Having visited most of the countries of Central Asia, I came to the conclusion that Turkmenistan is the most prosperous and promising ones, as well as in terms of tourism. Turkmenistan – one of the five countries leading in oil production in the world. Despite the fact that there are still problems, the standard of living of the local population is significantly higher than in neighboring Uzbekistan or Kazakhstan. The capital city Ashgabat combines Asian flavor and European spirit. The streets are clean and the severity of lines and architecture sustained in traditional oriental style. The first thing that struck me is the abundance of high-rise buildings that filled the streets of the capital. In the evening, when they lit a variety of lights, it seems as if strolling through the streets of some European city, so organically and fully implemented planning of urban neighborhoods.
In Ashgabat there are concentrated most of the important historical and cultural attractions of the country, including Silk Route heritage Ashgabatsights. In a couple of days I was able to travel around the city by taxi (by very cheap rates) and see all the sights. I highly recommend to visit the ruins of the ancient city of Nisa, included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. This is a very interesting old place. Also noteworthy are the palaces of Turkmenbashi and Ruhiyet, Independence Monument and Arch of Neutrality, crowned by a gilded statue of former President Niyazov that rotates to follow the sun, Ruhnama Book monument, an exact copy of the book “Rukhnama”, written by the first Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov (Turkmenbashi). Presidential Palace was built in 1997 out of white marble and is designed in oriental style. Inner rooms are decorated with marble and precious wood. For
the interior decoration of the palace are used 14 handmade carpets with total area of 218 square meters. In Ashgabat you can also visit parks with fountains, different markets, cafes with delicious local cuisine and it should be noted that prices here are very cheap, which makes your holidays here more affordable.
I personally, really liked the elegant park complex named “Inspiration Alley.” Along the avenue there are planted picturesque old trees, among which there are beautiful flowerbeds with lots of flowers and seedlings. Along the perimeter of the park, throughout its territory there are monuments dedicated to the great creative people of Turkmenistan.
Another place that impresses with its scale and quality of execution, I would call the fountain complex “Oguzhan and Sons”, that represents the greatness of the legendary founder of the Turkic culture Oguz Khan. This building once was awarded the honor of inclusion in the Guinness Book of Records as one of the largest and most striking works of its kind in the world.
Turkmens carefully preserve their traditions, which can be seen by the decoration of the local mosques and churches and well preserved Oguzhan-Palace-President-of-Turkmenistan condition of cultural and historical places, museums and memorials. Turkmens keep the capital clean (at least, it was clear from the center of Ashgabat) and keep to traffic rules, they drive carefully and try to give way to pedestrians. The traffic is not heavy and the police is on every street corner in the city. Turkmen state gives free 120 liters of gasoline per month to each car owner.
I especially liked the visit to a huge Russian market, though located in the oriental country. All food products here are natural, of excellent quality, melons and watermelons are almost free. We bought us much delicious food and went back to the hotel, to eat and try the local brandy! The next day I went to a large Turkmen market “Tolkuchka” outside of the city. We drove about 50 minutes and the market looked like this: everywhere around was sand and stones and people sitting right there. Here I bought great gifts for myself and family: camel socks, silk scarves, excellent silver jewelry with jasper, national skullcaps.
Photo from sources: burnuptheroad.blogspot.com, ansar.ru, visa-turkmenistan.com, centralasia-adventures.com, worldfortravel.com, tourstoturkmenistan.com