, O'Donovan, Edmund, Merv and Its Surroundings, lecture delivered in 1882.
  5. On Secret Service East of Constantinople by Peter Hopkirk, John Murray, 1994
  6. "МАРЫ". Большая советская энциклопедия (in Russian) (3 ed.). (online version)
  7. "Petroleum Geology and Resources of the Amu-Darya Basin". 2004. Archived from the original on 5 May 2014. Retrieved 5 May 2014.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. Гостеприимство древнего и вечно юного города
  9. Туркменский город Мары получил сертификат культурной столицы СНГ