Title: A preliminary study of visitors to ancient Merv (Turkmenistan)

Authors: Jonathan Edwards, Roger Vaughan

Addresses: School of Services Management Talbot Campus Poole, Bournemouth University, Dorset BH12 5BB, UK. ' School of Services Management Talbot Campus Poole, Bournemouth University, Dorset BH12 5BB, UK

Abstract: Merv was the first World Heritage Site in Turkmenistan to be designated, the site comprises early city-sites, religious or sacred buildings including the Mausoleum of Sultan Sanjar dating from the 12th century, and a shrine to honour the eminent 12th century Sufi scholar Hodja Yusup Hamadani which is a notable focus of pilgrimage. The aim of the paper is to determine a preliminary profile of visitors to a site which has historic and cultural significance for some and is a venue of shrine pilgrimage for others and review the respondent|s assessment of the management of a visitor attraction where tribal traditions and Islamic beliefs and practices are a key consideration for visitors and site managers. The preliminary conclusions support are that following more than 100 years of Russian/Soviet colonisation the Turkmen Sufi inspired form of Islam integrated into a tribal society remains vibrant for an as yet undetermined percentage of the Turkmen nation.

Keywords: Turkmenistan; culture; Sufi Islam; Merv; visitors; survey; religious tourism; religion; Islamic pilgrimage; tribal traditions; religious beliefs; Sufism.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBG.2011.040846

International Journal of Business and Globalisation, 2011 Vol.7 No.1, pp.64 - 77

Available online: 26 Jun 2011 *

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