Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan

Etymology

From Turkmen Türkmenistan, from Türkmen ‎(“Turk-like; Turkmen”) + Persian ـستان ‎(-estān, “-stan”). [wiktionary]

Places to Meet People

Places to Meet People

Bayramaly (Mary/Turkmenistan) – Baýramaly (formerly Bayram-Ali, Russian: Байрам-Али) is a city of Turkmenistan, a seat of Baýramaly District within Mary Province. It lies about 27 km east of the provincial capital Mary, along the main railway line from Ashgabat to Tashkent. [facebook]

Sha Coffee – Restaurant in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. [facebook]

How to Find a Date

How to Find a Date

Turkmenistan Dating – Are you a single man or woman in Turkmenistan and looking for love, romance or date? Go no further than Turkmenistan Dating. Turkmenistan Dating has taken online dating in this part of the world by storm and now offers singles an exciting global dating platform to find their compatible match. Whether interested in Turkmenistan singles, UK singles, US singles, Canada singles, or Australian singles for love, romance, date or marriage, you will find them here. [turkmenistan.asia.dating]

Walking Tours

Walking Tours

Advantour – Travel Agency Advantour has been operating in the sphere of international tourism since 2003. The Company developed and applied many interesting group and individual tours to Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and China. It has a great experience in the tourism industry, as well as set partnership links with tour operators in Transcaucasia, West Europe and North America. [advantour]

Koryo Tours – The experts in travel to rather unusual destinations. Our mission: to facilitate responsible tourism to the world’s most isolated and least understood countries while encouraging people-to-people engagement through travel, culture, sport and humanitarian projects. [koryo group]

Free Things to Do

Free Things to Do

Be Stunnded by Central Asia’s Formerly-Largest Mosque – Built by Turkmenbashi, full of quotes from his self-written holy book the Ruhnama, and finally also his tomb. The Ruhy Mosque in the former leader’s hometown of Gypjak is rumored to seat 20,000 worshippers, though no longer considered the largest in Central Asia. Regardless of your thoughts on the man and his legacy, the building itself is certainly an ostentatious display of Turkmenistan’s oil and gas wealth. [go mad nomad]

Explore The Ruins of the City once known as ‘Mother of The World’ – Though now a collection of perimeter walls and mud-brick ruins, the city of Merv was once considered the largest and one of the most culturally important cities in the world. The ongoing Ancient Merv Project is still unearthing the history of Merv and the several other cities that preceded it on the same site, so this makes an excellent opportunity to explore an active archaeological site. [go mad nomad]

See The ‘Gates of Hell’ – Ok, so that first comment about Turkmenbashi was a lie. If foreigners know much of anything about Turkmenistan, it is likely because they’ve seen a picture of the Gates of Hell. In the desert dunes near the former site of the village of Darvazs, this burning natural-gas crater was accidentally ignited by Soviet drilling in 1971 and has burned without interruption to the present-day. [go mad nomad]

Seek Out Lingering Soviet Relics – Like much of Central Asia and the broader former-USSR, it isn’t hard to find the occasional anachronistic reminder of Soviet times in Turkmenistan. These are seemingly becoming rare, though, so be sure to spot them while they’re still around. [go mad nomad]

Swim 200 FT Underground – Though swimming is perhaps not most travelers’ first thought in this desert nation, the Kow-Ata springs more than 200 ft. under the Kopet-Dag Mountains are a strange and exciting day trip from the capital city. Don’t swim too far into the cave, though, or you risk the ire of the Turkmen lifeguard and his whistle. [go mad nomad]

Try on Traditional Central Asian Headgear – Most of the nations of Central Asia have some sort of identifying headwear, and the Turkmen are no exception. The telpek hat, in particular, is often a favorite with tourists. Ashgabat’s Tolkuchka Bazaar is a great place to try on or purchase a telpek, because you probably ought not ask the Turkman-on-the-street if you can check out his. [go mad nomad]

Visit the Metropolis in the Desert – The Karakum Desert, home to an average of one person every 2.5mi2, is also the location of the million-or more capital city of Ashgabat. Once the bane of Imperial Russian troops who tried to cross this desert in numerous failed campaigns against the Turkmen tribes, Ashgabat is now a beautiful city dotted with fountains and parks. [go mad nomad]

Festivals

Festivals

Eid al-Fitr – Usually held in August, this Islamic feast celebrates the end of the 30-day dawn to dusk fasting period of Ramadan. You will see families celebrating their faith and the end of this important period for Muslims with traditional meals. [iexplore]

Independence – This is one of the most important public holidays celebrated in Turkmenistan, and although called Independence Day, it falls over two days, October 27 and 28. It provides a good opportunity to discover more about the culture of Turkmenistan as traditional folklore tales are told and traditional horsemanship shows take place. There is a good dose of hearty Turkmen food served at communal gatherings. [iexplore]

Melon Day – This new public holiday in Turkmenistan, instigated in 1994 by the then dictator Saparmurat Niyazov, commonly known as Turkmenbashi. It is celebrated annually on the second Sunday of August and is centered on a special crossbreed of the muskmelon, an important crop for the nation. The day’s festivities include a large display of the fruit and a series of dances and other music events. [iexplore]

Memorial Day – Similar to Veterans’ Day that is observed in the US on November 11, and known as Remembrance Day in many English-speaking countries, this public holiday is held to commemorate the fallen soldiers of Turkmenistan. It is a day of national pride for Turkmenistanis, who hold public services to honor all those that died fighting for the nation. In particular, special mention is given to the soldiers who defended the Geok Tepe fortress against the invading Russian troops in 1881. Services are held on January 12. [iexplore]

Nowruz Bayram – Held on March 21, this festival takes place on the spring equinox. It is a public holiday in Turkmenistan and the first day in the new year of the Iranian calendar; for this reason, it is sometimes referred to as Persian New Year. The festival is a celebration of the new and what is to come of the year ahead, while reflecting on the old is also part of the day. Typical meals are cooked and shared with families. Later, communities get together for street carnivals. [iexplore]

Revival, Unity, and Magtymguly Pyragy Day – Held on May 19 and 20, this spring festival celebrates the life and times of a national hero. Magtymguly Pyragy was a Turkmen spiritual leader and philosophical poet who was active in the 18th century. He is revered by all Turkmenistanis to this day since he fought passionately to unify the people, a legacy which lives on today. [iexplore]

Women’s Day – Coinciding with International Women’s Day, held on March 8, the Turkemenistanis seemingly treat this day like Valentine’s Day. Women are told by their lovers to sit down and put their feet up, while men go about the housework. Later, the women are adorned with gifts of flowers, perfume, and chocolate. [iexplore]

Public Transit

Public Transit

Bus, Marshrutka & Shared Taxi – Bus stands in Ashgabat are organised by destination, and are used by shared taxis and marshrutki as much as buses. Fares for private cars fluctuate by demand and the make of the car – bargain hard and ask several drivers before agreeing to a price. Transport for Mary and Turkmenabat leaves from a makeshift bus station known to locals as the Mariiskaya stoyanka about 3km east of the centre on the main road out of the city. There are marshrutki to Mary (four hours, 12M) and Turkmenabat (6,5 hours, 20M). There is also one daily bus to Seraghs from here (five hours, 14M). [eurasia.travel]

Car & Motorcycle – If you are planning to bring your own vehicle into Turkmenistan, and are applying for anything other than a transit visa, this fact will have to be made clear in your LOI. A valid international driving permit is required. Driving through Turkmenistan is perfectly possible, but expensive and full of hassles. A carnet is not needed, though you’ll need to pay the following: US$30 transit fee (US$30 for cars, US$15 for motorbikes and US$100 for lorries); US$50 obligatory third-party liability insurance (US$50 for cars, US$20 for motorbikes and US$70 for lorries); US$2 bank fee; US$5 documentation fee; and also US$10 for disinfection of your vehicle (US$10 for cars, US$5 for motorbikes, and US$20 for lorries [you pay whether or not any ‘disinfection procedures’ are actually carried out]). [eurasia.travel]

Train – The brand new Ashgabat train station is at the northern end of Turkmenbashi shayoli, a short taxi ride from downtown. Following large investment in the network and a fleet of new Chinese trains, this is now a good way to get around the country if you don’t mind taking things slowly. There are daily trains in both directions to Turkmenbashi (15 hours, 4.76M/7.66M), Balkanabat (seven hours, 3.84/6.20M), Mary (7,5 hours, 3.22M/5.24M), Turkmenabat (12 hours, 4.76M/7.66M), and Dashogus (20 hours, 5.08M/9.58M). [eurasia.travel]

Professional Groups & Events

Professional Groups & Events

Turkmenistan – Government Organization in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. [facebook]

Language Exchange

Language Exchange

Your Expat Community in Turkmenistan – Hosh geldiniz and welcome to InterNations Turkmenistan. At InterNations, we want you to be able to make the most of all that this fascinating country has to offer. It’s normal to have questions before your move, such as, “which city would be best for me to move to, Merv or Ashgabat?”, “what visas or work permits will I need?”, or “will I experience culture shock in Turkmenistan?”. [internations]

LGBT Groups

LGBT Groups

Resources

Resources

Places in Turkmenistan

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