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 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. According to different sources, the area of the ancient city was from 20 to 50 hectares.
During the excavations there were found a lot of home appliances: different kinds of silver jewelry, various vessels, mirrors, ceramic vases etc. 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.
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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 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. 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. No one knows when Kunya-Urgench was founded. 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.
Many outstanding monuments of this period were kept. Kutlug Timur Minaret. The height of the minaret is 60 meters; diametre of the base is 12 metres. 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.
Turabek Hanym Masoleum. 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. 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. Despite, the tomb of Sufi dynasty and Turabek-khanum is a place where every year thousand pilgrims come from different countries. It is a fortress wall 1,5 km. 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.
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. Ruins of the minaret were found during the excavations. According to historical dates, minaret was completely destroyed only one hundred years ago.
In lead tile with the inscription was found by local people. Probably that the adjoining minaret refers to this time. Today, we can see only its numerous stone bases of wooden columns. 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". 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.
In , as a part of Khiva Khanate the city was under the protectorate of Russian Empire. Since October, as a part of Turkmen SSR, in - the district center; and in the regional center, in - once again the center of the area. Gas crater Darwaza is located in Karakum desert, in the north-west of Turkmenistan. The diameter of the crater - 60 meters, depth - 20 meters.
The accumulation of underground gas was discovered by the Soviet scientists in the village Darwaza in 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. Buses and minibuses from Ashgabat now leave from two new bus terminals, one for big buses and one for minibuses. They are not far apart but both several kilometres outside the city. Not sure how correct the following info still is.
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Everything might have moved to the bus terminals. There is another bus stand 10km outside of town at the Dunya bazaar. The Expert Commission on the back of the Carpet Museum in Ashgabat phone and , opening hours M-F , Sa has to certify that the carpet is not more than 50 years old and may be exported. This costs manat per square metre and can take a few days. In addition carpets exceeding 1. Some carpet factories are run by the state owned company Turkmenhaly.
If you buy a carpet in a state shop, the export fees normally are included in the price, although customs will charge a commission fee of 0. For an accessible still in print and sanely priced guide to these carpets, look for books by the California collector Dr. Murray Eiland. If you intend spending a lot, and especially if you are interested in older carpets, it may be worth looking deeper. Petersburg in It was a limited edition and is now rare and extremely expensive several thousand U. If you are passing through London, the British Museum has a copy and will let visitors browse through it.
A translation the original French plus English , Carpets of Central Asia ISBN , was published in Britain in the s; it is no longer in print but can be found in libraries. On the used market, it is both much easier to find and far less expensive than the original. Expect distinctly average Russian cuisine in restaurants. As in Uzbekistan , plov and more central Asian-type fare can be found in markets.
If you can find it, try sturgeon from the Caspian Sea, sometimes prepared in a 'tempura' style. Meals often start with a soup, as chorba , a meat and vegetable soup. Another national dish is plov , rice with mutton, onions, carrots, spices, raisins, peas or quinces. Manty are steamed dumplings filled with lamb. Ku'urma is lamb, cooked in its own fat.
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Ichlekli is a meat and onion pie and gutap is a pie filled with meat, potatoes, spinach and pumpkin. Look out for a range of 'Turkmenbashi' labeled vodka, which can be washed down with the range of Russian 'Baltika' brand beer. It can be harder to find local beers in outlets catering to foreigners, but 'Berk' is well worth asking for; 'Zip', on the other hand, is awful.
Best to err on the side of caution, and stick with bottled water. As in Russia , you may want to specify byehz gah-zah literally, 'without gas' or 'still; plain' if you do not like fizzy water. Local people prefer to drink gok chai - green tea, often with dried fruits or herbs, as mint. Turkmenistan is safe and friendly country as long as a visitor does not discuss politics. Politics remain a very sensitive issue, and it is your responsibility that you do not involve yourself in or speak out against the government, since it is considered a crime.
For safety and respect, do not under any circumstances criticise the President, the country or its people. Things have eased a bit since Turkmenbashi's death, but the country remains a tightly-controlled police state. The Ruhnama, a book written for the Turkmen people by Suparmurat Niyazov is still sold, and still learned in Turkmen schools.
As such, it is best not to criticise the former President as well.
Turkmenistan, like any other Central Asian country, is a fairly corrupt country. Corrupt officials and authorities may ask for bribes, and so if you are pulled over for any reason, simply pay the bribe. It is also possible that you will be asked by police for documents.
This is rather rare, but this can happen at any time and they have a legal right to do so. You should carry your passport and visa with you, though in practice, it is better to make a colour scan of the first two pages of your passport and your visa before you arrive. Carry the colour copies with you when you're walking around, and keep the original documents in the hotel safe. Also, upon arrival make a copy of your visa page. The scanned documents will almost always suffice. If not, make it clear to the Police that he will have to come to your hotel to see the originals.
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Nevertheless, policemen will demand a bribe for this. Always be polite with the police, but also be firm. Police are the most frequent problem you will always come up across and be warned that they are generally very aggressive, especially during the night, expect some harassment from them. Many hotels, including very good ones, are frequently bugged by the police. Do not sign any documents provided by the police if it is in a language you do not know, as it may be that they may try to rip you off for some more money.
Just be polite with them, and just say that you do not understand it. A curfew prevents people from leaving from , and this law applies to non-residents as well. Going out will get you arrested. Taking taxis or hiring private drivers may avoid problems, but don't be too dependent on this option, as it is possible it may not save your life.
See a Problem?
It is possible to take photographs relatively freely in Turkmenistan. However, you are best advised to exercise caution when photographing anyone in uniform or government buildings. Play it safe early on in your visit to give yourself an idea of what is acceptable. There are almost no 'no photo signs'. If you are in doubt ask the next policeman if you are allowed to take a picture. It should not be necessary for your guide to accompany you if you wish to leave your hotel, and go for a wander.
If you are male, try to not walk with a female companion - police may think of this of walking with a prostitute and can simply arrest you. Most taxis are not regulated by any government licensing agency and drivers are usually private citizens looking to make money. The majority of cars will not have seat belts or other safety devices, and drivers may not have had any formal driver training. For safety reasons, visitors should strongly consider hiring a private car and driver through their travel agency or hotel.
Penalties for breaking the law can be severe. Homosexual activities, prostitution and intercourse with prostitutes are prohibited, for example homosexuality is punishable by 2 years in prison. Vaccinations against diphtheria, tetanus, polio, hepatitis A and B are recommended. A vaccination against typhus is also recommended in case you stay in poor hygienic conditions, and a course of 3 vaccinations against rabies is recommended for long term stays and frequent contact with animals or if you are not able to get to a clinic to be treated within 18 hours of being bitten.
Medical supply does not correspond to American or European standards. Bring the medicines you need for your personal use with you, as they will be unavailable outside of Ashgabat. A travel insurance covering hospital care and an emergency flight to your home country is strictly recommended. Avoid drinking tap water. Tap Water in Turkmenistan is known to contain traces of toxic metals, and this can cause long-term health problems.
Fruits and vegetables should be peeled before consumption. Avoid dairy products as they are not pasteurized. Because of the nation's history past and current , Turkmen avoid talking politics, and you should too. Turkmens are notoriously xenophobic—not in a hostile way, but in a suspicious and wary way, no doubt a product of having had to stay guarded from any attention from the secret police over the past century.
To win friends, it's best to keep opinions to yourself, and let them take the lead in conversation, ideally complemented with a little Russian vodka. Regions [ edit ] While the provinces are a helpful way to break down large Turkmenistan into regional travel areas, there is one geographical region present throughout them all, dominating the country—the brutal desert wasteland that is the Karakum.
This country travel guide to Turkmenistan is an outline and may need more content. It has a template , but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow! Namespaces Page Discussion. Views Read Edit View history. Tourist office Random page. In other projects Wikimedia Commons Wikinews Wikipedia. This travel guide page was last edited at , on 16 May by Wikivoyage user Ibaman.