Carpets, marble and deserts - Turkmenistan guide
Tourism in today's Turkmenistan is a rather promising and dynamic economy. Just look at the dynamics of hotel and highway construction and the reconstruction of architectural monuments and add to this the number of tourists growing every year. According to statistics, travelers from the USA, Germany, France and Iran often come here. Despite the fact that absolutely all foreigners need a visa to visit Turkmenistan, there are a lot of peopple who want to see this unique country. For its guests, the Turkmen can offer the most diverse rest - from the beach on the coast of the Caspian Sea to the study of ancient cities, some of the oldest on Earth. We tried to restrict ourselves and make a readable, guide-book in the format of articles on "most of the most" places of Turkmenistan. Although it is high time to start writing a book here - this state is so diverse and interesting.Photo adventurous-travels.com
We have already talked about some or other features of Ashgabat, but we can not mention it in the tourist plan, because it is not just a capital, a metropolis and the main location of many events, but also a wonderful city where you can see many attractions. In the vicinity of this most white marmorial city of the planet is the ancient settlement of Nisa - the capital of the former Parthian kingdom which heyday was three thousand years ago. Among the remnants of this luxury are especially distinguished fortresses, palace halls and majestic graves of the Arkasids dynasty. Another essential item of the Ashgabat program is the local bazaars without which it is impossible to imagine the big eastern cities. Their main hit and souvenir are, of course, rugs, by which knowledgeable people are studying the history of Central Asian peoples. Fruits, textiles, street food (you can stand for hours near the fragrant pots) - all of this deserves eve more attention from the guests. In addition to the traditional for the Islamic region, a way of spending time with an overview of mosques and ancient architecture, the capital of Turkmenistan provides everyone with an excellent opportunity to get acquainted with modern urbanism - the city resembles a gigantic construction site in places and turns into a comfortable oasis thanks for the hills and foothills right in front of the eyes.Photo ru.dntours-business.com
The Gates of Hell
Approximately 270 kilometers from Ashgabat, you can see a fantastic spectacle - a 60-meter-diameter Darwazu gas crater which has long been unofficially called the Gate of the Hell. However they were created by people in 1971 in the local desert of Karakum, Soviet geologists conducted intelligence hoping to find gas. In the process of drilling, the earth breed failed unexpectedly, taking with it a lot of equipment.t's good that nobody was hurt but the gas that got into the surface was a dangerous thing, especially, there are several settlements nearby. In order not to cause local troubles, geologists have decided to set fire to the formed crater so that the gas burns out. According to their calculations, this should happen in a few days. Only now has passed 46 years and it is still burning, as a result of which the village had to be evacuated. But not everything is so bad - the Turkmen got a unique tourist destination: excursions here on SUVs - a hit on the local market, because all this has a truly spectacular look.Photo globotreks.com
But not only for the Gate of the Hell (named Karakums, which is translated as "black sands") Turkmen deserts are known for. These amazing landscapes, just like the Martians, attract lovers to test themselves for strength and ride on jeeps, watching for rare animals and stable plants that withstand extreme temperatures - in summer here the temperature is 50-60 above zero and the soil warms up to all 80. At the same time oases with mountain rivers sometimes may be seen. Next to them you can find a settlement where the inhabitants' life has not changed for centuries: people are raising camels and sheep while living in some sort of their meditative rhythm. It is precisely in these villages that you begin to appreciate the water and the greens of nature, because every drop, every shadow of a tree or a house is on the weight of gold.
Let's not overheat and move to a lesser place - the mountainous region of Nokhur, located in the west of the Kopetdagsky Range. "Freshness" is the first word associated with this area, especially after the desert. Cozy houses on the hills in the shade of vineyards and almond trees, ancient crafts, traditional Turkmen architecture and magnificent nature - next to a huge reserve - turned these lands into one of the most romantic destinations of the planet by the version of professional travelers. It seems that everything what we need is here - delicious food, landscapes, from which breath intercepts, and a special way of life. The life of local residents - these are the gardens right on the mountains, hunting and walks through the valleys, recreation and fishing near refreshing waterfalls and mountain streams. According to legends, the name "Nokhur" comes from the legendary Noah. It was alleged that on these hills he had grown all the seeds that were saved from the flood. Surprisingly, these hard-to-reach gardens and pastures, in fact, have some incredible strength and fertility allowing peasants to collect rich fruit and berries which then are sold at the bazaars. To "execute the program" completely, you need to buy a main souvenir - a nourish handkerchief that serves as a headgear and a decoration at the same time.
This is a small town on the coast of the Caspian Sea - the main beach resort of the country and the second after Ashgabat a place for investment in infrastructure. Healing water to the Caspian Sea, mud hospital, a wonderful climate that helps to heal even in the winter - all this, multiplied by fantastic service, makes Awaza so attractive both for domestic tourism and for foreign visitors. According to the plan of the Turkmen authorities, literally in 10-15 years it is not so long ago a regular post-Soviet village near the sea with socialist boarding houses and "beds-places" should turn into a world-class resort. At the same time, looking at the modern airport, hotels pop up all over and the continuous improvement of the city, you realize that the future is already coming, and this is a real program, not empty promises.
The Karlyuk caves
We go to the east of the country, where the Köýtendag Range lies with its incredible caves and labyrinths. The length of some of them is more than 50 kilometers which allows you to spend all day long, admiring the patterns on the walls, stalactites and numerous bats which may scare you at first. It is an amazing fact that each cave has its own, not like other "halls" - Medusa, Fairy Tale, Santa Claus. That is, you seem to look at a man-made museum - everything is as though it's the same, but at the same time it's so different that your mouth is inevitably opened by surprise. Many caves and grottoes are included in the UNESCO lists. They are considered relatively young: they were discovered 30-40 years ago. And now the necessary infrastructure for quality and safe excursions is created here.Photo sunhome.ru
We started our guide with a story about the main metropolis of contemporary Turkmenistan - Ashgabat, and we will finish with an equally interesting and picturesque in its own way Merv - the largest of the centers of the Great Silk Road preserved to this day. This is a city-state echoed by mysteries and legends: thousands of years ago there were trades, scholarships and prominent thinkers living there, including Omar Khayyam and As-Saman. And even from the former luxury there was not so much left - the mausoleum of Sultan Sanjahar Dar al-Ahira, a real medieval skyscraper, the Shazriar-ark Citadel, the Talhatan-Baba complex which prompts leisurely walks with cold tea. Looking at these powerful walls and architecturally unique views for the period of construction, you understand: The East is tricky and a true cradle of civilization that needs attention.
Cover photo adventurous-travels.com