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Opinions

Turkmenistan - Kunya-Urgench - women - Elter photo

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Practicals

Shopping

Turkmen carpets have been famous for centuries. If you arrive with a one-way ticket, you may find a solution for flying back, ornately. 

Background

Turkmenistan - national flag

Destination in brief

Turkmenistan is a Central Asian country. Neighbors are: Kazakhstan (north), Uzbekistan (north and east), Afghanistan (south), and Iran (south)

Turkmenistan was part of the Soviet Union (1925-1991)

Size: 491,210 km² (189,657 mi²)

Population: 5,7 million (2020)

Climate

Turkmenistan is extremely hot, more than 40C (104F) during summer with almost no rain.

History

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Turkmenistan - Ashgabat - Independence Monument which celebrates the Turkmenistan independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. - Elter photo

Turkmenistan - Ashgabat - Monument of Neutrality (or Arch of Neutrality) - Elter photo

Nowadays

Turkmenistan is slightly similar to North Korea in the way that there is an indoctrination based on a specific ideology. In Turkmenistan that is a book known as “Ruhmana”. That book is the guide for the people to obey a brutal Stalinist doctrine that late President Saparmyrat Niyazow (1940-2006) introduced. The dictator offers a promise to the readers: anyone who read his book three times is granted a (non-immediate) entry to Heaven. By the way, the knowledge of Ruhnama is required even for passing a  driving test.

The primary income of the Turkmenistan economy is cotton and gas. Turkmenistan possesses the fourth-largest reserves of natural gas in the world. Turkmen gas makes not only money but tourists as well. The famous Door to Hell - a 5,350 square meters artificial crater with burning methane gas inside of it - attracts up to 10,000 visitors yearly.

People

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Turkmenistan - stableboys - Elter photo

Tourist etiquette

1. It is strictly forbidden to take a picture of policemen, police stations, soldiers, all military objects, some governmental buildings. If you do, most probably your camera, cell phone will be seized by the police.  

Gastronomy

The main dish of Turkmen cuisine is pilaf. It is cooked from rice, lamb, with the addition of a variety of aromatic herbs, seasonings, and spices, dried fruits, and nuts. One should try the Caspian sturgeon or stellate sturgeon bake in the "tandyr", smoked or grilled.

Attractions

Turkmenistan - Ashgabat - Turkmenbashi Ruhy Mosque - Elter photo

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