Balkanabat is one of the youngest cities in Central Asia and the capital of the largest Turkmenian province – Balkan. It’s located in the western part of the country, 450 km away from Ashgabat. This Turkmenistan city was founded in 1933 as a station of Trans-Caspian Railway. The first given name was Neftedag, which was comprised of combination of a Russian word “neft”-oil and Turkmenian word “dag”-mountain. The name was later changed into Nebit-Dag. This city has always been a settlement of oilmen.
The history of this Turkmenistan city started because of shortage of oil and gas. The government sent a group of geologists who explored Turkmenian deserts backwards and forwards, searching for new deposits. The geologists anticipated that Neftedag will become one of the largest oil deposits in the world and were right. The first inhabitants of Balkanabat or Neftedag back then lived in the least comfortable conditions, in tents, with no electricity, or water.
One of the main monuments of the city is memorial ensemble “Trailblazers” that was built to commemorate memory of those who created Balkanabat. The monument is a camel or “ship of deserts” with stuff on its back and geologists who move forward despite strong wind. Modern Balkanabat is the capital of oil and gas industry of Turkemnistan. Also, it’s slowly becoming a developed industrial centers with new buildings. If you’ve ever heard about the most iconic Soviet films like “The Little Golden Galf” or “Kin-Dza-Dza!”, you should now that they were filmed dint he surroundings of this young Turkmenian city. Another sightseeing destination of the city is Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Church that was built in 1990. Ruins of medieval caravanserai Tasharvat are located 38 km away from Balkanabat. If you decide to visit this city, you’ll be exposed to the origins of modern Turkmenistan with its controversy and desertedness.