Formerly Turkmenia, Turkmenistan is among the Turkic states of Central Asia. The country is bordered by Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Kazakhstan, to the northeast and east, southeast, and northwest, respectively. Turkmenistan is notable for having the fourth largest reserves of natural gas resources in the world, as well as its Door to Hell, a natural gas field in Derweze in Ahal Province, popular for its natural gas fire that burns continuously since it was lit by Soviet petroleum engineers in 1971. The country’s capital and largest city is Ashgabat.
What to see & do
Points of interest within Turkmenistan include Nisa, the Neutrality Monument, Turkmen Carpet Museum, Gonur Tepe, Repetek Biosphere State Reserve, Altyndepe, Ruhyýet Palace, Ashgabat National Museum of History, Badhyz State Nature Reserve, Namazga-Tepe, and The Main museum of Turkmenistan, among others. When visiting the Turkmen Carpet Museum, or National Carpet Museum, expect to see an abundant collection of carpets from the medieval ages through the 20th century. The collection has more or less 1,000 carpets from the 18th to 19th centuries, in addition to carpet articles, chuvals, khurjuns, and torba, among others. The museum also has huge Tekke carpets, one of which measures 193 square meters and weighs a metric ton. Gonur Tepe of Turkmenistan is around 55 hectares and used to be inhabited by Indo-Iranians. The archeological site has been discovered by Viktor Sarianidi. The discovery includes a palace, fortified mud-brick enclosure, temples, and altars, in addition to many. Ruhyýet Palace within Ashgabat is known as the country’s site for many official state events, forums, meetings, as well as inaugurations. It has been built by Bouygues. Other destinations include archeological sites such as Anau, Jeitun, and Merv; medieval monuments such as Abiverd, Abu Said Mithkene Mausoleum, and Dayakhaty; and nature reserves such as Amur Darja Nature Reserve, Köpet Dag Nature Reserve, and Krasnovodsk Nature Reserve.
How to get around Turkmenistan
The options for getting around within Turkmenistan include going by air, boat, and train. When traveling by boat, Amu Darya provides vital waterway transportation within the country. Train travel is possible to and from major cities within the country. Trains in Turkmenistan can be a bit slow; the rail service within the country is provided by Turkmendemiryollari (Turkmenistan Zeleznice). Expect train fees to be higher since most tickets are paid in foreign currency. The trains that Turkmendemiryollari (Turkmenistan Zeleznice) operates run to and from Turkmenbashi and Ashgabat, as well as Turkmenabat to Mary and back. Traveling by plane is also common within Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan Airlines has flights to and from Ashgabat, Mary, Turkmenbashi, Dashoguz, and other destinations.
How to get there
The three international airports that serve Turkmenistan are Turkmenbashi International Airport, Mary International Airport, and Ashgabat International Airport, formerly known as Saparmurat Türkmenbaşy International Airport. Ashgabat International Airport is located 10 kilometers or six miles northwest of the country’s capital Ashgabat. The airport has flights to and from Minsk, Ürümqi, Dubai, Baku, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Abu Dhabi, Almaty, Amritsar, Ankara, Balkanabat, Bangkok, Birmingham, Beijing, Daşoguz, Frankfurt, Kuala Lumpur, London, Mary, Moscow, Paris, Riga, Türkmenabat, Türkmenbaşy, and Saint Petersburg via Belavia, China Southern Airlines, flydubai, Lufthansa, S7 Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and Turkmenistan Airlines.