Dashoguz Region

The northernmost region of Turkmenistan with its fertile riverine oases, has been populated since ancient times. The UNESCO World Heritage site of Kunya Urgench is the best-known of various historical sites that reflect this, not the least because it was the capital of the Khorezmian Empire. Also today, the region remains a logical gateway to neighboring Uzbekistan, with two entry points, one leading directly to Nukus from present-day Kunya Urgench town, and the other one from the regional’s capital Dashoguz to Khiva. Agricultural production is crucial for the region, and most rice for Turkmenistan’s consumption is grown here. When traveling south, you enter a vast area of lowlands, ravines, salt plains and lakes and remnants of the dried-up  riverbed of the ancient Uzboy River, and the ever-present Karakum Desert. When traveling east towards the point where the famous Amu Darya River exits Turkmenistan, you follow ancient caravan routes that lead to Amul (present-day Turkmenabad) or Merw (present day Mary).

Darwaza Akchagsyan Ibragim Edhem Kunya Urgench Dashoguz Yzmukshir Islamut Ata Shahsenem Turkmenbashi Astana Baba Atamyrat Dinosaur Plateau Umbar Dere Koyten Kyrk Gyz Kainar Baba Gonur Depe Merw Mary Talkhatan Baba Soltanbent Yekedeshik Serhabat Serakhs Meane Baba Ulug Depe Kaahka Abiverd Anau Ashgabat Nissa Geok Depe Kowata Nohur Bokurdok Yerbent Magtymguly Serdar Parau Bibi Dehistan Balkanabad Ygdykala Gozli Ata Yangikala Yangisuw Turkmenbashi Awaza

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Kunya Urgench Historical Park

Kunya Urgench owes its UNESCO World Heritage status to the fact that it was an important Silk Road hub on the Oxus River, and capital of the Khorezm Empire (12th c AD), until its destruction by the armies of Dzhengis Khan.

Kunya Urgench - Kutlug Timur Minaret

The minaret, the construction of which started in 800 and was completed in 1320, is located south-east of Kyrk Molla. The tallest minaret in Central Asia is 15 m higher than Bukhara’s Kalyan minaret.

Kunya Urgench - Il Arslan Mausoleum

The oldest mausoleum on the territory of Kunya Urgench is the mausoleum of Khorezm shah Il Arslan. Its most striking feature is the Khorezmian conical dome.

Kunya Urgench - Tekesh Mausoleum

The next door mausoleum is the mausoleum of Soltan Tekesh, who was the shah of the Khorezm Empire from 1172 till 1200.

Kunya Urgench - Turabek Khanym Mausoleum

The spectacular mausoleum of Turabek Khanym is located near the Kutlug Timur minaret. She was a daughter of the Golden Horde ruler Uzbek Khan, under whose reign its power reached its peak.

Kunya Urgench - Najmiddin Kubra and Sultan Ali Mausoleum Complex

Najmiddin Kubra mausoleum (constructed in 1320-30)

The mausoleum, with its beautifully aquamarine majolica portal decorations,  holds the tomb of Najmiddin Kubra (1145-1221), a renowned Sufi leader and founder of the Kubra order.

Kunya Urgench - Kyrk Molla pilgrim hill

The remains of the fortified northern walls of a citadel (?VI c BC – III c AD) are located just opposite the Tekesh mausoleum. The popular name of the citadel is Kyrk Molla (forty mullahs).

Kunya Urgench - ‘The Gate of the Caravanserai’

The portal of this building of unknown purpose (?XIV c.) is one of the few monuments preserved on the territory of Dash Gala. The common explanation is that it was the entrance to a caravanserai.


The Yzmukshir Fortress, with its unique double wall fortifications, thrived in Parthian times, under various Turkic rulers, and during the Golden Horde, as an important regional trade and craft center in Khorezm.


Diyarbakir (IV c. B.C/III c. A.D., X-XIII cc., XIV c.) is an ancient and medieval urban site about 90 km to the west of Dashoguz. It represents a rectangle (250x200 m) in plan surrounded with the walls having an inner fire corridor and semi-oval towers.



Shahsenem is a urban site is situated 90 km to the north-west of Kunya Urgench. It represents a polygonal hill, towering almost 9 m high above the locality, originating from the period of the Kushan Empire.


Devkesen, 60 km west of Kunya Urgench, towers high above the 30-m precipice of the Ustyurt Plateau. It is crowned with an earthen citadel with goffered walls. Due to its location in a border area, the site is currently off-limits to visitors.