Conquered by Alexander the Great, part of the wider Parthian Empire, then ruled by the Seljuk Turks it was not until the 11th century that the nomadic Turkmen tribes, from which Turkmenistan derives its name, first settled in the region. Fiercely independent and proud of its heritage, Turkmenistan is today an eccentric desert land of ancient ruins and lunar landscapes. Close to the southern border is capital Ashgabat, built by the Russians at the end of the 19th century and now a city of grand palaces and government buildings. For the adventurous, head north from Ashgabat into the vast dunes of the Karakum Desert to visit the extraordinary gas craters of Darvaza, visit Turkmenbashi on the shores of the Caspian Sea or travel east to Merv, a Silk Road city and, in its day, a major Islamic centre. With our knowledge and experience we can help to create a unique holiday to Turkmenistan that is tailored exactly to your requirements.