Welcome to Turkmenistan!
Turkmenistan, formerly known as Turkmenia, is a country in Central Asia, bordered by Kazakhstan to the northwest, Uzbekistan to the north and east, Afghanistan to the southeast, Iran to the south and southwest, and the Caspian Sea to the west.
Turkmenistan has been at the crossroads of civilizations for centuries. In medieval times, Merv was one of the great cities of the Islamic world and an important stop on the Silk Road, a caravan route used for trade with China until the mid-15th century. It became independent upon the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Turkmenistan possesses the world’s fourth largest reserves of natural gas resources. Most of the country is covered by the Karakum (Black Sand) Desert.
The Turkmen shore along the Caspian Sea is 1,748 kilometres (1,086 mi) long. The Caspian Sea is entirely landlocked, with no natural access to the ocean, although the Volga–Don Canal allows shipping access to and from the Black Sea.
The major cities include Ashgabat, Turkmenbasy and Dashoguz.
Three landscapes prevail: desert plains, oases and mountains. The main rivers are the Amu Darya River, the Murghab and the Tejen. The underground lake Kow – Ata (60 meters lower than water) is in the famous Bakharden cave. Its area is 1050 square meters, average depth is 6 meters, and water temperature is +33…+37° С.
Deserts take about 80 % of the territory. The largest desert is the Karakum (“black sands”), it stretches 880 km. from the West to the East. In the South and Southwest there are the Kopet Dag mountains (Rize Mountain – till 2942 meters) and northern foothills of the Paropamiz. The climate is sharply continental, very dry, with considerable daily and annual hesitations of temperatures. Winter is warm, summer is sultry. The highest temperature is in July (+32,2° С). The coldest month is January, but in this month the temperature is above zero in the South and the vegetation of the plants is possible. Flora is mostly desert.
The ancient culture of Central Asia, including Turkmenistan, is based on religious traditions of Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Christianity and other cults and worships. From the beginning of the VII — VIII centuries, when the region was conquered by the Arabs, the dominating religion became Islam.
The ruins of Nisa – capital of ancient Parthia (I millennium BC.), are at 18 kilometers to the West of Ashgabad. The remains of city blocks, temples, and palaces preserved here. During excavations of Nisa, archaeologists found a wonderful rhytons (bowls in the form of horn cups) from ivory, sculptures from clay and stones, coins, archival records on clay tablets. These finds are of world significant. The ruins of another ancient city Merv are in the north from Bayram-Ali city. This is the most important historical and architectural monument of Turkmenistan. The oldest part is Erk-Kala, its settlement dates I millennium BC. In the middle of the I millennium AD. Merv was the capital of the East part of the Sassanid Empire, and then the center of the Arab deputies in Khorasan. The city reached its heyday in the XII century within the State of the Seljuks and Khwarazm Shahs. The remains of the city of Sultan Kala with the mausoleum of Sultan Sanjar in the center are the evidence of it. At that time Merv was the largest center in the East on the production of pressed ceramic art. Finally, in the north of Turkmenistan, where old Urgenchwas situated, the capital of Khorezm in the XII – XIII centuries, such monuments as the fortress of Akkala (“White fortress “), the minaret, mausoleum of Fakhreddin Razi (second half of the XII century) were preserved. The mausoleum is a brick building with a dodecahedron steeple dome in the form of cube.