Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan, can be summed up in one phrase: bizarre and strange. Serving as the capital of a relatively young country, Ashgabat saw rapid developments in its infrastructure, some of which have made it to the Guinness World Records. The city more often than not amazes tourists with its whiteness surroundings and eerily empty streets.
You can do tons of things from the moment you land in Ashgabat. Most tourists tend to spend a day or two exploring the city and then head for other fascinating tourist spots like Merv or Darweze before leaving for other neighbouring countries to further their Central Asian journey.
History Of Ashgabat In Brief
The settlement began on the ruins of a destroyed city along the Silk Road route, Konjikala, which was reportedly a wine producing village. It was part of the Persian Empire during the 2nd Century BC and for a long time existed only as a village.
After the formation of Soviet Union and conquest of the territory by Soviet troops, Ashgabat was made the capital of newly formed Turkmen SSR and since been an administrative and political center of the country.
Best Things To Do In Ashgabat
You can endlessly explore the city and marvel at the giant structures that are present throughout its stretches. As stated previously, most of these were built on the direction of long standing president, SaparmuratNiyazov, which are now the center of focus for most tourists coming into the country. In Ashgabat city excursion, visit the following places:
A disco ball caged by what is seemingly a Star of David, it’s a wishful place for locals to get married.
Walk of Health
A 50 kilometers long pathway through the mountain consisting of stairs.
Arch of Neutrality
A 75 meter long building with the golden statue of President Niyazon on the top.
Statues of Turkmen heroes surrounding a 91 meters high minaret.
Land of Fairytales
A Turkmenistan version of Disneyland, it’s a major recreational center in the country.
Ertugrul Gazi Mosque
An important mosque honouring Ertuğrul, the father of the founder of Ottoman Empire.
The city is blessed with a number of museums that are built to preserve its history and antiquities. When you’re in Ashgabat, you can check into any of these museums and get a deep sense about Turkmenistan in general. Here are the museums in Ashgabat:
- Ashgabat National Museum of History
- Museum of Fine Arts
- Turkmen Carpet Museum
- HalkHakydasy Memorial Complex
- Modern Art Museum
Ashgabat is located near to the Kopet Dag Mountain range which can be easily seen in the background from the city.A hour ride from the city will take you to the mountains. The lower reaches are characterized by semi desert while the upper reaches by alpine country. With an improved recreational center and small number of wildlife in the mountain, you can do much more than just trekking the mountain.