Republic of Turkmenistan
Form of government
The presidential republic with an one-party system
Official languages Turkmen
The largest cities Ashkhabad, Turkmenabad, Dashoguz, Turkmenbashi, Mary
Territory 491 200км ²
Population 7 966 724 people
Currency Manat (TMT, code 934)
Telephone code +993
Time zones +5
Internet domain .tm
Turkmenistan – a country in Central Asia, borders with Kazakhstan in the north, Uzbekistan in the east, Afghanistan in the south-east and Iran in the south. Western part of Turkmenistan is washed by the Caspian Sea and the Amudrya river flows along eastern border. Total area of Turkmenistan is about 488,1 thousand sq.km
Landscape of the country is quite diverse including mountains, desert, oasis, sea coast. About 80 % territory of Turkmenistan”) between the Caspian Sea and Amudarya river is occupied by the Karakum desert (meaning “Black sands”). Territory of the desert is 375.000 sq.km. Kopetdag mountains lie in the south and south-west of the country. The biggest lake is salty Sarykamish lake.
Ashgabat, the capital city is situated in south-western part of the country. This modern city was formed near the Russian fortress, established in 1881. This fortress was located on the crossroad of trade caravan routes and was known as Askhabad until 1919, but renamed into Poltoratsk in 1921. In 1927 the city received its old name – Ashkhabad (meaning ”developed with love”). In the end of the XX century new transcription of city’s name was adopted – Ashgabat.
One of the main sights of the city is the Ark of Neutrality (1998), the height of which is 75 meters, it is the highest building in Turkmenistan with the golden statue of the first president of Independent Turkmenistan Turkmenbashi. Another remarkable sight is the Mosque of Ertogrulgazy (1997) – the biggest mosque in the country.
We should also mention the Carpet Museum of Ashgabat which includes hundreds of the best patterns of carpet weaving of different times. The oldest carpet in this museum is from the XVII century. The biggest carpet in the world, size of which is almost 400sq.m. and weighs more than a ton, exhibited also in this museum.
Turkmen culture has a deep history going back to the ancient times and it is proved by a whole number of the ancient settlements located in the country.
At a distance of 18 km to the west of Ashgabat the ruins of the Nyssa – ancient Parthian capital are located (I c BC – I c AD). During archaeological excavations the marks of residential blocks, temples, palaces were found and the most interesting findings were bowls in the shape of horn made of elephant ivory, clay and stone made sculptures, coins and etc. which are of great historical value.
Another architectural monument of world significance is the ancient Merv. Already in the bronze age irrigation system was established here. The first manuscripts about Merv can be found in Avesto approximately in the VIII-VI cc. BC.
The archaeologists could find not less than five ancient settlements on the territory of Merv – Erk Kala, Gaur Kala, Sultan Kala, Abdullakhan Kala and Bayramalikhan Kala. Most of them are badly destroyed and only some earth hills are preserved in several of these settlements. Merv has been entered in UNESCO’s World Heritage list is considered to be unique historical monument. Many archaeological findings discovered during excavations of these settlements are exhibited in the history museum of Merv.
One of the most significant historical monuments of Turkmenistan is Kunya Urgench, located 480 km to the north of Ashgabat. Kunya Urgench was he ancient capital of Northern Khorezm, mentioned in the Chinese manuscripts that were found in I c. AD. In the middle of the VIII c Kunya Urgench was under Arab conquest and in 995 Gurganj (so called after Arab invasion) became the residence of Khorezm Shah and second biggest city after Bukhara which was the capital of Samanids empire.
The great figures of science and art like Avicenna (Abu Ali ibn Sino), Al Beruni, Ibn Battuta and other famous scholars of that time worked in this big medieval cultural centre.
In 1221 this city was heroically defended against the invasion of Gengizkhan, but was defeated and destroyed by Mongols. In 1388 rebuilt city was again destroyed by Tamerlane, after which Gurganj declined for a long time. In 1831 after irrigation canal Khanyab was built the city again got populated. Many famous monuments of Kunya Urgench are in ruins today, but even so these buildings are wonderful.
Along with the architectural monuments Turkmenistan is famous for the unique breed of horses which is known as Akhaltekin – world-famous fast and tolerant horses.