The Hodja Yusuf Hamadani mosque in the ancient Silk Road city of Merv, also known as Mary - Turkmen authorities have banned citizens from participating in the Hajj pilgrimage this year due to the risk of swine flu. But they have proposed an alternative: a delegation of officials will embark on a tour of Turkmen historical sites.
Merv is relatively accessible from the capital Ashgabat, but other sites are in remote parts of Turkmenistan.
The remains of the ancient city of Nisa, the capital of the ancient Parthian Empire, near Ashgabat
Ruins in Nisa - The Parthian Empire lasted from the third century BC to the third century AD -- well before the advent of Islam in Turkmenistan in the eighth century.