Sightseeing in Turkmenistan
Ashgabad is the capital of Turkmenistan and the biggest city in Turkmenistan. The name of the city can be translated as “city of love”. The city was formed at the beginning and in the middle of the XX century, round the Russian fortress, built in 1881 at the crossroad of the caravan routes. In 1885 the Caspian railway passed through the city, the road made the city more industrial. In October 6, 1948, at 01:17 after midnight Ashgabad was wiped away from the face of the earth. It was the earthquake. At least 110 inhabitants of the city were died. For 5 years the ruins of the city were the confined space, and after this incident for 20 years the Soviet Union was restoring it from point zero. But all old buildings were destroyed, even the trees were wiped away with the destructive force of the element. That is why, all that you can see in the capital of Turkmenistan concern to the “epoch of the developed socialism” and later times, when the country became independent and the building boom began.
The main sights of the city are: Arch of Neutrality (1998, 75 m. high - the highest construction in Turkmenistan), with the gold statue of Turkmenbashi on the top, the Presidential Palace (former building of the Communist Party of Turkmenistan, 1950-1955), the building of Medjlis (former complex of the Council of Ministers, 1954-1956), the complex of Academy of Sciences (1949-1953), the Academic Theater of drama named after Mollanepes (1951-1958), Bairam-Khan monument, Mekan Palace (1970-1974), the building of National Library (1964-1976), the musical school and conservatory (1975-1992), the orthodox church of Aleksandr Nevskiy (XIX century), Ertogrulgazy mosque with 4 minarets and the enormous dome (1997) - the largest mosque in the country, and also Ashgabad circus (1979-1984).
East is east, and that is why nobody wonders, that the main place of interest for tourists is the huge Sunday bazaar “Tolkuchka”. Nowadays it is totally renovated and called as Altyn Asyr Gundogar Bazaar, the largest market, located in the outskirts of Ashgabat, in the residential area Choganly. It was built to resemble the shape a Turkmen carpet. The market covers 154 hectares. At the heart of the bazaar is a tall clock tower, its main landmark. It is noted in particular for its sale of large red Turkmen rugs. The market thrives especially on Sundays and sells a massive range of goods, including Turkmen carpets, handicrafts, silks, jewelry, jeans, laundry soap, plastic bags, and bales of rice. It also has a notable camel market.
It is famous for its variety of goods and bright Turkmen traditions. Stretching for several kilometers along the desert outskirts of the city, the bazaar is attracting attention, first of all, the possibility to buy traditional Turkmen carpets, which are brought here for sale from across the country. “Russkiy” (roofed) and “Tekinskiy” bazaars are popular places of trade.
There are many places of interest around the capital. Scientists affirm that the oases of the foothills were the site of formation of not the only one civilization of antiquity, and the desert sands hide unique historical and cultural monuments.
At 12 kilometers to the Southeast of Ashgabad here is the archaeological area Anau-Depe (IV-III thousand years BC.) and the fortress Anau (III century BC. - III century AD.), as well as the ruins of the medieval town of the same name with a mosque.
Lying in a green valley, at 30 km to the South-west of Ashgabad, the hunting residence of the Persian royal family Firyuza, is a popular mountain resort. It is a real salvation from the high temperature of the surrounding plains. A mountain hiking trail "Serdaor Eli" passes through the most picturesque places of Kopetdag. Nearby is the famous cave Bakharden with a huge underground lake Kow-Ata ("Father of Lakes," the area is of about three thousand square meters).
The water temperature in the lake is about +36 C all the year-round, and it is saturated with a great deal of salt: hydrogen sulfide, boron, manganese and bromine, etc. Today Kow-Ata is a national nature reserve, as besides the lake, there is a colony of bats In the cave , the biggest colony in the CIS.
National Carpet Museum
The Capital Museum of Carpet is considered the only one in the world. Hundreds of best models of carpets of all times, the oldest of which relates to the XVII century, are represented here.
The national museum of Turkmen carpet was established in 1993.The museum was opened in order to recreate and preserve the national traditions of Turkmen carpet-weaving and also for carpet popularization of Turkmenistan.
It was designed for the collection of the best samples of carpet art,study, restoration and farther development of a manual carpet-weaving. Now the museum has up to 8000 different exhibits, the smallest carpet is 0,01 sq.metre and that which is considered as the biggest one in the world is 301 sq.metre, entered the Guinness Book of Records in 2003. There are also silk carpets in the museum which were woven by skilled craftsmen 3-4 centuries ago.
The National museum of Turkmen carpet is one of the cultural centers in Turkmenistan .In addition to the above-mentioned the museum has rarities of woven carpets. It is not only an exhibition of carpets but also the biggest hall restoration of ancient samples in the country.
At 18 kilometers to the West of Ashgabad there is a unique monument of history - the ruins of the ancient capital of the Parthian state, today known as Nissa (Konenusay, III century BC. - III century AD.) A great deal of unique objects of the past was discovered on the small territory of the ancient town, including 2700 tablets from clay with inscriptions, ruins of the ancient fortress Mitridatkert (area about 14 hectares), the remains of town districts, churches, palaces, the archive of business documents, artworks and others.
The study of this ancient city was begun at the last century by archaeologists from different countries. The distance of two separated cities is one and a half kilometers. Old Nisa is translated as Konenusay and New Nisa – Tyazenusay.
Unlike New Nisa, which was full-fledged city until XIX century, Old Nisa stopped its existence long ago. During the excavations of Old Nisa, were found many artifacts of ancient civilization, what cannot be said about New Nisa. The city walls of Old Nisa built of mud brick, which was a traditional building material in Central Asia. Ancient walls of the city were destroyed because of archeological excavations and precipitation. Many people are wondered the meaning of the word “Nisa”. According to medieval geographer Samani, it is a word of Arabic origin, means "woman". There is a legend that says about Arabs who wanted to conquer Central Asia, but they changed their mind after learning that only women live in the city. Modern linguist decipher this word as "a convenient place to settle".
The ancient cities Old and New Nisa are interesting and historical monuments which attract tourists from different countries. In addition, in 2007 this architectural monument was included to the list of world heritage of UNESCO.
National Museum of Turkmenistan
The National Museum of Turkmenistan was established in 1990, its total area is 15 thousand sq. metres. The museum consists of seven galleries, keeping the history of modern culture and ethnography of Turkmenistan. There are more than 116 000 unique items in the museum's collection. Here you can see thousands of archaeological monuments of Old Nissa and Merv, as well as ancient Turkmen carpets, household items, samples of national clothes and fabrics, items made of precious metals.
A special place is given to the museum exhibition "Ancient World". There are exhibits found during archaeological excavations in Altyn-Depe. A natural-historical collection is also very interesting. This exhibition consists of more than 2,500 artifacts, beginning with the history of independent Turkmenistan. The exposition has documents in Turkmen and English languages, as well as state symbols: national emblem, flag and anthem.
It is known that Turkmenistan has always been famous for its weaving products, so it is not surprising that this collection is given much attention. These are carpets, rugs and national clothes. Carpets made of wool and silk yarn were very colorful. The collection of the museum is characterized by ornamental and compositional decisions that emerged during the centuries-old history of people’s arts and crafts.
One of the main touristic attractions of Turkmenistan is the National Independence Park. There is a symbol of the country – the Monument of Independence (the tallest building of the country).
The base of grandiose monument is a hemisphere (symbol of traditional Turkmen dwelling - yurts). The column is decorated with proud eagles and golden spire with a crescent and 5 stars (symbol of the unity of 5 Turkmen clans). The height of this grand building is 118 metres -derivative number is taken from the sum 91 and 27 (Independence Day October 27, 1991). You can get here in one of the luxury entrances, guarded by the statues of warriors with gold spears. There is the Museum of National Values inside the building. The museum exhibition contains of different types of weapons, large numismatic collection, as well as beautiful jewels.
Independence Monument is surrounded by the majestic statues of the great rulers and military leaders, artists and thinkers of Turkmenistan. The majestic composition is finished by Ceremonial Avenue leading to the monument.
One of the most beautiful mosques in Turkmenistan is the mosque Ertogrulgazy or Mosque Azadi. It is the largest mosque in the city, built in the Turkish style. The mosque consists of four minarets, the first of which was built in the early 1990, after the independence of Turkmenistan.
This monumental building, named in honor of Ottoman Sultan Ertogrul, for the first time was opened in 1998. The building external appearance has many similarities with Istanbul's Blue Mosque. The building was built by means of the Turkish Republic. There was no single mosque in Ashgabat until 1991. So Ertogrulgazy mosque became one of the first mosques in the Turkmen capital. As mentioned above, the architecture of the mosque is not typical for Central Asia. There are the Byzantine and Islamic styles of architecture.
Ertogrulgazy mosque is a true spiritual center for the believers in Ashgabat. It is important to note that there is Mufti’s device of Turkmenistan. Now it is headed by Mufti M. Akyev. There is a courtyard with a fountain inside this magnificent building. The room for believers is decorated with beautiful paintings. Ertogrulgazy mosque is visited by thousand faithful every Friday and public holidays of Turkmenistan.
Turkmenbashy Mosque and Masoleum
The main mosque of Turkmenistan – The Turkmenbashi Ruhy Mosque is located about 8 km from Ashgabat . Like all other buildings of the period of independence it differs with its immensity and grandiosity.
The mosque was built in 2002-2004 on the initiative of Turkmenbashi and named after him, the mosque is located in Gypjak, the Turkmenbashi native village.The whole complex is built in white marble by French company Bouygues. The mosque itself is a one-domed building, surrounded by 4 minarets. The height of the mosque is 55 m, and that of the minarets is 91 m to symbolize the year 1991 – when Turkmenistan gained independence. The building is accessible through 9 entries with arches. Around the mosque there are numerous fountains as though the mosque stands on the water and it makes the mosque look very good.
The mosque walls are traditionally decorated with suras from Koran and also phrases from Rukhnama – the book on spirituality and morality written by Turkmenbashi himself. Due to this fact the mosque is not recognized by many Muslims.
Inside the mosque there is a huge praying hall with white columns and richly painted celestial blue dome. The heated floor is covered with a huge hand-made Turkmen carpet. The mosque can accommodate about ten thousand people, but visitors are usually few there. Under the mosque there is an underground garage capable to park over 400 cars.
Near the mosque, there is the Turkmenbashi Mausoleum – more modest in décor and size. Turkmenbashi himself is buried in the central sarcophagus, and around it, there are three more sarcophagi with his mother and two brothers, and one in addition, which is empty – a symbolic sarcophagus with the name of Turkmenbashi’s father, buried in another place.
One of the most important cities of Northern Khorasan is a medieval settlement Abiverd. Hafiz-i-Abru said that Abiverd settlement consisted of dozens of villages and several cities. There was a portal- domed mosque in the centre of the settlement, from which only ruins of brick portal were preserved. Judging by the décor, made of bricks and decorated with tiles of blue glaze, one can say about a high artistic level of this unique settlement. The city wall is a rectangular area of 42 hectares.
There also were found ancient coins, ceramics products of IX-XII centuries, as well as a lot of metal handicrafts: various women's jewelries, buckles. According by them, we can say that there were shops of jewelers and tinkers. During the excavations archeologists found huge wells and reservoirs, indicating a highly-developed irrigation of Abiverd.
The first investigation was took place in 1928 under the leadership A.A. Semenov, who first made a plan of the city, citadel and remains of the city wall. In addition to Semenov’s scientific works, there are also archeological materials collected by the members of the expedition from different parts of Abiverd.
Kopetdag reserve is a reserve area in Ashgabad region, was founded in 1976. The reserve area is 49800ga, 46000 of which are covered by forests and 3600 by meadows. It was established to preserve and study the ecosystems of the mountain steppes, forests and shrubs – tugais. The climate is dry, continental, summer temperature is + 29 degrees Celsius. The relief is mountainous. There are two nature reserves in Kopetdag reserve: Karayalchy and Charlyk.
There are 68 species of mammals: leopard, goat, mountain sheep, honey badger, hyena and other, 280 species of birds: chukar, pheasant, bearded vulture, shaheen, as well as 960 species of plants: plum, barberry, almond, ficus. Foothills are covered by steppe vegetation – saksaul and pistachio shrubs. The reserve consists of four separate areas at altitude from 700 to 2800 m above sea level. Kopetdag reserve area can serve as an object of Russian eco-tourism.
Merv oasis (40 km. to the east from Mary city) is one of the most ancient regions of Central Asia, which mastered an irrigation system related to the period of Bronze Age. Therefore, it is not surprising that Merv (Margush, Margiana, Mouru or Maru in different sources) grew here as one of the largest city in ancient world. The origin of Merv is covered by mystery. The only one fact is clear - the first written references about its appearance are in Avesta chronicles of approximately VIII-VI c.c. B.C. Omar Khayam, As-Samani, Imamad-din-Isfaxani and other great persons of Middle Ages lived and created here.
Contemporary ruins include more than five ancient settlements: Erk-Kala, Gyaur-Kala, Sultan-Kala, Abdulla-Khan-Kala and Bayram-Aly-Khan-Kala, surrounded by wall and ruins of other fortification and cult constructions (precise boundaries of city are not known until now). Majority of them are destroyed and only earthen hills remained. But even taking into account this moment Merv continues to remain as one of the most unique monuments of history. During our days it is introduced into the list of UNESCO world heritage as the most well preserved ancient center of the Great Silk Road.
The most interesting monuments of history are: 40 meters high mausoleum of Sultan-Sanjar-Dar-al-Akhir (1140 A.D.), Sultan-Kala, Shazriar-Ark citadel, wall remains of Abdulla-Khan-Kala (XV c.), ruins of fortress and towers of Bayaramali-Khan-Kala, ruins of Kiz Kala fortress (VI-VII c. AD.), mausoleum al-Khakim-ibn-Amir-al-Djafari and Burayd-ibn-Hussein-al-Islami (XV c.) place of pilgrimage, Muxammad-ibn-Zeyd mausoleum (XII c.), Talkhatan-Baba complex with the mausoleums of Talkhatan-Baba, Imam Kasim, Imam Shafi and Imam Bakr of the epoch of the Seldjuks, Yusuf Khamadani mosque (XIII c., reconstructed in XIX c.), Erk-Kala fortress ruins (VI c.), ruins of Christian temple and Buddhist monastery in Gjaur-Kala (ancient Antioch Margiana), ruins of Beni Makhan mosque (Friday mosque, VII-XII c.c.), high walls of similar fortress construction of Big and Small Kyzyl-Kala, Kyz-Bibi mausoleum and also numerous remains of baths, palaces, ceremonial halls and other constructions.
There are also the mausoleum of Dandankhan and Talkhatan-Baba mosques (XII century, at 30 kilometre's distance from South-east of Merv), keshk (fortified house) Akuyli-Koushuk (IX-XIII centuries), Kharam-Keshk fortress situated at 7 kilometers to the North of Gyaur-Kala (IX-XIII centuries), Durnali fortification situated at 25 kilometers to the North of Gyaur-Kala (I-II centuries), Gebekly fortification situated at 32 kilometers to the north-west of Gjaur-Kala. Today, many archaeological findings which were discovered during excavations of ancient towns are exposed in excellent Historical Museum of Merv.
Kiz Kala Fortress
Kiz Kala onsists of two small fortresses, located in Merv oasis, near Bairam Ali town. Big Kiz-Kala consisted of two floors. There were five rooms on the ground floor and a staircase passed through the arch passage. According to the fragments of the second floor, we know that there were five rooms too, located inside a courtyard.
Unlike the Big Kiz-Kala, Small Kyz-Kala survived much worse. Thanks to the excavations, it is known that two fortresses were built on the same plan. It is also notable that corrugated walls were made of mud brick. There were residential and utility rooms inside the fortress, forming a courtyard in the center of the fortress. It was a very comfortable design for steppe: It was cool in summer and hot in winter. This building was also used as a barn, therefore it is not surprising that it could withstand a long siege.
The word "Margush" was transcribed as «Margiana» by Greek authors and as “Mouru” in the holly book "Avesta". It wasn’t known the exact location of Murgash until XX century but thanks to ancient written sources, the eastern Academician V.V. Struve proved that Margush was in the basin of the river Murgab in southeastern Turkmenistan.
According to another version, Margiana was located Merveruda district. Some scientists believe that it also was included into the whole river basin Murgab. In II century Margush became part of Parfiya. During the reign of Arshakid dynasty, a new life bloom was begun in Margiana. There was built a new wall thickness of 7 metres. The dominant religion of Margush was Zoroastrism. Small terracotta figurines with the image of local female deities were very popular in Margiana.
The remains of large Buddisht temple were found not far from the settlement Gyaur Kala. There was a large stupa with a huge 5-metre-high figure of the Buddha in the centre of the complex. According to the remains, one can say that the Buddha's face was painted in brownish-red color. There also were cells for the monks. In the V century Buddhist complex was destroyed. In 1962 a large painted vase was found by archeologists where the head of Buddha and ancient manuscripts in Sanskrit were discovered. Today, the scientists excavate in order to gather as much information on the restoration of mysterious Margush.
Gonur-depe is the largest settlement in Margiana. According to different sources, the area of the ancient city was from 20 to 50 hectares. The construction of necropolis dates back to II-I centuries BC. During the excavations there were found a lot of home appliances: different kinds of silver jewelry, various vessels, mirrors, ceramic vases etc. These artifacts refer to III millennium BC.
Gonur-depe complex was located on a small hill of right bank of the Murghab river bed, and the main necropolis Gonur was on the left bank of the River. During the excavations there also were found three royal tombs, plundered in ancient times. Thanks to the stone fragments found here, it is known that the facades of the two buildings were decorated with mosaic panels. The technique of Gonur masters is notable: at first they used colors and then the individual parts were made with stone accents. It is important to note that this technique is not found anywhere in the world.
In addition, there were found pottery workshops, small buildings, as well as some burials. All rooms are located on the east and west. Such items as bronze knives, stone handicrafts, pins were frequent finding.
Gonur is one of the important tourist sites in Turkmenistan, where thousands of tourists come from all over the world. Having visited this mysterious place, you will plunge into the world of Turkmen ancestors who were not only skilled builders, but also sculptors and jewelers.
Talkhatan Baba Mosque
Talkhatan Baba Mosque is located 30km from the old Merv, on the territory of the medieval village Talkhatan. The mosque dates to the XI century; it has a shape of a regular rectangle without any traditional roofs and columns. The decoration of the building is patterned brickwork of light burnt brick, combining with figured inserts, which gives the building proportions ease and richness of ornament. The façade of the mosque is decorated with three arches, and its internal and external walls with uniform ornament. Despite its old age, Talkhatan Baba Mosque is well preserved to this day. The mosque is annually visited by hundreds of tourists and pilgrims, as Talkhatan Baba is outstanding monument of Central Asian architecture of the end of the XI century.
Kunya Urgench sights
Kunya Urgench known for its magnificent monuments of the XIII-XIV centuries. No one knows when Kunya-Urgench was founded. During the recent excavations the contours of the powerful ancient fortress belonging to the VI-VII centuries B.C. were revealed.
In 712 after the capture of Khorezm by the Arabs Kunya-Urgench was given the Arabic name Jurdaniya or Gurganj. Because of its location on the path of the main trade routes from north to south and from west to the Volga River, as well as in Eastern Mongolia and China, the city became prosperous very quickly. It became the second largest city in Central Asia after Bukhara. Many outstanding monuments of this period were kept.
The main remarkable sights of Kunya-Urgench are: the mausoleum of the founder of the Sufi sect "kubra" of Najmiddin Kubra (XII-XIII centuries), the mausoleum of the Mongol princess Turabekhanum (Turabekhanum, XII-XIV centuries), Mamun Minaret (X-XI centuries AD.) Kutlug Timur minaret (XII-XIV centuries, the highest minaret in Central Asia - its height today is 67 m), the mausoleum Kirkmulla (II century BC. - III century in A.D.) Ibn Hadzhyba madrasah (XIV-XVI centuries), the mausoleum of Arslan II (the oldest building in the town - the date of its laying is roughly estimated by the XI century), Mausoleum of Fakhr ad-Din Razi (XIII century), Azizan al-Ramatani (XIII-XIV centuries ), Seyd Ahmeda (XII-XIV centuries), Piryarveli (XIV-XVII centuries), Guligerdan (XII century) , Horezimbag (XIII-XVIII centuries.) Dashgala (XIV-XVI centuries), Matkarim-Ishan (XIX-XX centuries), Sultan Ali (1580), Tekesh-Horezmshah (XIII century), with the minaret of XIV, Dashmedzhet (1903-1908) and the fortress Ak-Kala (Akgala, I-XIII centuries).
Kutlug Timur Minaret
Kutlug Timur minaret is the highest minaret in Central Asia, was built in 1011 during the reign of the Golden Horde. The height of the minaret is 60 meters; diametre of the base is 12 metres. Kutlug Timur minaret is a slender, tapering upward round trunk, divided eighteen stripes and decorated with ornaments and inscriptions in “kufi”. 145 stairs leads to the top of the minaret.
Kutlug Timur minaret unlike the other minarets in Central Asia of XI-XII centuries doesn’t have rich décor. Despite it is very high and slender building. There are many assumptions about age of the minaret. Some scientists believe that its construction was erected during the reign of Kutlug Timur, others believe that the minaret was built during the reign of Sultan Mahmud Gaznevi. According to historical records, in 1221 after the city’s destruction by the Mongols, the dome of the minaret was badly damaged but later it was restored.
Turabek Hanym Masoleum
Turabek-Khanum Mausoleum was built in Kunya Urgench in the second half of XIV century. The building is a rotunda topped with drum and blue dome.
For the first time ceramic mosaic was used by architects in the decoration of the mausoleum. Masters, who built this grand building, combined rich decoration and architectural forms. You can see the colored picture on the wall of the building, standing out against a background of polished brick masonry. You will be amazed by the beauty of well preserved mosaic interior. The dominant colors are white and blue, as well as red, black, green and gold colors. Turabek-khanum is Mongol princess, the daughter of the ruler Uzbek-khan and Kutlug Timur’s wife. Her name has always been associated with many legends. According one of them, Turabek-Khanum promised master Gulgardan, who was hopelessly in love with her, to marry him if he builds a beautiful building for her. Gulgardan constructed mausoleum, which up to now continues to fascinate people at richness of decoration and multicolored patterns. But the princess broke her promise, preferring and marrying the ruler of Khorezm Kutlug Timur. Master didn’t survive lies and threw himself from the top of the mausoleum.
Unfortunately, today we can’t see the building in its original form as the construction was severely damaged. Despite, the tomb of Sufi dynasty and Turabek-khanum is a place where every year thousand pilgrims come from different countries.
Izmukshir is an ancient city Zamakshar, as well as the birthplace of the great philosopher Az-Zamakshari. It is a fortress wall 1,5 km. long. In 1938 after Timur’s campaign, the city was completely destroyed and devastated.
Here you can still see a few surviving buildings of various shapes: square, octagonal and oblong. There are small arched niches (25x25cm) at the walls, inside each building.
Unfortunately, the appearance of the building wasn’t preserved. The local people call them “kaptar-khana”, i.e. “pigeon”. According to researchers, these buildings were part of the agricultural estates and had residential use for the storage of household utensils.
During its two thousand year history, ancient city Izmukshir lived through not dynasty of Eastern rulers. It is one of the most monumental and picturesque ruins of Khorezm Empire.
Mamun Minaret is a part of pre-Mongol Urgench, situated in the northern part of Dash Gala, near IL-Arslan Mausoleum. Ruins of the minaret were found during the excavations. According to historical dates, minaret was completely destroyed only one hundred years ago.
In 1900 lead tile with the inscription was found by local people. The inscription tells that the minaret was built in 1011 by Shah Mamun’s order. Probably that the adjoining minaret refers to this time. Today, we can see only its numerous stone bases of wooden columns.
Dashauz - a city in north-eastern Turkmenistan, the administrative center of Dashauz veloyat (region).
The name of the city derives from the name of the oguz tribal union "Dash oguz", that is "Outer oguz" described later in the epic "Dede Korkut". In the Middle Ages, the ancestors of the Turkmen the Oguzes were divided into two wings, "Ich Oguz" ("Inner Oguz") and "Dysh Oguz" ("Outer Oguz") – a city in northern Turkmenistan, the center of Dashauz region. It is located on both banks of the canal Shavat (Irrigational branch of the Amu Darya river)and it is located in the ecologically unfavorable region of the Aral Sea. The distance to the capital of Turkmenistan, Ashgabad is approximately 500 km., to Nukus - the capital of the Republic of Karakalpakstan is 78 km., to Urgench - the capital of Khorezm region is about 80 km. The airport is situated in 12 km from the town.
The city was founded in 1681 as a caravanserai (roadside rest area) with a well on the outskirts of Khiva Khanate, as Khiva fortress which borders on the Turkmen land. In 1873, as a part of Khiva Khanate the city was under the protectorate of Russian Empire. It was the center of Tashkent Khanate (bekstvo). Since 1920 it had been in the Khorezm People's Soviet Republic, since 1924 it had been the city, the center of Turkmen region. Since October, 1924 as a part of Turkmen SSR, in 1925 - the district center; and in 1939-1963 the regional center, in 1970 - once again the center of the area. In 1992 the original Russian name Tashauz was changed into Turkmen version Dashhovuz, and in 1999 the city received a new name - Dashauz.
Darwaza Gas Crater
Gas crater Darwaza is located in Karakum desert, in the north-west of Turkmenistan. The diameter of the crater - 60 meters, depth - 20 meters. Local people call it “The door to Hell” or “Gate of Hell”.
The accumulation of underground gas was discovered by the Soviet scientists in the village Darwaza in 1971. During the excavations, geologists found an underground cavern (empty), because of it the land failed and there was a large abyss filled with gas. It was decided to set fire in order to avoid harmful gas for human and animals.
Accordance to the hypothesis of geologists, the fire had to go out in a few days, strangely enough, but they were wrong. Since then natural gas has been burning without ceasing. Thousand of insects come here to the light and heat, but they are doomed. The distance to nearest Erbent village is 90 kilometres.
Arriving in this amazing place in the early morning, you can enjoy the beautiful spectacle of desert illuminated by a bright light and burning crater surrounded by orange light. There are two craters if similar origin not far from the crater Darwaza, however, the pressure of the gas is not as strong, so they do not burn. One of these craters is filled with liquid of bright color, the bottom of the other - light gray.
The port city Turkmenbashi (formerly Krasnovodsk) is the only one large port in whole Central Asia, providing a link with European countries. Surrounded on the east by the crescent of low mountains, in the west it looks in the turquoise-blue waters of the Caspian Sea. The surrounding desert landscape looks more like a moon landscape. Most excursions into the mountains and the coastal resort towns begin from this dusty, and even somewhat sleepy town.
The coast of the Caspian Sea is famous for its wonderful sandy beaches, clean, crystal water, abundance of sea flora and fauna, which allows to enjoy water kinds of sport.
City of Khazar and the suburb of Turkmenbashi – Awaza health resort, in the sanatoriums prophylactic events of different kinds of pneumonia, are more popular among the vacationers. There is also a number of coastal tourism recreation centers. The beautiful subtropical zone of the country - Sumbar valley with green trees and the famous oak-old in the village Garrygala is located in Balkan province.
Awaza - heavenly sea corner which stretches for 16 kilometers. 6 hotels of world class and health complexes have been built for today. It is planning to open 60 hotels of different categories.
Awaza becomes a sea resort zone. Beautiful hotels are functioning on the territory of Awaza, standards-based pensions, health complexes, child health centers, sport centers, will soon be operational, health spas, children's health centers, sports, cultural and entertaining centers will function. 7 kilometers canal was excavated on the territory of Awaza, and cozy restaurants and cafes are situated on both sides of the canal.