One of the most politically and physically isolated countries on earth, Turkmenistan holds a treasure trove of history and culture. Dating back millennia, Merv is one of the oldest cities in the world – archaeologists believe the site was inhabited as far back as the 3rd millennium BC. It is also believed to have briefly been the largest city in the world. As an important city on the Silk Road, it had magnificent strategic and economic value, and was fought over by, and endured under, many empires: Achaemenids, Persian, Greek, Mongol and Turks to name a few.
Other than a handful of archaeologists the site is rarely visited, but those who do are greatly rewarded by an abundance of history and culture. UCL has studied the city extensively, more information can be found here