Blogs from Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, Asia


Asia » Turkmenistan » Ashgabat September 30th 2014

Sept 24 -26 Turkmenistan Early morning start from Nukus to the old cementry near the Turkmenistan border, the Mizdakhan cemetery. Inhabited from the 4th BC until 14th AD, Mizdakhan continued to be a sacred place with tombs being placed here until the 20thC. Was an interesting collection of tombs dating back to 10thC , and some pretty spooky mausoleums to explore, some underground and still containing their ancient sarcophagus's. We made the border crossing with no issues, other than the barking guard dogs, and the 1km walk in no-mans land between the two guard posts. Got our Turkmenistan visa on arrival - country no. 73 - so that was a relief after reading about all the potential dramas that can occur on this border. Our customs 'interrogation' was limited to "do you have guns? , and ... read more
Turabeg complex Konye Urgench
Wedding 'place' Ashgabat - biggest in the world
Independence statue Ashgabat

Asia » Turkmenistan » Ashgabat May 24th 2014

Ashgabat The drive from Turkmenbashi to Ashgabat was two hundred miles of really bad road, and one hundred sixty of pretty good road. The temperature was above 100 F most of the day. The country side looked more like the Mojave Desert than I could believe. It has the same hills and vegetation. I bottomed out the suspension a few times, scraped the center stand once, and shook the mirrors loose. The main attraction of Turkmenistan is the price of fuel, about 31 cents/liter ($1.20/gallon). We had to pay a foreigner fuel tax on entry, but it is still cheap. Getting yo our hotel was a real problem that started with the planned route blocked for construction, followed by a bunch of street closures because the president was on his way to his palace. Unfortunately. the ... read more

Asia » Turkmenistan » Ashgabat March 25th 2011

Lokasi : Old Nissa, Ahal Province, Turkmenistan Tarikh lawatan : 12 March 2011 Hari sabtu, selalunya aku masih lagi bergelimpangan enak diatas katil empuk didalam apartment yang disewa oleh syarikat untukku, namun pagi itu aku ketepikan segala keinginan untuk terus berselimut dan tidur sehingga tengahari. Awal pagi aku sudah bersiap kerana aku telah berjanji dengan rakan2 sepejabat untuk melawat sebuah kota peninggalan sejarah yang terletak 18 km dari Ashgabat. Kota yang dimaksudkan adalah Old Nissa iaitu salah sebuah kubu lama yang ditinggalkan dan telah pun diwartakan oleh UNESCO sebagai World Heritage Site. Masa yang diambil untuk kesana tidaklah lama memandangkan jalan yang menghubungkan Ashgabat dan Old Nissa agak moden dan selesa. Untuk pengetahuan semua, kota ini terletak tidak jauh dari sempadan Iran dan apa yang aku perhatikan, terdapat sebuah surau yang dinamakan Iran Mosq... read more

Asia » Turkmenistan » Ashgabat October 5th 2010

Mit diesem Titel wollen wir der nervigen Rubrik aus einer Schweizer Gratiszeitung nicht Referenz erweisen. Uns ist jedoch vieles in Turkmenistan (schreibt sich selbst übrigens "Türkmenistan") spanisch oder eben ziemlich absurd vorgekommen. Hier folgt nun eine Sammlung aus Fakten, Beobachtungen und Vermutungen aus einem Land, das auf der Topten-Liste der Despotenstaaten zwischen Nordkorea und Weissrussland liegt. Einiges über die Wirtschaft Ausserhalb der staatlich gesteuerten Wirtschaft, gibt es kaum nennenswerte wirtschaftliche Aktivität. Nach dem Öl- und Gas-Sektor folgt die Textilbranche an dritter Stelle. Auch diese ist staatlich kontrolliert und primär exportorientiert. Interessant ist übrigens, wer sich so um Gas und Öl tut. Öl wird primär von Petronas abgebaut, der staatlichen Öl-Firma aus Indonesien. Gas geht primär in zwei Pipelines – eine nach Russla... read more
...die Ideale Stadt aus europäischem Marmor
Türkmenbaschi aus Gold vor einem verschwenderischen Brunnen
Soviel Abwechslung ist erlaubt

Asia » Turkmenistan » Ashgabat August 29th 2010

Ashgabat is like a city we’ve never seen before. It is so unique, so strange, can’t even really describe it. It was flattened during an earthquake in the 1940’s/1950’s. It has more or less been completely rebuilt during the Turkmenbashi days since their independance from the Soviet Union. It has streets with giant city blocks of beautiful brand new white marble buildings/hotels that are generally empty inside. Ashgabat doesn’t have a “downtown/city center” area like most cities in the world. Lots of streets with many large water fountains and statues of either the new President or the late Turkmenbashi (who look incredibly alike). Obviously they are not too concerned about any sort of water shortage. There is an 11pm curfew here, and we have to be very careful about what we were taking photos of (i.e. ... read more
Camel market 4
Camel market 3
Camel market 10

Asia » Turkmenistan » Ashgabat May 15th 2010

If you want to know what Ashgabat looks like and how Turkmenistan is run it would be wise to read the following section I copied from the book that every dictator has on his bookshelf: A handbook for megalomaniacs: Build yourself a new capital, either by: a) Starting from scratch, preferably in a desolate and unsustainable location, and forcebly moving the entire population from the old to the new capital. or: b) Bulldoze entire sections of the old capital to make way for your new centre; in this case you certainly shouldn't provide for alternative housing for those who have been dispossessed by this. Your new capital should be made up of huge new buildings, entirely out of proportion with the needs of the administration or the people. It needs to be made out of expensive ... read more

Asia » Turkmenistan » Ashgabat October 16th 2009

Boarder crossing was smooth. We walked across the no mans land, an abandoned cotton field from Uzbekistan to Turkmenistan. Even as an18yr old soldier with WWII issued AK47 stared at us full of curiosity, immigration and customs were relaxed. But I suspect without a tour group, getting visa would be difficult, especially given Turkmenistan governments extreme xenophobia. Momentarily after the crossing, we hopped onto a Boeing 717 to fly from the boarder city of Dashoguz to Turkmenbashy (eastern shore of the Caspian). The 1hr flight costs $27, alleviating much of my concern that it costs only $2, like the guidebook says. The flight itself was smooth. With the countrys deep petro dollar well, it can definitely keep a well oiled flag carrier. But the pestering flies inside the cabin made me think the cargo was full ... read more
Here he is, Turkmenbashy
Turkmenbashys Mosoleum

Asia » Turkmenistan » Ashgabat June 20th 2009

Having left Esfahan behind, visiting mosques, wonderful bridges straddling a river with no water and having eaten some traditional Iranian food (apart from the ever present kebabs!) we headed south to Shiraz of grape fame - isn’t it odd that they are a nation of teetotallers. Although we were spending two nights there we only had one full day to explore and half of that was spent at the Iranian Department for Aliens (yes really) extending our visas as we discovered they were due to expire a few hours before we were due to leave the country - a hefty fine for breaking this law! It was another beautiful town and we spent the afternoon in the most brilliant bazaar which was heaving with locals buying very sparkly and exotic fabrics - one wonders what goes ... read more
Bush camp

Asia » Turkmenistan » Ashgabat October 9th 2008

Underused but stately buildings, older soviet era apartment blocks, Ladas with shiny 'racing' tire rims, cafes that don't serve beer - Ashgabat is different!... read more
One of the many fountains
On the way to school

Asia » Turkmenistan » Ashgabat October 1st 2008

I am a bit behind with this journal as Turkmenistan was pretty tight with internet access. I couldn't get phone access as well. After Bukhara we went to Khiva - wandered around more amazing buildings and bazaars. From there we travelled across the border into Turkmenistan. The Border towns had not seen many tourists so we had a lot of attention as we were changing money and shopping in the bazaar. We had a couple of days of bush camping as we made our way through the Turkmen desert. We drank our last beers as we were just out of Ashgabat. The highlight of the Turkmen desert (seeing camels roam free is so old hat now) was jumping onto a local contractors truck and making our way further into the desert one night. We went to ... read more
Gas Crater 2
Turkmenistan Desert Driving
Ruins in the Turkmen Desert

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