Turkmenistan - a marvellous country with a ruling dictatorship. A cascade of desserts, a nomadic shepherd-like way of living and a warm welcome by the locals is all you get to feel in this country. Being a rich nation, owing to the natural reservoirs of oil and gas, Turkmenistan is fast developing into a tourism-friendly country. Explore this Asian country with our Turkmenistan travel guide offering tourism and travel information about the country.
Turkmenistan is a Central Asian country with a coastline on the Caspian Sea on one side and surrounded by Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to the north and Afghanistan and Iran to the south. The terrain is predominantly made up of the massive Karakum Dessert, which makes this country a place with high temperature for most part of the year. The winters in Turkmenistan are less harsh in magnitude of coldness, with the only exception of the high mountainous region.
The history of Turkmenistan is very interesting, which has had a very tyrannical dictator to rule the people. Saparmurat Niyazov- the one man army, who proudly entitled himself as 'Turkmenbashi', which means 'Father of all Turkmen' – was the legendary president of Turkmenistan. His hold on the country was so powerful and unchallenged that he has been known among one of the most privileged dictators of modern times and also has the flourishing city of Turkmenbashi named after himself. After his death, his successor Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedow has substantially slowed down the pace of untamed dictatorship in the country and has successfully introduced some social reforms.
The capital city of Turkmenistan is Ashgabat, a beautiful, well developed city, located in the heart of the country. The most famous landmark in the city is the 15 meter high standing statue in gold of 'Serdar Saparmurat Turkmenbashi the Great', the self-declared formal name of Niyazov. The statue is technically adjusted to rotate in the direction that faces the sun. Turkmenbashi is another prosperous city, named after Niyazov. Near to this city, the government has constructed the 'Avaza national touristic zone', which is supposed to have been a multi-billion dollar project. It has a collection of some of the best hotels, grand shopping malls and an international airport with world-class facility. Most of today's developed Turkmenistani cities were once oases on the historical Silk Road. Some of those cities are Balkanbat, Turkmenabat, Mary and Dasoguz.
Turkmenistan has some of the most unique places of interest for tourists to visit. One of them is the Kow Ata, an underground sulphur lake, located in the mountains near Ashgabat. The speciality of this lake is that the water always remains warm (33-37 degrees C) and it is enriched with the goodness of minerals and medicinal herbs. Kow Ata, which means 'Father of the Lakes', is an ideal place for swimming and it attracts huge crowds of tourists all year round. Another famous spot in the country is the Darvaza Flaming Crater, where the blazing fire inside the crater, which was accidentally created, never cools down, thus giving the impression of the gates of Hell.
Being an ancient country, Turkmenistan has numerous archaeological sites, which remind you of a bygone culture. The work of excavation has been extensively done to reveal some famous archaeological places like the Nissa city of the Parthian regime, the Jeitun desert settlement in Karakum that dates back to the Mesolithic period and some more sites like Namazga Depe, Anau and Merv. The country is also home to some of the most beautiful monuments and shrines of the medieval era like Astana-baba mausoleum & mosque, Dekhistan Cemetery, Parau Bibi Shrine, Ekedeshik cave houses & monastery and many more to name. There are also a lot of nature reserves in Turkmenistan, which can be visited after obtaining a special permit.
The cuisine is typically Central Asian type, which specializes in dishes like Plov, Ku'urma, Chorba, Manty, Gutap, Ichlekli and the like, accompanied with a cup of steaming Gok Chai (Green Tea) with an assortment of dry fruits and fresh herbs. When you think of shopping in Turkmenistan, the must-buy thing in a market is a special Turkoman Rug with standard geometric patterns and rich, vibrant red colour.
While you can have a nice stay at plush hotels in the big cities, there are also enough options for those who want to have an economy stay in most of the cities. Visiting the country is possible through air travel. There is an international terminal at Ashgabat airport, which has flights to some major cities of the world. You can enjoy your vacation nomadic style in Turkmenistan, where you have horse & camel rides at every corner of the country. Feel the leisure of a nomadic life and give your senses some moments of rest in this country called Turkmenistan.