General

Geography

Turkmenistan emerged as an independent state in 1991.

Turkmenistan-flag Turkmenistan-national-emblem

The national capital is Ashgabat. There are five administrative subdivisions, called velayat, or region, each with its own regional capital:

  • Ahal Velayat (Anau)
  • Balkan Velayat (Balkanabad)
  • Mary Velayat (Mary)
  • Dashoguz Velayat (Dashoguz)
  • Lebap Velayat (Turkmenabad)

Turkmenistan borders Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in the north and east, and Afghanistan and Iran in the south. The country is big: Turkmenistan covers an area of 492,000 square km. It stretches for 1100 km from west to east- from the Caspian Sea to the Amu Darya River, and for 650 km from the Uzbek border in the north to the Iranian border in the south.

The major part of the country is occupied by the Karakum desert (350.000 sq km). 20 per cent of its territory is mountainous and 1 per cent is made up of riverine oases. The Kopetdag range is in the south of Turkmenistan, while the Balkan Mountains are in the west and the Kugitang (or Koytendag) Range is in the east.

Turkmenistan is rich in mineral resources. It possesses the world’s fourth- largest reserves of natural gas and substantial oil resources. Turkmenistan is also a major cotton producer, and has a growing textile industry.

Balkan Region Dashoguz Lebap region Mary Region Ahal Region Ashgabat

Click anywhere inside the region of your choice to be redirected to the highlights in this region

Darwaza Akchagsyan Ibragim Edhem Kunya Urgench Dashoguz Region Yzmukshir Islamut Ata Shahsenem Turkmenbashi Astana Baba Atamyrat Dinosaur Plateau Umbar Dere Koyten Kyrk Gyz Kainar Baba Gonur Depe Merw Talkhatan Baba Soltanbent Yekedeshik Serhabat Serakhs Meane Baba Ulug Depe Kaahka Abiverd Anau Ashgabat Nissa Geok Depe Kowata Nohur Bokurdok Yerbent Magtymguly Serdar Parau Bibi Dehistan Balkanabad Ygdykala Gozli Ata Yangikala Yangisuw Turkmenbashi Awaza

click on a black dot of your choice to be redirected to the regional highlight listings in which the relevant highlight is located

Safety

Travel in Turkmenistan is entirely safe.

Turkmens adhere to a moderate form of Islam, and are respectful to people of other religions. Local traditions and customs continue to play an important role in the lives of the people. Many Turkmen women wear a large variety of colorful headscarves of their own choice and long colorful, embroidered dresses. Western dress is equally widely accepted.

Tourists intending to travel to Turkmenistan using their own means of transport (vehicle or motor bicycle) are recommended to contact our company directly for details about the related customs procedures, and about the specifics of road rules in the country.

Language

The national language spoken in Turkmenistan is Turkmen, which is a language from the family of Turkic languages. Widely used as a second language is Russian (a Slavic language). While the post-independence generation is increasingly speaking other foreign languages such as English, French and Turkish, you will still find it rewarding to travel and communicate with the assistance of a translator/guide.

While the National History and Ethnography Museum and the Carpet Museum in Ashgabat offer good guided museum tours in a variety of languages, and the staff of most hotels with three stars and up will speak some English, few other sites of interest in the country offer more than basic information in foreign languages.

It is for this reason that Rysgally Yupek Yol employs a team of guides/translators that can accompany you on your tour through Turkmenistan and that will be able to bring alive the country’s sites and help meet its friendly people.

Public, national and religious holidays

31 December & 1 January New Year’s
12 January Memorial Day
19 February State Flag of Turkmenistan Day
8 March International Women’s Day
20-21 March Nowruz Bayram, national spring holiday
First Sunday in April ‘A Drop of Water-A Grain of Gold’ Festival
Last Sunday in April Turkmen Racing Horse Festival
8 May Day of Commemoration of the National Heroes of World War II
9 May Victory Day (World War II)
18-19 May Day of Revival, Unity, and the Poetry of Makhtumkuli
Last Sunday in May Turkmen Carpet Festival
Third Sunday in July Galla Bayramy Festival
Second Sunday in August Turkmen Melon Day
Second Saturday in September Day of the Workers in the Oil, Gas, Power, and Geological Industry
Second Sunday in September Turkmen Bakhshi Day
6 October Day of Commemoration and National Mourning (‘Earthquake Commemoration Day’)
27-28 Sentyabr Independence Day
First Sunday in November Health Day
Last Sunday in November Harvest Festival, Good Neighborliness Day
12 December Day of Neutrality and Day of Student Youth
Oraza (Ramadan) appr. the exact date is determined in accordance with the Decree of the President of Turkmenistan “On the Oraza Bayramy”
Oraza Bayram (Eid ul-Fitr) appr. the exact date is determined in accordance with the Decree of the President of Turkmenistan “On the Oraza Bayramy”
Kurban Bayram (Eid ul-Adha) appr. The exact date of Kurban Bayrami is annually determined by the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan.