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Country name: Conventional long form: Republic of Turkmenistan
Conventional short form: Turkmenistan
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Capital:  Ashgabat
Official language: Turkmen
Administrative: 5 Provinces
1 City
Area:   491,210 km2 
Population:  5,110 million (as on 2009) 
Time zone:  UTC+5
Currency:  Turkmen new manat (TMT)  gerb
Drives on the: Right
Internet domain code:  .tm
Calling code: +993
Independence:   October 27, 1991
Natural resources: Natural gas, oil
Religion: Islam- 89% 

Turkmenistan is located in the southwest part of Central Asia. It is bordered by Afghanistan to the southeast, Iran to the south and southwest, Uzbekistan to the east and northeast, Kazakhstan to the north and northwest and the Caspian Sea to the west.

Turkmenistan is divided into five provinces and one capital city district. The provinces are subdivided into districts, which may be either counties or cities. Provinces and capital city are Ashgabat City, Ahal Province, Balkan Province, Dashaguz Province, Lebap Province and Mary Province.

Ethnic Turkmens are the majority of Turkmenistan’s population. Turkmens are 85%, uzbeks-5%, russians- 4%, others (kazakhs, tatars, ukrainians, Armenians) - 6%.

Turkmen language is the official language of Turkmenistan since 1992 year. Russian is also spoken in most Turkmen cities.

The main religion of the Republic of Turkmenistan is Islam. Muslims constitute 89% of the population while 9% of the population is followers of the Eastern Orthodox Church and the remaining 2% religion is reported as non-religious.

With 488,100 km2 area, Turkmenistan is the world's 52nd-largest country. Over 80% of the country is covered by the Karakum Desert. The center of the country is dominated by the Turan Depression and the Karakum Desert. The Kopet Dag Range, along the southwestern border, reaches 2,912 meters at Kuh-e Rizeh (Mount Rizeh).

Turkmenistan has an arid desert climate with extreme hot summer and sub-freezing winter temperatures. The Karakum Desert is one of the driest deserts in the world; some places have an average annual precipitation of only 12 mm. The highest temperature recorded in Ashgabat is 48.0 °C.

The Great Balkhan Range in the west of the country (Balkan Province) and the Koytendag Range on the southeastern border with Uzbekistan (Lebap Province) are the only other significant elevations. The Great Balkhan Range rises to 1,880 metres at Mount Arlan and the highest summit in Turkmenistan is Ayrybaba in the Kugitangtau Range – 3,137 meters. Rivers are Amu Darya River, the Murghab, and the Tejen. The Turkmen shore along the Caspian Sea is 1,768 kilometres long.

Turkmenistan’s written history begins with its conquest by the Achaemenid Empire of ancient Persia, as the region was divided between the satrapies of Margiana, Khorezm and Parthia. On 4th century BC the territory of Turkmenistan was conquered by Alexander the Great. In 3th century BC Parthian Kingdom established its capital in Nisa. Later Parthian Kingdom was replaced by Iranian Sassanids dynasty and they rules several centuries. In 7th century AD Turkmenistan was conquered by Arabs and Islam was introduced to the country. In the middle of the 11th century the Seljuk Empire concentrated its strength in the territory of modern Turkmenistan in an attempt to expand into Khorasan (modern Afghanistan). The empire broke down in the second half of the 12th century. Later Turkmenistan was conquered by Genghis Khan. For the next seven centuries, the Turkmen people lived under various empires and fought constant inter-tribal wars. Between the 17th and 19th centuries, control of Turkmenistan was fought over by the rulers of Afghanistan, Persian Shahs, Khivan Khans and the Emirs of Bukhara. During this period, Turkmen spiritual leader Magtymguly Pyragy reached prominence with his efforts to secure independence and autonomy for his people. In 1894 Russia had gained control of Turkmenistan and incorporated it into its empire.

Turkmen SSR was organized in 1924. Turkmenistan declared independence on 27 October 1991 and gained official recognition on 25 December 1991.

In 1991, Turkmenistan became a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Turkmenistan joined the U.N. in 1992.

The country possesses the world's fourth-largest reserves of natural gas and substantial oil resources. Most of Turkmenistan's oil is extracted from fields at Koturdepe, Balkanabat and Chekelen near the Caspian Sea. Oil is exported by tankers through Caspian Sea to Europe via canals. Turkmenistan is a net exporter of electrical power to Central Asian republics and southern neighbors.

Half of the country's irrigated land is cotton fields. Turkmenistan is the world's ninth-largest cotton producer. It exports raw cotton to Russia, Iran, South Korea, Britain, China, Indonesia, Turkey, Ukraine, Singapore and the Baltic nations.

Turkmenistan is one of the most attractive countries of Asia. Turkmenistan is mother land of legendary Akhal Teke horses. Worldwide known Turkmen carpets are the pride of the nation. Visit Turkmenistan and enjoy its incomparable nature, grandiose archeological and architectural monuments.

NATIONAL HOLIDAYS

January 1 – New Year
January 12 – Memory Day
March 8 - International Women's Day
March 20-22 - Nauruz
May 8 – Remembrance Day
May 9 – Victory Day (end of World War II)
October 27 – Independence Day
December 12 - Neutrality Day
Qurban Bayram & Oraza Bayram

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