Turkmenistan Travel Guide · Turkmenistan Things to See & Do 

Turkmenistan Travel Guide

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Location
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Flag
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Quick Facts
Capital Ashgabat
Government Dictatorship
Currency Turkmen manat (TMM)
Area 488,100 km2
Population 5,179,571 (July 2008 est.)
Language Turkmen 72%, Russian 12%, Uzbek 9%, Kazakh 7%
Religion Muslim 89%, Eastern Orthodox 9%, unknown 2%
Calling Code 993
Time Zone UTC +5

Turkmenistan is a country in Central Asia with a population of about 5 million, and an area around half a million km2, or almost the size of Spain. Neighboring countries are Iran and Afghanistan to the South, and Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to the North. It has a coast on the Caspian Sea, but is otherwise landlocked. Nearly 80% of the country is considered part of the Karakum Desert.

Turkmenistan is one of just two Stalinist countries in existence (the other being North Korea) and the government is in firm control of nearly everything, although, surprisingly, tourism is welcomed as long as you don't discuss politics or omnipresent police/military. The cult of personality the previous president created for himself is truly amazing and reminders of the Turkmenbashi's legacy are everywhere.

The traditional life 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 (one is even featured in its flag) and horses. It is a fairly poor country, that has been isolated from the world. Other than that, Billions have been spent on modernization in Ashgabat, Turkmenbashi, and many other cities in post Soviet times. And also, the country has extensive oil and gas reserves being developed, with recently opened pipelines to China, Iran, and soon Azerbaijan. Turkmenistan is also the second wealthiest country in Central Asia.


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Turkmenistan Travel Guide from Wikitravel. Many thanks to all Wikitravel contributors. Text is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0, images are available under various licenses, see each image for details.