Novruz Festival tour 6 days/5 nights
Experience the vibrant celebration of “Novruz” in Turkmenistan with our exclusive holiday tour package for spring! Immerse yourself in the rich cultural traditions and joyful festivities of this ancient festival as you explore the captivating landscapes and historical treasures of Turkmenistan.
Celebrating Novruz: Turkmenistan’s Colorful Spring Festival
Introduction: Novruz, meaning “New Day” in Persian, is a vibrant and ancient spring festival celebrated in Turkmenistan and various countries across Central Asia. With deep roots in Zoroastrianism, Novruz marks the arrival of spring, the rejuvenation of nature, and the start of a new year.
Symbolism and Significance: Novruz is a time of renewal and rebirth, symbolizing the triumph of light over darkness and the transition from winter to spring. The festival embraces the harmony between humans and nature, emphasizing the values of peace, love and unity. It serves as a reminder to appreciate the bounties of the earth and celebrate the interconnectivity of all living beings.
Preparations and Customs: Preparations for Novruz begins week in advance, as families thoroughly clean thir homes, symbolizing the purification of the soul. Traditional foods are prepared, such as “semene”, a sweet wheat dish cooked overnight, and chack-chack, a delightful dessert made from fried dough and honey. People also decorate their homes with sprouted wheatgrass.
Festive Traditions: Novruz is marked by a series of customs and rituals that reflect the diverse cultural heritage of Turkmenistan. People gather around bonfires and jump over the flames, believing it purifies them of misfortune and brings good luck for the coming year. Traditional music, dances, and theatrical performances fill the air, with locals donning colorful costumes, displaying their rich cultural traditions.
Novruz is a magnificent celebration that showcases Turkmenistan’s cultural heritage and the country’s deep connection to nature. As spring breathes life into the land, Turkmenistan bursts with vibrant colors, joyous music, and a profound sense of togetherness. By embracing the traditions and customs of Novruz, Turkmenistan invites the world to join in the festivities and experience the magic of this ancient festival, where hope, renewal, and the spirit of community prevail.
Duration: 6 days/5 nights
Dates: 19-24 March 2024
Route: Ashgabat – Gokdepe – Ashgabat – Darvaza – Ashgabat – Mary – Ashgabat
Here is an itinerary to give you a taste of what this tour has to offer:
Day 1: Ashgabat/Arrival and city tour
Arrival at Ashgabat airport with TK. Greetings and transfer to the hotel. After breakfast in the hotel, we will start by exploring the historical site of Old Nisa Fortress (UNESCO World Heritage Site), located 15 km from Ashgabat city center. The earliest of Parthian Empire capitals (III c. BC – III c. AD). Located in an atmospheric area at the foot of the Kopet-Dag Mountains. Archaeological excavations in two parts of the site have revealed richly decorated architecture, illustrative of domestic, state, and religious functions. Situated at the crossroads of important commercial and strategic axes, this powerful empire formed a barrier to Roman expansion while serving as an important communication and trading center between East and West, North and South. National Museum of History where you can take a close look at exclusive ancient artifacts and treasuries from different historical and archaeological sites of Turkmenistan.
PM we will explore the “the City of Love”. Sightseeing will include the “Bagty Koshgi” hill platform with a panoramic view of the city, the Monument of Neutrality, the Park of Independence and the Book of Ruhnama. We will also visit the Ertogrul Gazi mosque. Known as a Turkish mosque (because it looks like Blue Mosque in Istanbul) it is present from Turkey to Turkmen in honor of Ertogrul Gazi, a Turkmen leader and the father of Osman, the founder of the Ottoman Empire. A short walk in the “Park of Inspiration” with statues of famous poets of Turkmen literature.
Overnight in Ashgabat.
Day 2: Ashgabat – Gokdepe – Ashgabat
After breakfast in the hotel, we will spend the morning visiting Tolkuchka bazaar (28 km from the city), a very famous Sunday market where people come from all corners of Turkmenistan for trade. Here, locals sell goods like jewelry, Turkmen national dress, traditional accessories, carpets, handicrafts, fruits and vegetables, domestic animals, etc. Try your trading skills to negotiate for the best price on your purchases.
PM we will drive 50 km to Gokdepe village to visit Arkadash horse farm where you will have a chance to see, feed and ride the unique breed of Turkmen Ahal-Teke horses. From there will stop at Gokdepe fortress and the mosque. The village was the site of the biggest battle for Russian domination in Central Asia in the late 19 c. The fortress is also a site of a beautiful Gok-depe mosque built in 1996 in honor of the fortress defenders. Having finished our photo session with horses and mosque, we continue our drive to Ashgabat, en-route make a stop to visit an impressive complex in Kipchak village, consisting of the largest mosque in Turkmenistan and the family mausoleum of the first president of Turkmenistan.
Overnight in Ashgabat.
Day 3: Ashgabat (Novruz events) – Darvaza
Festival day. After breakfast, we travel to Anau City to participate in the festivities. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Novruz, a national holiday celebrated with great enthusiasm in Turkmenistan. Experience the joyous event featuring contests, traditional music, and dance performances. Enjoy the opportunity to taste a variety of Turkmen dishes, especially “Semene” cooked once in a year for this festival only.
PM Drive to Darvaza gas crater (270 km, 4 hours), internationally known as “Gates of Hell”. Stop at “bubbling water” and “bubbling mud” craters on the way. Short tour at the site upon arrival while nomad-style kebabs are being prepared. Dinner at sunset and another photo session by the flaming crater.
Overnight in tents, wild camping.
Day 4: Darvaza – Ashgabat
After breakfast in Darvaza, we drive back to Ashgabat. En-route stop at Yerbent village to see the local semi-nomadic lifestyle and take some pictures. Arrive in Ashgabat and hotel check-in.
PM time for leisure.
Overnight in Ashgabat.
Day 5: Ashgabat – Mary – Ashgabat
Day trip to Mary. Take breakfast boxes from the reception. Transfer to airport for flight to Mary (T5 127), departure at 6:20. Arrival in Mary at 7 am. Drive to Bayramali village to visit Old Merv (UNESCO World Heritage Site). One of the major archaeological sites of Central Asia, Merv played an important part in the development of the Silk Road for more than 2000 years. After sightseeing, visit Mary History Museum. Transfer to the airport for flight to Ashgabat (T5 130), departure at 18:40.
Arrive in Ashgabat at 19:20 and transfer to the hotel.
Overnight in Ashgabat.
Day 6: Departure
Transfer to Ashgabat International Airport for departure. End of services.
Tour price information
- Comfort A/C transportation (sedan, minivan, or bus in the cities and 4WDs in the desserts and off-roads)
- Accommodation 4*5*
- Visa support (LOI)
- Water along the way
- Entrance fees to sites
- Bilingual tour guide
- Camping gear for desert overnight (Darvaza)
- Breakfast, and dinner while camping
- Visa cost $50-$100 paid in cash on arrival
- PCR test cost $44 upon arrival
- Migration duty $14 p/p (paid at the border on arrival)
- Additional services in the hotel
- Tips to the guide and the driver (recommended)
- Personal expenses and itinerary modifications
- Photo and video camera fees at sites/museums