Central Asia Travel in Turkmenistan
Another fascinating country to visit while touring Central Asia is Turkmenistan. It is interesting to note that Turkmenistan is one of the most mysterious countries of Central Asia, now gaining more and more popularity with international tourists. Turkmenistan is becoming one of the most visited countries of central Asia. It is a land rich with tradition and history, picturesque landscapes, and unique sites.
Turkmenistan is a country with a population of about 5 million, and an area that is almost the size of Spain. Surrounded by neighboring countries of Iran and Afghanistan to the South, and Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to the North, it has a coastal line on the Caspian Sea, but is otherwise landlocked. Nearly 80% of the country is considered part of the Karakum Desert.
The traditional livelihood of the Turkmen is that of nomadic shepherds, though some have been settled in towns for centuries. The country is known for its fine carpets and horses. It is a fairly developing country and has remained largely isolated from the world. Off late due to a drive to modernize the country billions have been spent on modernization in Ashgabat, Turkmenbashi, and many other cities in the country. Also, the country has extensive oil and gas reserves being developed, with recently opened pipelines to China, Iran, and soon Azerbaijan.
Ashgabat, is the capital and largest city of Turkmenistan. Ashgabat, is a city dotted with beautiful parks and monuments. Ashgabat was recently noted by the Guinness Book of World Records as having the most white marble-clad buildings in the world. A total of 543 new buildings lined with white marble covering a total area of 4.5 million square meters can be seen when one visits this marvelous city. One should avoid visiting Asghabat during the summer months of July and August.When in Ashgabat be sure to visit, the Palace of Turkmenbashi, the National Museum which houses a rich collection of ancient artifacts of the land and the Archaeological site of Nissa.
Another town to visit in Turmekistan is Mary. Nestled in the South Eastern part of the country, Mary is a major regional city and large industrial center serving as the main tourist base for Merv and other nearby archaeological sites. Mary is the second largest city in Turkmenistan and lies about 350 km east of Ashgabat. Mary can be reached from Ashgabat by car or by a short air journey. It is the capital of the Mary Region. Mary (Merv) was once known as the "Pearl of the East" as it was the second city of Islam after Baghdad between the 8th-13th centuries. Merv changed its name to Mary in 1937 and has grown into one of Turkmenistan's largest city.
If you have a thirst for travel and passion for history Turkmenistan is a must for your central Asian travel itinerary.