Being the heart of the Great Silk Road, Turkmenistan has unique nature, favourable climate, remarkable national values, distinctive customs and traditions, an abundance of historical and architectural monuments. Open-hearted and hospitable people live in the country, which can be called a paradise for tourists and those who strive for discoveries and new emotions.
Present-day Turkmenistan captivates guests and tourists with the developed city infrastructure. For example, the capital of the country, Ashgabat was included in the Guinness World Records.
Turkmenistan is one of the most ancient countries. Its territory had been an important part of the Great Silk Road and had been connecting the West and the East, Europe and Asia for centuries. This land is a hearth of the most ancient Eastern civilizations, which made a significant contribution to the development of world culture, and a vault of many unsolved secrets. In Turkmenistan, travellers can discover the legendary country of Margiana (Ancient Merv or Margush). Thanks to the international expedition led by the Russian archaeologist Viktor Sarianidi, Margiana was recognized the fifth centre of world civilization, along with the ancient Egypt, China, India and Mesopotamia. About 4000 years ago, there was an oasis in the Karakum Desert. Margiana prospered. The unparalleled findings on the excavations of its former capital, known as Gonur Depe, have become a global sensational scientific discovery. Margush is also the world's oldest home of the first religion – Zoroastrianism. This historical and cultural park of Turkmenistan, as well as Kunya-Urgench and the Parthian Fortresses of Nisa, is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The ancient settlements of the world's first farmers, including in Jeitun, Anau, Gara Depe, Namazga Depe, Altyn Depe, rock paintings in Bezegli Dere, primeval architectural complexes and buildings in Abiverd, Serahs, on the Amu Darya River banks, in the foothills of the Kopetdag Mountains, along the Uzboy Channel and in the Sarykamysh Lake delta, possess a lot of secrets for travellers to reveal. These are not all the cultural heritage sites of Turkmenistan.
The ancient Turkmen land abounds in historical and archaeological must-sees. The Turkmen people are proud of their rich history and culture, including in the magnificent Ahalteke horses, perfect carpets, jewellery and works of applied art.
Ahalteke horse, which is represented on the State Emblem, is national treasure and one of the main symbols of the country. The legendary horses are fast as the wind, with a thin long neck and soft skin. It is the oldest breed. The Ahalteke horse is unique in beauty, speed and endurance. This breed gave birth to a number of other bloodlines, influencing the Arab and English breeds. In Turkmenistan, every tourist has to take a picture with the ‘heavenly’ horses, or even take a short horse ride.
Turkmen carpets are widely known outside the country – a real work of art that conquers with its magnificence. Possessing the heritage and the creative work of many generations, these masterpieces of the Turkmen carpet weavers amaze connoisseurs with the unique expressive means, ornamental beauty, harmony of colour combinations, and the highest quality. Travellers often buy a carpet as a souvenir from Turkmenistan. Some of them choose small carpets for the teacups, others purchase huge carpets to decorate their homes.
Turkmenistan’s vast territory is impressive – 488.100 km2 – the same as Italy, Austria, Belgium, and the Netherlands taken together. The northern and central parts of the country are dominated by the deserts of the Turan Lowland, including in the Central, Zaunguz and South-Eastern Karakum Desert, occupying over 80 per cent of the territory. Turkmenistan is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the west. The flora and fauna are rich and diverse and represented by numerous endemic species.
Clean air, healing water springs, unique nature with breath-taking landscapes and pristine unspoiled places attract the guests of the country. Turkmenistan has almost all terrestrial regions and natural sights, namely sea, desert, mountains, caves, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, underground springs, subtropical valleys and volcanoes. All this fascinates the most experienced travel lovers!
The local nature has endowed the Turkmen land with amber grapes, reflecting the warmth of the Turkmen sun. The Turkmen wines and cognacs, made from these grapes, are just perfect. The Turkmen melon, which has been appreciated by travellers for many centuries, is divinely delicious. Juicy fruits and vegetables are available in every corner of the country all year round.
Turkmenistan will make your travelling unforgettable! And your dreams about the most interesting and exciting experience will come true!
Everyone faces a dilemma before a tourist trip: what is the best season to explore this amazing country?
Turkmenistan is notable for special abundance of light and warmth even among other Central Asian countries, which are rightly called ‘sunny’. Every square inch of land here receives twice as much heat during the year as in the countries of Central Europe. The geographic position of Turkmenistan, namely, the central part of the Eurasian continent, an area located far from moderating effect of oceans, is crucial for the local climate.
Thus, Turkmenistan has a desert, severely continental climate. Precipitation tends to be moderate, with a high rate of evaporation.
Obviously, the most favourable season is spring. It starts in March (in the mountains – in April). At this season, the weather can change not only during the day, but also during several hours. In March, the temperature reaches 20-25 °C in the afternoon. There are frequent showers, which contribute to the rapid growth of plants filling the air with their aromas. This is a fascinating season when apricot orchards captivate with sweet smell in a white-pink haze all over the country; almonds, peaches, and other horticultural crops are in bloom.
People who visit the Karakum Desert in spring can see the closest thing to heaven on earth. There are a zillion of plants awakened from hibernation from corner to corner, as far as the eye can see. The unforgettable dizzying scent of flowers that scattered the earth to the horizon will evoke in your heart an overwhelming desire to return to this land again. A long spell of dry weather starts in Turkmenistan in the late spring... Read more
Travel safety most often becomes a major factor when choosing a tourist destination. In this context, Turkmenistan is beyond comparison. It is the world’s safest country! This fact was confirmed by the Gallup Inc., an analytics and advisory company, known for its public opinion polls conducted worldwide. In October 2020, the company published the Global Law and Order Index, which contains a list of the safest countries on the Earth.
In the Index, Turkmenistan shared the first place with Singapore; both countries scored 97 points out of 100. This index a composite score based on the incidence of theft and assault or mugging, and people's reported confidence in their local police, their feelings of personal safety in the past year. The higher the score, the higher the proportion of the population that reports feeling secure.
Moreover, to date, Turkmenistan has a zero level of terrorist threat. These results are based on the research by the Institute for Economics and Peace, headquartered in Sydney, Australia. Read more
Your travel to Turkmenistan will become vivid and memorable if you attend a celebration (in Turkmen ‘toy’) dedicated to a national festive event. There are a lot of them in this hospitable and welcoming country.
One of the brightest and impressive festive events is Novruz, which is celebrated as the national spring festival in Turkmenistan on March 21-22. The main celebrations are traditionally held in the suburbs of Ashgabat in the foothills of the Kopetdag Mountains, on the Novruz yaylasy site with a building in the form of a huge yurt – Turkmenin ak oyi. Every year in March, a whole town, including in yurts, farmsteads, gardens, workshops, oriental bazaar, exhibition showrooms, stages for theatrical performances, bakhshis and other musicians, dancers and singers, is erected at the venue. The grandiose folklore and ethnographic performance demonstrates the art of carpet weaving, horse breeding, the traditions associated with animal husbandry, gardening, and agriculture. Ancient artefacts are presented in museum exhibitions here; and everyone can take part in the national games, see the best specimen of applied art, and sample delicious dishes that reflect fertility of the Turkmen land, prosperity of Turkmenistan, and hospitality of its people.
One of the oldest festive events in the world – Novruz is inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
Other national festive events are no less impressive, with the cultural programme complemented by solemn meetings, art exhibitions, scientific conferences and concerts.
The ‘heavenly’ horses, preservation and development of the ancient national equestrian traditions are cherished with special reverence in Turkmenistan. The Ahalteke horses represent national pride and great treasure, created by the Turkmen people over the centuries. Numerous exhibitions, concerts, various competitions, including in the International Ahalteke Horse Beauty Contest, are held on last Sunday in April. Ashgabat hosts the International Ahalteke Horse Breeding Association Conference on Turkmen Horse Day. Read more
This is what the ancestors of the Turkmen people used to say. A guest was considered a sign of God. Any person who came to aul (a Turkmen village) was offered shelter and food in the first yurt he/she came across. The traveller couldn’t refuse and leave the house without having tasted a warm meal.
Hospitality is characteristic of all Central Asian peoples, and the Turkmen people have it as a code of honour. Hospitality has always had a special meaning and rules, which include the norms of behaviour while visiting and receiving guests, as well as table setting and preparation of festive treats.
Lofty principles of traditional behaviour, including in hospitality and respect for the elders, were fostered from early childhood. These principles were followed during the family meal, where the traditional place of honour (in Turkmen ‘tor’) – opposite the entrance and near the hearth was taken by the elder of the family. This place was given to a guest, as soon as he crossed the threshold. At the same time, children got up from their seats, greeting and expressing their respect to the guest.
A number of rituals and sacrificial offerings are associated with the birth of a child in the Turkmen family. Thus, the unleavened flat cakes called ‘bogursaks’ are cooked and dispensed among the neighbours as a sacrificial offering before childbirth. A sadaqa in honour of deceased ancestors is given for easy childbirth. On the birth of the child and the first placing in the cradle, the maternal grandmother bakes pishme (cookies). When the child has the first tooth erupted, the parents prepare a feast and invite their relatives and neighbours with children. On the same day, grandmother prepares a festive treat from corn, so that the child's teeth grow as white as cornflakes. The day of the child's first haircut is celebrated even more magnificently. Read more
Dishes of the Turkmen cuisine impress with the uniqueness, great taste and variety. Obviously, this cuisine is one of the most delicious in the world! Still do not believe? There is a reason to check it out.
Turkmen cuisine has hundreds of delicious recipes that can astonish even the most fastidious gourmets. The Turkmen people has formed the national cuisine over the centuries, combining the traditions of many neighbouring peoples, generously sharing rich experience and know-hows and exchanging the secrets of the culinary art. Nevertheless, the main thing is that the Turkmen cuisine has always been authentic – many ancient traditions are cherished nowadays.
To date, acquaintance with the local cuisine helps foreign tourists get to know the character of the Turkmen people, broaden their ideas about the local culture, and feel the ‘taste’ and ‘aroma’ of the traditions in Turkmenistan. Moreover, the traditions and recipes of the same dishes sometimes differ in the country’s regions.
For example, pilav is a hallmark of both the Central Asian, and the Turkmen cuisine. There are dozens of recipes, including in pilav with lamb, beef, camel meat, chicken, fish, raisins, or fruits.
There are a great number of recipes for barbecue or kebab. The list of fish dishes is huge. A distinctive feature of the Turkmen cuisine has always been richness and simplicity. Read more
Turkmenistan is one of the world’s best places for travelling and discovering new and amazing unique areas for the connoisseurs of natural diversity. The Caspian Sea, the huge, striking and mysterious Karakum Desert, subtropical abundance in the Sumbar Valley, the dangerous Amu Darya River, the picturesque foothills of the Kopetdag Mountains and the secret corners of the Badhyz State Nature Reserve with its unique flora and fauna are combined in the country. Stunning and grandeur waterfalls, the mountain rivers filling the silence with their murmur, beautiful gorges, underground lakes, fabulous caves, a plateau of dinosaurs and the burning gas crater in the centre of the desert or the ‘shining of the Karakum Desert’ in Darvaza captivate travellers.
There are 9 state nature reserves and 16 wildlife preserves on the territory of Turkmenistan. Obviously, the unique nature of the country and its desert and semi-desert biologic systems are extremely vulnerable and depend on human concern. The diversity of the local flora and fauna is unmatched in the entire subcontinent. Over 3000 plant species, about 50 fish species and 279 animal species, as well as over 3 million hectares of forests are under protection.
The ancient Turkmen land is rich in the wild or cultivated plants and breeds of domestic animals. The ‘heavenly’ horses or the well-known Ahalteke horses, the Turkmen greyhound – tazy, the loyal companion of people – alabay, as well as grapes, pomegranates, and delicious Turkmen melons have enhanced the fame of Turkmenistan. Generously endowed by nature, this sunny land is rich in the endemic species of animals and plants. Read more