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Introducing Merv

In its heyday it was known as Marv-i-shahjahan, ‘Merv – Queen of the World’, and it stood alongside Damascus, Baghdad and Cairo as one of the great cities of the Islamic world. A major centre of religious study and a lynchpin on the Silk Road, its importance to the commerce and sophistication of Central Asia cannot be underestimated. Today, however, almost nothing of the metropolis remains, and you'll need to bring a fair chunk of imagination to get any sense of the place, which makes having a good guide essential, as well as your own transport to cover the large territory of the site.