Mary, Turkmenistan

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Mary, Turkmenistan
Market in Mary, 1992
Market in Mary, 1992
Mary, Turkmenistan is located in Turkmenistan
Mary, Turkmenistan
Mary, Turkmenistan
Location in Turkmenistan
Coordinates: 37°36′N 61°50′E / 37.600°N 61.833°E / 37.600; 61.833
Country Turkmenistan
Province Mary
 • Hakim Kakageldi Gurbanov
Population (1989 census)[1]
 • Total 92,290
Time zone UTC+5

Mary (Turkmen: [marɯ]), formerly named Merv, Meru and Margiana, is a city on an oasis in the Karakum Desert, located on the Murghab river. It is the capital city of Mary Province, Turkmenistan. In 2009, Mary had a population of 123,000[citation needed], up from 92,000 in the 1989 census. In Kerait tradition, Mary, mother of Jesus, was buried here.


The ancient city of Merv was an oasis city on the Silk Road. It was occupied by Imperial Russia in 1884, triggering the Panjdeh Incident between Afghan forces and the Imperial Russian Army. The modern settlement was founded later that year as a Russian military and administrative post.

A force of the British Indian Army consisting of a machine gun detachment comprising 40 Punjabi troops and a British officer resisted the Bolsheviks near Merv in August 1918 in what was the first direct confrontation between British and Russian troops since the Crimean War.[2]

Mary was developed by the Soviet Union as a center for cotton production through the use of extensive irrigation. In 1968, huge reserves of natural gas were discovered 20 kilometers west of the city.[citation needed]

After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the proclamation of independence of Turkmenistan, on 18 May 1992 Mary became the center of Mary Province.

In the 2000s, the city accomplished the construction of many streets and large residential facilities. Mass housing construction still continues. The city has built the new airport terminal, a new building for the Turkmen State Power Engineering Institute, theater, library, historical museum, the Ruhiyet palace, the "Margush" hotel, a medical diagnostic center, the "Ene Myahri" medical center, the mosque Gurbanguly Haji, a stadium, an equestrian complex, an indoor swimming pool, and a renovated railway station.[3]

In 2012, the city was declared one of the cultural capitals of the CIS.[4]


Mary is Turkmenistan's fourth-largest city and a large industrial centre for the natural gas and cotton industries, the nation's two major export industries. It is a trade center for cotton, cereals, hides, and wool.


Mary is known for its Regional Museum. The city lies near the remains of the ancient city of Merv, which in corrupted form gives its name to the modern town.


The main football team is Merw Mary who play at the Mary Stadium.

Notable people[edit]


International relations[edit]

Twin towns – Sister cities[edit]

Mary is twinned with:


  1. ^ Population census 1989 Archived 4 February 2012 at WebCite, Demoscope Weekly, No. 359-360, 1–18 January 2009 (search for Туркменская ССР) (in Russian)
  2. ^ On Secret Service East of Constantinople by Peter Hopkirk, John Murray, 1994
  3. ^ Гостеприимство древнего и вечно юного города
  4. ^ Туркменский город Мары получил сертификат культурной столицы СНГ