Mountain, Turkmenistan

7 reasons why you should travel to Turkmenistan right now

Aytaj Hasanova Aytaj Hasanova 13 January 2021
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Turkmenistan is the cradle of ancient cultures and civilizations. The first man, a Neanderthal, settled here in the Neolithic era, 10 thousand years ago. At various times, the ancient Margush civilization, the Achaemenid state, the Seljuks, Aryan and Saka tribes lived here. Fifteen hundred years ago, Christians came here. Islam was established in the VII century after the state was conquered by the Arabs.

The Karakum Desert is the main attraction of the country. In its sands, there are traces of the past: cities, mausoleums and temples of the ancients. On its territory, there are 3 nature reserves: Bereketli-Karakum, Repetek, Stunt-Khasardag.

Tourists like to travel to Turkmenistan to relax on the coast of the Caspian Sea. Here you can find everything for a comfortable stay: entertainment complexes, spas, comfortable hotels.

The national symbol of Turkmenistan is a carpet. They are hand-woven here from time immemorial, and all over the world they are considered the most beautiful and durable.

Brief information about the country:

• The capital of Turkmenistan is Ashgabat.

• The language is Turkmen.

• The Turkmenistan religion is Islam.

• Population-6 million Turkmenistan people.

• The manat is used as the Turkmenistan currency. One manat is equal to 21 Russian rubles.

Turkmenistan on the map

turkmenistan on the map

Are you wondering where is Turkmenistan? Well, the small state of Turkmenistan on the map is located in Central Asia, next to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan and Russia. Its area is 500 thousand square kilometers. This equates to the size of Spain or Thailand.

Most of the state is occupied by the plains of the Kara-Kum desert. In the west, the country is washed by the Caspian Sea. The climate here is sharply continental and arid. In January, the average temperature is -4 °C, in July +28 °C.

On the territory of the country, natural gas reserves are concentrated, the fourth in the world by volume.

Turkmen or Turkmenistan as it is correct?

turkmenistan

Turkmen or Turkmenistan as it is correct? Officially, the country is called Turkmenistan, but it is also popularly called Turkmen. It went from the time of the USSR. In 1924, the state became part of the Union republics and was named the Turkmen Socialist Republic or Turkmenistan. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Turkmenistan gained independence and the status of a presidential republic.

Turkmenistan visa

turkmenistan passport

The country is closed even to citizens of the former Soviet Union.

Then how to get to Turkmenistan from Russia? First, you need to make a Turkmenistan visa. It is issued on the basis of an invitation, it can be obtained through a travel agency.

Next, you need to contact the Embassy in Moscow or the consulate in Astrakhan. Before you undergo a personal interview with the Consul will be asked to submit the documents: invitation, passport, internal passport, visa application form, income certificate from the workplace, photos.

A visa to Turkmenistan is issued for 20 or 30 days. Its cost will cost 30-50 dollars (2-3, 5 thousand rubles). Those whose visit will last less than 10 days can get Turkmenistan visa at the airport of Ashgabat. On holidays or weekends, the cost of the service will increase by $ 10 (720 rubles).

How to get to Turkmenistan from Russia?

turkmenistan airport

The easiest way is to fly by plane from Moscow. Turkish Airlines operates direct flights from Moscow to Ashgabat. The cost of a one-way ticket ranges from 11-12 000 rubles.

The cost of a ticket from St. Petersburg will be more expensive by 3-5 000 rubles in one direction. Flights depart from Pulkovo with a stopover in Moscow or Istanbul. Transportation is carried out by the companies "S7" and " Turkish Airlines".

How to get to Turkmenistan from Russia by train? This is possible only if you go through Azerbaijan. If you want more impressions, you can first go to Baku, and after a couple of days go by train or ferry to neighboring Turkmenistan.

1. What is the capital city of Turkmenistan

capital of turkmenistan

Have you already decided to visit Turkmenistan? The capital of Turkmenistan of Ashgabat is the first thing to see. The millionaire is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the whitest city on the planet. 543 buildings are built in the same style-they are lined with white marble. For this, it was nicknamed the ghost town.

What to do in the capital? Admire the fountain complex of 27 structures, each of which is synchronized with the others. The ensemble is dedicated to the historical figure-the leader and founder of the Turkic tribes Oguzkhan. All lighting of fountains works at the expense of solar energy.

On one of the squares of the city, a giant Turkmenistan flag of the country is being developed. At the time of installation of the flagpole, its height of 133 meters was the largest in the world. The Turkmenistan flag weighs 420 kilograms and measures 52.5 by 35 meters. This is an impressive sight that is impossible to miss while in Ashgabat.

In the center of the capital there is a Museum of Turkmen carpet, the only one of its kind. It was opened in 1993. The museum building has an area of 13.5 thousand square meters. Here you can not only see expositions, but also visit scientific forums, round tables and conferences. Among the 2,000 exhibits are rare, ancient and unique specimens. Here is the largest carpet, hand-woven in 2001. Its area is 300 square meters. The oldest carpet in the museum is more than 300 years old.

When posting photos on the network against the background of attractions, put the hashtag "capital of Turkmenistan" or "Turkmenistan in my heart" so that as many people as possible learn about this amazing place.

2. The ancient city of Nisa

nature of turkmenistan

If you drive 18 kilometers west of Ashgabat, you can meet the remains of the ancient city of Nisa. For six centuries, it was the capital of the Parthian state that existed at the turn of the millennium-I BC and I AD. In the Middle Ages, trade flourished here: caravans passing along the Great Silk Road met in the city. The city existed for almost 2 thousand years, and in the XVI century the settlement began to wither and go bankrupt. Already in the XIX century, there were no Turkmenistan people left here, the place turned into ruins.

Archaeological excavations were first carried out in 1946. The royal fortress, city houses, shrines, palaces, the royal residence with a pillared hall, the treasury have survived to this day. The monuments are protected and included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The exhibits found during the excavations are kept in the State Cultural Center of Turkmenistan.

3. The Ruins Of Merv

runs of merv

In the south-eastern part of Turkmenistan, there is another UNESCO World Heritage Site, older than Nisa. These are the ruins of the ancient city of Merv. At one time, it was large and significant in Central Asia.

At the end of the third and beginning of the second millennium BC, the capital of the Margian civilization was located here. In the first millennium, Merv, surrounded by fortifications and walls, was a major center of the Parthian kingdom.

In the III century, Christians came here, who rebuilt the Orthodox church, which has survived to this day. And in the VII century, Merv began to belong to the Arabs. They built 10 libraries in the city, turning it into a cradle of knowledge and sciences. In the XII century, the city flourished and became the capital of the Seljuk state. Merv amazed his contemporaries and stood alongside Constantinople and Baghdad. He was called the "Mother of the World."

In 1221, the city was destroyed and plundered by the Mongols. Scientists began excavations at the end of the XIX century. Two-story fortresses with a corrugated facade, Big and Small Giz-Gala have survived to this day. The mausoleum of Sultan Sanjar has been preserved. Its top is still decorated with a brick dome. The items found during the excavations are kept in the United Museum of History.

4. Gates of Hell Turkmenistan 

turkmenistan

The place of the Gates of Hell Turkmenistan is remembered for a lifetime.

Darvaza means "gate" in the national language. The gas crater 90 km from the village of Yerbent is popularly called "the gates of hell" or "the doors to hell". It has a diameter of 60 meters and goes into the ground for 20. Day and night, the crater has been engulfed in flames for 40 years.

It all started with the fact that in Soviet times a gas field was discovered here. During the excavation, we came across a void, and the ground at the drilling site fell through along with the equipment. People then, fortunately, were not injured. A crater formed at the site of the accident. And so that the escaping gas did not poison people and animals, geologists decided to set it on fire. It was expected that the fire would go out in a few days, but it is still burning, since 1971.

The crater looks spectacular and ominous: dozens of different torches blaze in it, the flames reach 10-15 meters. Anyone who comes here at night becomes an eyewitness to an incredible sight: in the middle of the sands, in pitch darkness, an orange fiery light breaks out from under the ground.

5. Olekminskii horses

horses

In Turkmenistan bred a special breed of stallions, Olekminsky. The locals are proud of them, consider them the fastest and most resilient. These horses are the official symbol of the state, they are depicted on the coat of arms. There are monuments to them all over the country.

This breed was bred by the ancestors of the Turkmens about 5000 years ago. Compared to other stallions Olekminskii horses have large growth, dry Constitution and well-developed muscles. They are adapted to the hot and dry desert climate. They are suitable for both fast running over short distances, and for long grueling hikes. Due to the fact that the horses are used to walking on the quicksand of the Karakum Mountains, their gait has become graceful — it seems that the animal is floating above the ground.

Once a year, residents hold a Racehorse Festival dedicated to this breed of horse. You can ride the famous stallions as part of excursions. Dozens of horse-drawn sightseeing routes operate in different cities of Turkmenistan.

6. Traditional cuisine

turkmenistan cuisine

Turkmenistan on the map is located in Central Asia, next to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan. Local food is somewhat similar to the cuisine of neighboring peoples.

People travel to Turkmenistan to eat delicious meat and fish. Most of all, the locals love chicken and lamb. The restaurants serve game, goat and camel meat. Milk is drunk by camel and sheep.

The serving plate in Turkmenistan is prepared at every step. Lamb meat is finely chopped, fried in lard and canned. They eat the dish hot and cold, and also cook gara chorba soup on its basis.

Local residents prepare pilaf with game, most often with pheasant. Rice is fried in sesame oil, carrots and dried apricots are added to it. The pilaf is served with a sour sauce of plums and pomegranate.

Due to the arid climate, there is no variety of vegetables on the territory of Turkmenistan, but the greens grow better here, and they are used for food.

7. National carpets

national carpet of turkmenistan

In the past, every woman in Turkmenistan could weave a carpet. They were made of wool, cotton, and for noble people — and silk. Nomads appreciated this item of everyday life: after all, carpets could easily be twisted and go with them on the road. They gave heat, protected from sand and dust.

Already in the XIII century, Turkmen carpets were spoken of as the best in the world. In the nineteenth century, they were sent to Russia, France, Germany, America. In the Turkmen SSR, carpets were produced for all the union states. In the Museum of Carpets and now hangs an exhibit with a portrait of Yuri Gagarin, woven in honor of the first cosmonaut. Traditionally, the carpet depicts a national geometric ornament or floral patterns. Images of animals are also common. The traditional and most common colour for Turkmen carpets is red.

Tips for tourists

turkmenistan

In order for a holiday in Turkmenistan to be pleasant and safe, you need to follow several rules.

• First of all, local authorities are asked not to drink alcohol and not to smoke in public places, as well as to comply with the rules of photo and video shooting.

• Turkmenistan is not suitable for spontaneous travel. According to the law, tourists must be accommodated in those hotels that are indicated in the documents.

• To cross the border, you will need a visa to Turkmenistan issued for 10, 20 or 30 days.

• Within three days after crossing the border, each foreign citizen is required to register their stay with the Tourism Department of Turkmenistan.

• Internet in Turkestan is expensive and slow. Communication outages are common.

• When purchasing jewellery, musical instruments, or any art exhibits, you must keep payment documents. At the border, they will be asked to prove the legality of their purchase.

• To remove a carpet from the country, you need to get permission from the Carpet Museum that the item has no historical value. In addition, customs will be asked to pay a tax, which will depend on the size of the carpet.

• It is forbidden to export fish and black caviar from the country.

• It is forbidden to import and export local Turkmenistan currency. In local exchange offices, manats are bought for dollars.

• Tap water here is of poor quality — only bottled water is suitable for drinking.

• Tips are not accepted here. They will be appropriate only in five-star hotels and premium restaurants.

• There are no buses to the place of Hell's Gate Turkmenistan (Darvaza). Tourists can get here by rented car.

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Aytaj Hasanova

Up to Aytaj, nothing can introduce ourselves as much as our speaking style and writings. That’s why, Aytaj has written short stories, participated in different debate forums and aims to write blogs that would be appreciated by readers. Aytaj, winner and the best speaker of Youth Debate Forum of the Republic of Azerbaijan, loves to explore different cultures over the world. One of her biggest dreams is to explore Africa that has been convicted to bear all the sins of the world. In her leisure time, she also loves to draw. According to her, drawing is the kind of speaking without using sentences.

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