Holiday Tour in Turkmenistan
Welcome to Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan is an absolutely unusual country that despite historically being interconnected with its neighboring countries considerably differs from them. Like on the territory of modern states of the region, the route of the Great Silk Road was passing here, mighty kingdoms and civilizations were growing that lasted for centuries and millennia and what is left now is the dust falling from the walls reminding of merciless rulers and cruel conquerors and great thinkers of the time. For a traveler who would like to spend vacation in Turkmenistan and explore all beauty of the country where there is a sea, deserts, mountains and oases; where they weave amazing carpets and breed beautiful racehorses; where they cook wonderful dishes and sing old songs even a year won’t be enough to seize in. But there are 10 things to do in Turkmenistan that anyone visiting the country should consider.
Top experiences in Turkmenistan
Ashgabat – the white marbled capital of Turkmenistan
Ashgabat is located in a picturesque valley at the foothills of Kopet Dagh. It emerged in 1881 first as military fortress not far from a village bearing the same name. In 1885 a railway was built that reached the area. As a result, it turned into a small town. The brightest page of Ashgabat’s history was the fall of Geoek-Tepe fortress during the aggressive colonial war with Russia. Until 1919 the city was known as Askhabat. In 1921 the city was renamed Poltoratsk. In 1927 the old name in a new transcription -Ashkhabat (“the city of love”) was returned to the city.
Lying on the banks of the mighty Amu-Darya, between the Karakum desert and the fertile plains of Uzbekistan, sprawling Turkmenabat sits at a crossroads of cultures. The town itself feels as if it’s in the geographic centre of nowhere, yet after the mind-numbing drive through the desert, it’s something of a surprise to find such a large city appear out of the sand.
The Silk Road city of Amul prospered here until its destruction by the Mongols in 1221, and was reborn under the Russian empire as Charjou, a name you’ll still hear used by the remaining Russian-speaking locals. In 2009 a gas pipeline opened here taking Turkmen gas to China, thus ensuring the city’s economic prosperity. Despite being the second-largest city in the country, there’s nothing much to see or do here, though it’s an obvious stopover between Mary and Uzbekistan.
Mary is the third largest city of Turkmenistan . It is located in a big oasis in the middle of the Kara Kum Desert . Mary was founded in 1884 as a Russian military administrative center 30 kilometers from ancient Merv (by the way until 1937 Mary was called Merv). Today it is a major center of cotton industry, large traffic point and the main center of gas industry which brings the most revenues to Turkmenistan treasury. The most interesting places in the city are the History Museum with a rich collection of artifacts, Turkmen carpets, national costumes and silver.
A creation of the Soviet Union, Dashogus is a sprawling industrial city with a neat, soulless centre and nothing to attract visitors. Even its one semi-sight, some idiosyncratic dinosaur statues, has been removed by the authorities for reasons best known to them. For some local colour, head to the excellent Bai Bazaar, where you can buy pretty much anything. There’s an internet cafe on the main drag, between the Dashogus and Diyarbekir hotels.