WHY TO VISIT TURKMENISTAN
The capital, Ashgabat, an oasis in the middle of the desert, can only seduce the visitor with its marble palaces, fountains, gold statues, museums and the Tolkuchka bazaar full of trinkets and treasures in stalls By women dressed in colorful costumes. A white city with wide streets, it keeps the traces of some older buildings testifying to its Soviet past. Some of its buildings border on excesses. Some examples to see: the presidential palace, the Hôtel de l'Etoile which reaches 100 meters in height, the Independence monument and its museum of national history, the monument to the horses, the Alem cultural center and its Big inner wheel ...
Near the Uzbek border is Konye-Urgench, a UNESCO-listed site that was the heart of the Muslim world in the 12th century, destroyed by Genghis Khan, whose ruins allow to admire among others a minaret 60 meters high and dating The 14th, as well as the Royal Shrines and Mausoleums.
In Merv, you will discover the largest archaeological excavations in Central Asia: a large expanse of ruins dating back several millennia, close to the Caspian Sea, where ancient foundations lie, remains of pottery, and Many other ancient testimonies.
Other sites: the desert of Karakum, where alternate craters of gas, dunes and oases; The Gulf of Kara-Bogaz; The canyon of Yanykala, with its colors and its spaces suitable for hiking; The beach of Awaza, and its booming tourist complex.
WHAT TO SEE IN TURKMENISTAN
Top destinations in Turkmenistan are:
- Konye Urgench
- Annau Archeology site
- Yangykala Canyon
- Karakum Desert & Derweze Flaming Crater
WHEN TO GO TO TURKMENISTAN
Best period to visit Turkmenistan is from April to June.
This country experiences a dry desert climate, making it one of the hottest countries in Central Asia. In July and August temperatures can reach 50 ° C in the capital. In December comes the period of extreme cold and snow is found in much of the country. To visit Turkmenistan, two periods are favorable: between April and June when the sun is present and temperatures are pleasant, and between September and November, when the heat wave has disappeared but the icy cold has not yet arrived.
Following a list of typical festival and celebrations of Turkmenistan.
- Memorial Day: 12 January. A memorial service at Geok Depe mosque is led by the president to commemorate the Turkmens killed at the battle of Geok Depe.
- Flag Day: 19 February. It’s a pretty big thing in Turkmenistan, coming to a conclusion with a large spectacle in the Olympic Stadium in Ashgabat. 19 February is also the birthday of Turkmenistan’s first president, Niyazov.
- Novruz: 20-22 March. The biggest festival of the year in Turkmenistan and Central Asia. Usually celebrated in family circle, with tons of food. A special Turkmen feast dish is semeni, a paste made from sprouted wheat and flour. It’s also International
- Turkmen Horse Festival: Last Sunday of April. Celebrates the famous Ahal Tekke horses from Turkmenistan. Horse races abound around the country.
- Remembrance and Victory Day: 8-9 May. A big day all over the former Soviet Union, commemorating the Great Patriotic War against Germany. Flowers on graves, speeches, parades.
- Carpet Day: Last Sunday of May. The Carpet Museum in Ashgabat will have exhibits of carpets, carpet-making and a concert.
- Grain Day: 3rd Sunday of July. If the annual target of wheat harvest is (said to have been) met, this is a huge celebration.
- Melon Day: 2nd Sunday in August. Difficult to say what’s on the menu on a day like this, but we’ve read that little girls in inflatable watermelon outfits might be part of it.
- Oraza Bayram: Called Eid Al-Fitr in the Arabic world, this celebration ends Ramadan. Like in other Muslim countries, it is celebrated with mountains of food and prayer.
- Kurban Ait: Called Eid Al-Adha in the Arabic world, on this Muslim holiday it is traditional to go to mosque, sacrifice a sheep and give meat to the poor.
- Days of Oil Workers and Bagshy: 2nd Saturday and Sunday of September. On Saturday, festivals, mostly in the major oil towns in Balkanabat, celebrate oil and gas workers’ contribution to the state. The day after, folk singers are revered, and concert events are put up around the country.
- Ashgabat Earthquake Remembrance Day: October 6. Flowers are laid at the monuments in Ashgabat and Gypjak to commemorate the victims of the 1948 earthquake. The Turkmen government holds a sacrificial meal at Gypjak mosque.
- Kurban Bayram: Date changes. Known in the Arabic world as Eid al-Adha, this is a big, colourful holiday for Turkmens. A sheep will be sacrificed: most of the meat will go to the poor. What’s left is often used for the Turkmen specialty dograma.
- Independence Day: October 27-28. The biggest celebration of the year. Ashgabat sees a parade, fireworks, concerts and more.
- National Health Day: First Saturday of November. Government officials have to walk the health paths in Ashgabat and on other parts of the country. The president takes the helicopter to welcome them at the top.
HOW TO REACH AND TRAVEL THROUGH TURKMENISTAN
If you arrive by plane, you will land at the country's only international airport, Ashgabat, which is 6 km from the city center.
To travel inside the country, you can take the domestic routes served by Turkmenistan Airlines to several major cities. It is also possible to catch the train, which is slow but very cheap and comfortable. The car is deprecated: administrative procedures are complex and expensive.
by plane, main airport is Ashgabat
GENERAL INFORMATION ON TURKMENISTAN
country entry requirements: passport + visa (check your visa requirements)
health tips & vaccination: drink only bottled water and avoid ice. Vaccine against typhoid, yellow fever, hepatitis A and B are recommended.
local currency: Turkmenistani Manat
local time zone: GMT+5
electricity: type B, C and F (220 V, 50 Hz)
mobile phone operators:
WHAT TO DO IN TURKMENISTAN
typical food in Turkmenistan
- Plov: is the staple food for everyday (but is also served at celebrations) and consists of chunks of mutton, shredded yellow turnip and rice fried in a large wok
- Shashlyk: (skewered chunks of mutton grilled over charcoal which come with raw sliced onions) and lipioshka (rounds of unleavened bread) are served in restaurants and are often sold in the street
- Manty: are larger noodle dumplings filled with meat.
- Shorpa: is a meat and vegetable soup.
- Ka'urma: is mutton deep-fried in its own fat and churban churpa is mutton fat dissolved in green tea.
- Green tea: is very popular and can be obtained almost anywhere.
- Kefir: a thick drinking yoghurt, often served with breakfast.
- Gainatma: Fatty mutton is cut in pieces with bones and put into cold water with addition of onions. When soup starts boiling add washed peas and cook on small fire. 20 minutes prior to readiness add potatoes, tomatoes, spices.
- Chekdirme: Fatty chunks of mutton are fried in fat until browned crust. Add raw onions, tomatoes, potatoes cut in large pieces, pepper, salt and fry along with the mutton, then stew in a little amount of water.
- Lyulya-kebab: Minced mutton, onions and fat, shape in small sausages, than fried in oil and stewed with onions. Served with churek.
- Kokmach: Cut mutton in 10-15 cm strips and beat; add salt, pepper and fry in mutton fat. Serve with french fries or rice.
- Govurma: Cut bones-free mutton in pieces, add salt and pepper and fry until ready. When served strew with fried onions and greens.
- Ichlekli: meat pie that was traditionally baked buried in hot sand and embers
souvenirs from Turkmenistan
- jewelry: bracelets Bilezik, Gulyaka medallions, jewelry of carnelian
- hand woven carpets
- Keteni, silk fabric
- Talpek, national fur headdress made of white sheep wool
- Djul-djul, whistling wind instrument made of ceramic, made in the form of little animals and colorfully decorated
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