Buses run from Portalegre but you may need to change at Portavez. The information given in the bus station at Portalegre is not all you might wish and you do best to query the bus drivers! There are only about 2 a day so some planning makes sense.
The castle is like a child's dream - whatever the child's age! There are turrets, a dungeon, an armoury and an inner castle - all free except for a small museum. The museum is nothing wonderful but it seems almost churlish not to pay the €1 admission.
The village is completely walled and there is a short ridge across the top from the castle to beyond the church.
Pension Casa D Dinis is at the top of the village and one of the nearest buildings to the castle. They own a snack bar just across the road. Very friendly.
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Silk Road in the Mary Province of Turkmenistan. There is a state park for the old city center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. UnderstandThe oasis of Merv is situated in the Karakum Desert at the crossing of the Ama Darya River and the main route to Bukhara and Samarkand. It occupies an area of 86 x 75 km. The earliest Bronze Age centers in the oasis of Merv date from 2500 BC to 1200 BC. They are situated in the northern part of the oasis. The historic urban center developped around 500 BC in the eastern part of the oasis. It consisted of several walled cities, occupying an area of mire than 1200 hectares. The oldest of these cities is Erk Kala. According to the famous trilingual inscription of Daris the Great at Bisitun (Iran) Erk Kala dates back to the Achaemian period /519 to 331 BC). The oasis was part of Alexander the Great's empire. Plinius the Elder reports that the city was founded by Alexander himself. It was rebuilt by the Seleucid king Antiochus I Soter (281 to 261 BC) and named Margiana Antiochia. This city is identified with Erk Kala and Giaur Kala and was occupied in the Parthian, Sasanian and early Islamic periods. It is suggested that Greek and Roman soldiers who survived the defeat of the Romans against the Parthians at Carrhae in 53 BC settled at Margiana. Islam was dominant after the death of the last Sasanian King Yazdigird III (651 AD).The medieval city from the Seljuk period was erected west of the Giaur Kala. It was walled by Sultans Malikshah and Sanjar in the 11th and 12th cent. The city extended over more than 600 ha. It was the capital of the Seljuk Empire (11th to 13th cent.) and one of the most important cities in this period. It attracted scholars from all over the Islamic world, as the famous astronomer and poet Omar Khayyam and the geographer Yaqut al Hamavi. The city was sacked by the Mongols in 1221 and became part of the empire of Timur (1370-1405). The new city Abdullah Khan Kala was erected by Shah Rukh (1408-1471) on a new site to the south of Giaur Kala.  Get in By planeTurkmenistan Airlines operates three flights per day from Ashgabat to Mary. If you are short of time, you can fly from Ashgabat to Mary in the morning, visit Merv, and return to Ashgabat in the same evening. By railTurkmenistan Railways has daily trains from Ashgabat, Turkmenabat and Turkmenbasi to Mary. By bus From Uzbekistan within Turkmenistan By car Get around[add listing] SeeMary Museum. Tue to Sun 10am to 5pm. exhibits from excavations of Bronze Age Gonur, Merv and Altyn Depe, ethnographic collection on the life of the Turkmen people (carpets, traditional clothes, wedding dress, silver jewellry, complete yurt) US$1, camera US$ 5. edit The Bronze Age Settlements Kelleli, Adji Kul, Tai, Gonur Depe and Togoluk date from 2500 to 1200 BC. They are situated in the Northern part of the oasis. Kelleli 3 and Kelleli 4 have a double external wall with towers and houses. Both sites are poorly preserved, but delivered important informations of Margiana in the Middle Bronze Age. Taip illustrates the transition from Middle to Late Bronze Age. Gonur Depe is the largest Bronze Age site in Merv oasis. It covers an area of 55 ha. Excavations have revealed a huge palace, a fire temple and a large necropolis from the Late Bronze Age. Remains of large fortified buildings have been discovered in the excavations at Togoluk. The Iron Age Settlements Yaz Depe and Takhirbaj Depe in the Northern part of the oasis date from 1200 to 300 BC. Takhirbaj Depe was the most important Iron Age center in this area and was occupied throughout the Achaemenid period. During excavations at Yazd Depe a great number of ceramics was found, providing the basic typology of this period. The well preserved fortress of Gobekli from Parthian-Sasanian times is nearby.The historic urban center consist of three areas: Erk Kala, Giaur Kala and Sultan Kala. Erk Kala dates from the 6th cent. and covers an area of about 20 ha. It consists of a wall and moat. The surviving walls are up to 30 meters high. Giaur Kala dates from around 1000 AD. It is roughly square in plan and its walls are about 2 km long. The Ben Makhan Mosque in the center is hardly recognizable. The Buddhist stupa and monastery in the south east corner of Giaur Kala are considered as the westernmost excavated example. Sultan Kala dates from the 11th cent. Sultan Kala means 'fortress of the sultans'. It is situated to the west of Giaur Kala. Merv became the capital of the Seljuk State in the 11th and 12th centuries. In this period the city reached its greatest prosperity. The city was surrounded by a fortication and a moat by order of sultan Melik Shah. The walls of the medieval city and the citadel Shahriyar Ark are 12 km long. In the center of the Seljuk city, the Mausoleum of Sultan Sanjar (1118-1157) was built. The Sultan Sanjar Mausoleum is also called 'Dar-al-Akhyre (The Other World). The mausoleum was constructed by order of Sultan Muizeddin Sanjar. He was buried in 1557, but during the siege of Merv by the Mongols in 1221 the body of the sultan was reburied in an unknown place. Due to the fine brickwork, the carved stucco and the surviving mural paintings it is one of the most outstanding buildings of the Seljuk period. The nearby Mausoleum of Mohammed ibn Zayid was built in the 12th cent. in honour of Mohammed ibn Zayid, a major representative of the Shiit branch of the islam and descendant of caliph Ali in the fifth generation. Mohammed ibn Zayid was the head of a revolt against the Omayads in the 8th cent. The revolt was suppressed within a year and Mohammed ibn Zayid was killed. The fine Kufi inscription in the chamber and the original decorated brick facade of the prayer hall are especially remarkable. The mausoleum is considered one of the best examples of Islamic architecture. Greater and Lesser Kyz Kala Abdullah Khan Kala is the fortress ereceted by Timur's son Shahrukh in the 15th cent. The fortress was lined with mud bricks from the outside and had 44 watch towers. The fortifications were surrounded by huge moats up to 30 m wide, filled with water. In the citadel, only few walls of the palace have survived. The walls, however, are of outstanding interest, as they show the evolution of military architecture from the 5th cent. BC to the 15th/16th cent. AD. The fortresses of Gobleki, Uly Kishman and Garry Kishman formed part of the earthen ramparts, 30 km longs, builit for protection against invasions from the steppes in the North. Geok Tumbaz Mausoluem The maginificent Seljuk Seljuk Talkhattan Baba Mosque dates from the 12th cent. The Mausolea of Imam Bakr and Imam Shafi in the Talkhattan cemetery. Bairamalikhan Kala dates from the 18th cent. It is a three walled structure adjacent to the western wall of Abdullakhan Kala. The length of the western wall was 750 meters, the northern and southern walls were 500 m long. Only fragments of the southern and northern walls have survived.[add listing] Do[add listing] BuyTekke Bazaar, (4 km out of town). Sun. editNew Bazaar, Mollanepes sayoli. edit[add listing] EatSachra, Magtymguly köcesi 40 (in Mary), ☎ 56177. the best restaurant in Mary, shashlik, Turkmen and Russion cooking editAltyn Asir Kafe Bar, Gulistan sayoli (inear Hotel Sultan Sanjar in Mary), ☎ 39350. shashlik, Turkmen and Russian dishes edit[add listing] Drink[add listing] SleepHotel Sultan Sanjar, Mollanepes sayoli (in Mary), ☎ 67644. former Inturist hotel US$ 15 to 25. editHotel Rakhat, Murgab shossesi kilometer 2 (a little bit out of the town center of Mary), ☎ 6026134970. US$ 20 to 25. editHotel Yrsgal, Ata Köpek Mergen köcesi 40 (in Mary), ☎ 5375, 53842, fax 35119. US$ 35-45. edit Get outThis article is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow! Category: Outline articles
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