Ancient Merv is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999. It
was Turkmenistan's first World Heritage Site and achieved the status because of
its unparalleled significance as one of most complex urban archaeological
remains in the world.
In 1987 Turkmenistan established an archaeological park to protect the walled cities, some of the immediate extra-mural areas, and selected outlying buildings. This has already done much to improve the basic condition of the site, removing modern agriculture from within the walled areas and generally improving access to the monuments. In 1999 the site was declared a World Heritage Site. However, there are daunting conservation issues and in 2000 Merv was placed on the World Monuments Watch's list of the world's 100 most endangered sites. We subsequently worked with World Monument Watch to improve the situation. Significant issues regarding long-term site management, conservation, aggressive intervention and local capacity are still prominent and the Ancient Merv Project supports local Park where possible in all of those areas.