Magtymguly Turkmen National Music and Drama Theatre, Ashgabat http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Buildings_in_A%C5%9Fgabat#mediaviewer/File:Ashgabat_(3892535894).jpg Peretz Partensky
Turkmenistan is a vast, sparsely population country in Central Asia. It covers 488,100 sq km (188,456 sq mi), about the size of Spain, but has a population of 5.1 million people. The capital and largest city is Ashgabat.
Formerly a constituent state of the Soviet Union, Turkmenistan became an independent nation in 1991. It is bordered by Kazakhstan to the northwest, Uzbekistan to the north, Afghanistan to the southeast, and Iran to the south. It has a coastline facing the Caspian Sea to the west.
Turkmenistan is five hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+5). Traffic is driven on the right here. The phone IDD code is +993. The official currency is the Turkmen new manat (TMT).
State Historical and Cultural Park "Ancient Merv" (1999)
Parthian Fortresses of Nisa (2007)
Gurbanhuly Hajy Mosque in Mary, Turkmenistan http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Gurbanhuly_Hajy_Mosque#mediaviewer/File:TurkmenistanMaryMosque.jpg Hergit
Turkmenistan is, on paper, a presidential republic, which is another way of saying that it is a dictatorship. It was ruled by President for Life Saparmurat Niyazov until his sudden death on 21 December, 2006. Since then, the government has been taken over by Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, who became president on 11 February, 2007.
Turkmenistan is a totalitarian state that is similar in composition to North Korea. It's a land where the ruler creates a personality cult around himself, where his face and statues line city streets. Opposition in any form is responded with severe punishment. Since President for Life abrupted died, his successor has begun moving the country out of the extremes of leader worship, though subtly replacing it with his own.
Turabek Khanum Mausoleum http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Turabek_Khanum_Mausoleum#mediaviewer/File:Turabek_Khanum,_from_the_south.JPG Tim Williams
Planning your trip to Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan Airlines operate flights between Ashgabat with London. Lufthansa also flies there from Frankfurt.
Visitors to Turkmenistan should get a visa prior to arriving. You should also get vaccinations against diphteria, hepatitis A and B, measles, mumps, polio, rubella, tetanus, and varicella. Foreign visitors have to fill a registration card costing $12 which includes the departure card. The departure card must be presented when leaving the country.
Darvaza Flaming Crater, a burning natural gas field in Derweze, Turkmenistan http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Derweze_gas_fire#mediaviewer/File:Darvasa_gas_crater_panorama_crop.jpg Tormod Sandtorv
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