- The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes. Marcel Proust
Turkmenistan is a very popular tourist destination. The country is famous throughout the world for its architecture and archaeological sites.
Tourist places in Turkmenistan
Ashgabat is the capital of Turkmenistan and the country’s largest city. The city is located between the Kara Kum desert and the Kopet Dag mountain range. The city is home to one of the largest mosques in Central Asia the Kipchak mosque also known as the ‘Turkmenbashi Ruhy Mosque’. The mosque has generated controversy because it has scriptures from both the Holy Quran and the Ruhnama (Book of Soul). The presence of scriptures of Ruhnama has upset many Muslims who believe that it is an insult to have the Ruhnama placed as equal to the Holy Quran.
Sarakhs, Ahal Province
The city of Saraghs in an oasis town located in Turkmenistan’s Ahal province. The city was an important oasis on the Silk Road. The mausoleum of Sufi Abul Faz also known as Serakhs Baba is located in Saragh. The burial site of Sheikh Ahmed Al Khady is also present in the city and is known by the name of Yarty Gumbez mausoleum.
Merv, Mary Province
Merv was another of Central Asia’s well known Oasis towns on the Silk Road. According to claims Merv was the largest city in the world around the 12th Century. It is believed that the Hindu religion started here in Mount Meru which Hinduism declares to be the center of the world.
Konye Urgench, Kprezm Region
Konye Urgench is a municipality in north-eastern Turkmenistan. The ancient town of Urgench; that used to be the capital of Khwarezm was located here. The city was razed to ground by Genghis Khan in what is considered to be the bloodiest massacres in human history. The Mongols annihilated the city by flooding it with water from the Amu Darya River. The 60-meter tall Gutluk-Temir Minaret and the Soltan Tekes Mausoleum still stand.
Mary, Mary Province
Mary is the third largest city of Turkmenistan. It is situated in a big oasis in the heart of the Kara Kum Desert. The history museum which is home to a rich collection of artifacts, Turkmen rugs and national dresses is the city’s main attraction.
Things to do in Turkmenistan
Climb the cooler climes of Chuli Valley
Enjoy the natural splendour of the Chuli Valley, a popular mountain resort. Accessible by taxi or private car, the drive takes you through a picturesque gorge and up to the cooler air. Visitors hoping to hike and climb can do so by arrangement, and there is even the opportunity to stay here.
Enjoy a day at the races
Spend a day at the races: in spring and autumn, horse races are held at the Hippodrome in Ashgabat. A colourful spectacle of speed and agility, there is no public betting. For those wishing to get closer to the stallions, 10km (6 miles) south of Ashgabat is the national Turkmenbashi Stud Farm where the Akhal-Teke horses are bred.
Swim in the Caspian Sea at Turkmenbashi
Situated on the shores of the Caspian Sea, Turkmenbashi (formerly Krasnovodsk) was a Russian creation. Built as a bridgehead for the campaign to subdue Central Asia, it later became the terminal for the Trans-Caspian Railway. Today visitors can enjoy panoramic mountainside views, good beaches and swimming, while the Museum of Regional History and Natural History makes an interesting stop.
Visit the UNESCO-listed fortresses of Old Nisa
Discover the remains of Old Nisa, the capital of the Parthian kings who ruled from the 3rd century BC to the 3rd century AD. Overseeing an Empire that included Iraq and stretched as far as the Syrian Arab Republic, their might, which prevented the Roman Empire from progressing east, can be seen in the UNESCO-listed fortresses of Nisa.