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Konye Urgench

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Konye Urgench

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Konye Urgench is a city in Northern Turkmenistan.


The town was called Urgench from the 10th century AD onwards and is now called Konye Urgench (Old Urgench), as the inhabitants moved to modern Urgench in Uzbekistan in the 17th century.

From the 1st century AD onwards Konye Urgench was an important trade center on the Northern Silk Road leading to the Caspian Sea and Russia. Around 1000 Emir Mahmum unified the country of Khorzem and made Konye Urgench its capital. Konye Urgench became one of the centers of the Islamic world. Great scholars as Al Biruni and Avicenna lived here. After its conquest by the Mongols in the 13th century, the city became an important trade center again. The famous Arabic traveller Ibn Batuta described Konye Urgench as the 'biggest among the Turkish cities with broad streets and splendid bazaars'. In the 14th century the city was destroyed by the troups of Timur.

Konye Urgench was declared UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.

Get in

By plane

Turkmenistan Airlines operates several daily flights from Ashgabat to Dashoguz.

By bus or taxi

There are frequent buses and marschrutki from Ashgabat (US$4, 10 to 12 hours) and from Dashogus (US$ 0.50, 2 hours). Taxis from Ashgabat cost about US$6 per seat or US$ 24 for the whole car, from Dashogus US$ 0.75 per seat or US$ 3.50 for the whole car. The bus station is outside town, near the Gürgenc Hotel. From there you will need a taxi to the town center.

Get around

There is no public transport in Konye Urgench. The sights of Konye Urgench are spread over the town. A taxi to the most distant monuments (Turabeg Khanym Mausoleum, Sultan Tekesh Mausoleum, Kyrk Molla and Il-Arslan Mausoleum) and back will cost about US$2 including waiting time.


  • Nedjameddin Kubra Mausoleum was built in the 14th century It is considered as the holiest place in Koye Urgench. Nedjameddin Kubra lived in the 12th/13th centuries. He was a famous religious teacher and founded an important Sufic order. He was killed by the Mongols. Please inquire locally if you are permitted to enter the mausoleum.
  • Konye Urgench Museum in the modern Dash mosque ( US$1, 8am to 1pm, 2pm to 4pm closed Tue). Some rooms contain ethnographic exhibits including a pottery workshop and carpet looms.

The most interesting monuments are on both sides the Ashgabat road about 1 km south of the town. Admission is US$ 1, camera US§ 0,70, open from 8 am to 6pm.

  • Turabeg Khanum Mausoleum is one of Central Asia's os beautiful buildings. It was built in the 14th cent by Kutlug Timur for his wife Turabeg Khanum. It's portal with a height of 21 meters high and a breadth of 14 meters is richly decorated with majolicas. The central building measuring about 100 square meters is also ornamented with colourful tiles. The interior of the dome (height: 20 meters) shows 365 stars symbolizing the days of the year, 12 open and 12 closed arches symbolize the hours of day and night, 12 bogger arches symbolize the 12 months and 4 big windows the four seasons.
  • Kutlug Timur Mínaret was begun in the 11th century and ginished in the 14th century unter Kutlug Timur. It was the minaret of the main mosque in Konye Urgench. With a height of 60 meters, it is the highest minaret in Central Asia.
  • Sultan Tekesh Mausoleum is the mauseoleum of Sultan Tekesh, shah of Khorezm in the 12th century, who conquered great parts of what is today northern Iran and northern Afghanistan. The dome was richly decorated with blue tiles and geometrical patterns.
  • Kerk Mollah (Hill of the 40 mullahs) is one of the best known places of pilgrimage in Turkmenistan.
  • Il-Arshan Mausoleum is Konye Urgench's oldest surviving monument. It contains the grave of Il Arslan, the father of Sultan Tekesh. The dome in the form of a tente and the facade of the monument with a pattern of bricks are the firts of this type and were prototype for buildings in Samarkand.




  • Bedev Cafe, Azadi köcesi, 21044. 7am to 9pm. US$ 3.



  • Gürgench Hotel, Dashogus Köcesi (out of town). US$ 6. (,no running water, pit toilets outside)
  • Chapayev Guesthouse, (on the road between the town and the Uzbekistan border post, not signposted), no phone. US$ 2.50. (,only recommended if you have your own transport)

There is no comfortable hotel in Konye Urgench. Therefore it is better to stay overnight at Dashoguz.


Get out

By plane

Turkmenistan Airlines operates several daily flights from Dashoguz to Ashgabat.

By bus or taxi

The bus station is outside town, near the Gürgenc Hotel. You will need a taxi from the town center to the bus station.

There are frequent buses and marschrutki to Ashgabat (US$4, 10 to 12 hours) and to Dashoguz (US$ 0.50, 2 hours). Taxis to Ashgabat cost about US$6 per seat or US$ 24 for the whole car, to Dashoguz US$ 0.75 per seat or US$ 3.50 for the whole car.

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