The cities of Turkmenistan are strange in themselves. Located at the gateway to the famous Silk Road route from the Middle East, the cities are different from the cities of the neighboring 'Stans' in almost all aspect, whether it be culture, history, or landscape. Coupled wtih the strict tourist policies and rules of the country, there is literally nowhere in the else in the world quite like them. If anything, Ashgabat is the most peculiar of them all which is the capital of the country. The flamboyant architecture of the city which is white everywhere you see is in stark contrast with the nomadic lifestyle of the people and condition of the rest of the country.
Being a central Asian country, Turkmenistan has always been at the crossroad of civilization for centuries. The region began as a settlement in 8th Century AD by Oghuz nomads who moved in from Mongolia and settled in the middle of the Karakum desert. Even after the settlement, they didn't gave up thier nomadic lifestyle and it remained pervasive even to this day. In the next centuries, Mongols took over the region and forced the Oghuzs southwards where they remained scattered in clans. Later, the region was occupied by the Russians and got annexed into the Soviet Union. All these factors, led to the creation of the current cities of Turkmenistan as we know them.
One of the standout cities in entire Central Asia is Merv. Throughout its history, Merv was one of the most continuously inhabited region of Central Asia. The city has influence of Greek, Arabs, Turks, Mongols, Uzbeks, and Russians. As per the archaeological studies, a number of cities existed at the site and were subject to continuous destruction, construction, and renovation. The vast ancient city is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has been attracting the most number of tourists in Turkmenistan.
It is a small village where the famous sites gas crater of Darvaza or Derweze is located. It is natural gas pit which has been continuously burning for past 47 years. Derweze which in Turkmen language means door has lead to it being named as "Door to Hell."
A fascinating small village located in the Kopet Dag Mountains, it is ideal for guided hiking trips. The tribal group of this village consider themselves the descendants of Alexander the Great.
The city which holds the biggest archaeological site in the country, there are ruins and remains of not one but five cities. Located in the middle of the desert, there are almost no inhabitants in the area.
Situated in the left bank of Amu Darya, it is hailed as the "Heart of Islam" which was the accommodating place for a number of prominent Islamic thinkers.
The capital city of Turkmenistan, the entire city seem to be painted white and holds the record for the highest number of marble-clad buildings in the world.