Hidden Gems of Turkmenistan: Journey Through History and Beauty



Discover the Hidden Gems of Turkmenistan: A Journey Through History and Beauty

Turkmenistan, a country nestled in Central Asia, may not be on everyone's travel radar, but it is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. From ancient cities steeped in history to contemporary tourist zones, Turkmenistan offers a diverse range of attractions that will captivate any traveler. In this article, we will take you on a journey through the best things to do in Turkmenistan, showcasing its rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and unique experiences.

Section 1: Unveiling the Ancient City of Merv

One of the most fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Turkmenistan is the ancient city of Merv. This historic city has a captivating history that dates back to the 3rd millennium BC, making it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts. Throughout its existence, Merv has witnessed the rise and fall of various empires, including the Achaemenid and Macedonian empires. At its peak, Merv was one of the largest cities in the world, with a population of up to 500,000 people. Today, it stands as a well-preserved testament to the ancient Silk Road and offers visitors a glimpse into the vibrant past of Central Asia.

Location: Mary, Turkmenistan

Section 2: Embarking on a Tour of Awaza

Awaza, often referred to as the "Las Vegas" of Turkmenistan, is a contemporary and attractive tourist zone located on the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea. This vibrant part of the city of Turkmenbasy boasts a beautiful shoreline adorned with elegant high-rise structures, luxury hotels, and an amusement park. Despite its allure, Awaza remains relatively undiscovered by tourists, making it a tranquil and serene destination. Whether you're taking a leisurely stroll along the beach or enjoying the thrills of the amusement park, Awaza promises a delightful and rejuvenating experience.

Location: Turkmenbasy, Turkmenistan Things to enjoy: Beach walking, fun at the amusement park

Section 3: The Magnificence of Turkmenbashi Ruhy Mosque

Turkmenbashi Ruhy Mosque is a historical landmark and monumental tourist attraction in Turkmenistan. Located in Gypjak, a few kilometers west of the capital Ashgabat, this mosque is a sight to behold. Its striking architecture features an elegant gold cupola surrounded by four minarets, making it a truly awe-inspiring structure. With a capacity to accommodate up to 10,000 people, it is one of the largest mosques in Central Asia. While the mosque may often be empty due to some controversial writings on its walls, its grandeur and cultural significance make it a must-visit destination for those exploring Turkmenistan.

Location: Gypjak, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

Section 4: Turkmenbashi’s Land of Fairy Tales

Turkmenistan has its own version of Disneyland, named after its former leader, Saparmurat Niyazov. This amusement park, located on Hero of Turkmenistan Atamurat Niyazov Avenue in Ashgabat, offers a whimsical experience for visitors. Although some of the attractions are currently not operational, it is still worth a visit for its intriguing history and unique atmosphere. From roller coasters to a Ferris wheel, the park offers a glimpse into the entertainment culture of Turkmenistan. While it may be in a state of decay, a visit to this park is an interesting endeavor for those curious about the country's past and present.

Location: Hero of Turkmenistan Atamurat Niyazov Avenue, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

Section 5: Exploring the Ancient City of Nisa

The ancient city of Nisa, located near the capital Ashgabat, is a historic fortress that holds immense significance in Turkmenistan's history. Founded by Arsaces I, the first king of Parthia, around 250 BC, Nisa served as the capital of the empire for a considerable period. Unfortunately, the city was destroyed by an earthquake in 100 BC. Today, the ruins of Nisa have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, attracting visitors who are eager to learn more about the ancient civilizations that once thrived in this region. As you wander through the remains of ancient walls and houses, you'll be transported back in time, gaining a deeper understanding of Turkmenistan's rich historical heritage.

Location: Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

Section 6: Witnessing the Grace of Akhalteke Horses

The Akhalteke Horse, a national pride of Turkmenistan, is not only a magnificent animal but also a symbol of the country's heritage. These horses are known for their elegance, speed, intelligence, and endurance. Once reserved for monarchs and used in battles, they are now primarily bred for racing purposes. To witness these graceful creatures in action, head to the Ashgabat State Hippodrome. Located in Ashgabat, this venue hosts thrilling horse races that showcase the beauty and agility of the Akhalteke breed. It's an experience that horse enthusiasts and nature lovers won't want to miss.

Location: Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

Section 7: Immerse Yourself in the Splendors of Ashgabat

Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan, is a city that combines historical charm with modern grandeur. As you stroll through its streets, you'll be mesmerized by the eye-catching structures and attractions that adorn the cityscape. However, it's important to note that photography restrictions are enforced in certain areas, so be mindful of local regulations. One of the top attractions in Ashgabat is Independence Square, a sprawling plaza that showcases the country's patriotism and cultural heritage. Another must-visit location is the Ashgabat National Museum of History, where you can delve deeper into Turkmenistan's past and gain a comprehensive understanding of its rich cultural tapestry.

Top attractions in Ashgabat: Independence Square, Ashgabat National Museum of History

Section 8: Witness the Majestic Yangykala Canyon

Nestled in the Balkan region of Turkmenistan, the Yangykala Canyon is a natural wonder that will leave you in awe. This peculiar rock formation, spanning over a vast 15-mile area, appears almost otherworldly. Erosion has sculpted the landscape into a mesmerizing array of colors and formations, creating a breathtaking sight reminiscent of an alien planet. Although reaching the canyon requires a journey of approximately 260 miles northwest of Ashgabat, the trip is well worth it. Visitors can camp in the vicinity, immersing themselves in the beauty of the canyon and marveling at its surreal vistas.

Location: 260 miles Northwest of Ashgabat

Section 9: Dive into the Depths of an Underground Oasis

While Turkmenistan is predominantly covered by the arid Karakum Desert, there is an oasis of wetness hidden within the Bakharden cave. Kow Ata, as the underground lake is known, is situated near the city of Baherden and lies approximately 55 meters deep within the cave. Descending via a staircase, visitors are greeted by a thermal lake rich in minerals, boasting stunning azure hues. Although the smell of sulfur may be present, bathing in the pool provides a refreshing escape from the desert heat that envelops Turkmenistan. It's a unique experience that blends nature, adventure, and relaxation.

Location: Near Baherden, Turkmenistan Entry fee: Free

Section 10: Unraveling Turkmenistan's Story at the National Museum

To truly grasp the essence of Turkmenistan, a visit to the National Museum in Ashgabat is a must. This museum houses over 500,000 exhibits, offering a comprehensive exploration of the country's history, culture, and art. Delve into the ancient cities of Nisa and Merv, unraveling their stories and understanding their significance. Gain insights into Turkmenistan's transformation from ancient civilizations to the modern-day nation it is today. The National Museum provides a glimpse into the diverse tapestry that makes up Turkmenistan's identity, shedding light on its isolated yet intriguing existence.

Location: Ashgabat Entrance fee: $10 per person

With its captivating history, stunning landscapes, and unique cultural experiences, Turkmenistan invites travelers to embark on a journey unlike any other. From the ancient city of Merv to the contemporary allure of Awaza, there is something for everyone in this hidden gem of Central Asia. Embrace the opportunity to explore Turkmenistan's rich heritage and immerse yourself in the beauty that awaits you in this captivating country. Just remember to check with local travel authorities for any travel advisories and guidelines before setting off on your adventure.


Q: Is it safe to travel to Turkmenistan? A: The safety of travel to Turkmenistan should be assessed based on updates from the U.S. Department of State and Gov.UK. While Turkmenistan is generally considered safe, it's essential to exercise caution, have a backup departure plan, and review the country's security report. Additionally, be mindful of driving hazards and respect local customs and regulations, particularly for solo female travelers.

Post a Comment


Post a Comment (0)