Ashgabat: Turkmenistan’s Lavish Capital of Marble and Gold

Ashgabat: Turkmenistan’s Lavish Capital of Marble and Gold

A strange and fascinating capital city, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan is a showcase of modernity set in an ancient desert landscape. Soviet-style apartment buildings mingle with modern marble and gold monuments. So many, in fact, that in 2013, the Guinness Book of World Records awarded Ashgabat the record for the highest density of white marble buildings in the world. How did it happen? Read More


6 Offbeat Destinations for Your Next Spring Adventure

6 Offbeat Destinations for Your Next Spring Adventure

Summertime may get all the glory, but why wait until then to set off on your next great adventure? Some of the world's most popular destinations are at their absolute best during the spring season: milder weather, beautiful locales awash in colorful blooms, and the start of outdoor fun and festivals get travelers and locals alike buzzing with excitement about the warmer months ahead. Ready to break free from the familiar this season? Here are six favorite off-the-beaten-path destinations sure to put a little spring in your step: Read More



Dancing in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan (VIDEO)

Dancing in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan (VIDEO)

Turkmen people love to dance. As a scattering of nomadic tribes, they reserved dancing for gatherings and special occasions. Today, everyone from young children to the elderly will find any excuse to flaunt their best moves at festivals, weddings, holidays, and national performances. It’s not just a fun outlet, it’s a way to express pride for their country and cultural traditions. Enjoy this three-part video from a recent trip to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, which captures some of the most famous Turkmen dances. Read More


Postcard from Doug: A visit to Darvaza’s burning gas crater in Turkmenistan

Postcard from Doug: A visit to Darvaza’s burning gas crater in Turkmenistan

One of the most unusual excursions in Turkmenistan is a spectacle you can witness on a visit to the Kara Kum desert north of Ashgabat. On my last visit to Turkmenistan I had the opportunity to drive up to Darvaza, a burning gas crater set on fire by Soviet engineers in 1971. Read More


5 Places to See Before You Die: A Silk Road Journey with Patricia Schultz and MIR

5 Places to See Before You Die: A Silk Road Journey with Patricia Schultz and MIR

MIR was honored to have Patricia Schultz, author of the best-selling travel book, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, among the 14 travelers who set out for the Five ‘Stans with us earlier this year. Read More




San Francisco Silk Road

San Francisco Silk Road

Headlined by an article about world traveler and extreme chef Anthony Bourdain, host of CNN’s “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown,” this travel insert to the San Francisco Chronicle also features an engaging article on the Silk Road, one of MIR’s core destinations.“Bourdain delivers travel gems as a prelude to tantalizing details–and the unspoken reminder that the more we know, the more we realize we don’t know. The natural remedy is to travel and to discover certain principles that broaden your worldview forevermore once you’ve returned home.” A modern traveler can only imagine what the Silk Road was like in its heyday in the early years of the last millennium, but so much remains in Central Asia of that era that your imagination can fill in the details fairly accurately. You can’t help but imagine lines of camels making their grumpy, flat-footed way over the scraggly hills from watering hole to wateringaaaRead More