Turkmenistan – is one of the most neglected states of the Central Asia. In the CIS area there is no more exotic and at the same time, completely hidden from prying eyes country. There are a lot of legends and absolutely incredible myths about it.
Turkmenistan – is a country with scarcely the oldest history on earth, the first civilizations were born on its territory, caravan routes of the Silk Road were on it passed through its lands, for possession of it there were bloody wars, its pages of chronicles are full of names of famous compatriots — the scientists and philosophers , writers and cultural figures.
A trip to Turkmenistan — is your chance to get acquainted with the life of the state which has selected one of the most unique ways of modern development. Today Turkmenistan is unreal mix of petrodollars, the desert, large-scale of constructions, developing capitalism, and secular history of the ancient wisdom of the Orient. And when one considers that the country is one of the safest for tourism, only a lazy will miss a chance to visit it.
The state’s total area is 491.2 thousand square km, located in south-western part of Central Asia — Turkmenistan shares borders with Uzbekistan to the east, Kazakhstan to the north, Afghanistan and Iran to the south. West part of the country is washed by the Caspian Sea, on the territory of which the borders of Turkmenistan meet Azerbaijan and Russia.
Most of the country (80%) and the plain are occupied by sands of one of the largest deserts in the world — the Kara-Kum («Black Sands»). In the west they are rocky and detrital soil structure in the east – sandy one. In general, there is only 3% of the country’s lands which are suitable for agriculture.
South of the country occupied by mountain range Kopetdag («Many mountains»), with the highest point — Mount Rize (2942 m). Its extension is to the north-east — Mountain outlier, Small and Large Balkhan are not so high. To the north of the mountain massif stretches foothill plain, blending smoothly into the west in the Caspian lowland. Kugitangtau mountains cut the state in the south-east with the highest point — Mount Ayrybaba (3139 m).
The country is in a zone of moderate seismic activity.
The country’s climate is continental, very dry, with average high temperatures and the annual amplitude. Air humidity is very low, with high evaporation and low precipitation.
In general, the climate is characterized by: a soft little snow but sometimes cold winter, wet spring, hot summer and steady dry fall. Average January temperatures — 5 C, the absolute minimum of -32 C, is observed only in Tashauz region. Average temperature in July is +32 C, the absolute maximum of 49.9 C.
Hot winds and dust blizzards are characterizing plains.
The best time to visit the country are spring and summer.
The population of Turkmenistan according to 2005 amounted to 5,043,618 million. Based on the census, as well as taking into account the continuing migration of Russians from the country, the main number of the population consists of Turkmens — 81%, Uzbeks — 9%, Russian — 3.5%, Kazakhs — 1.9%, while other nations have — 4.6% of the total population of Turkmenistan.
In general, the region represents over 40 nationalities.
Official language — is Turkmen, Russian language is recognized as the language of international communication.
Sunni Muslims make up nearly 90% of the total population, Christians, 9%, other faiths — 2%. Strict observance of all religious norms and traditions in everyday life takes a small percentage of the population. The degree of spread of Islam and the activity of religious leaders is under the strict supervision of the President of the country.
Based on the Constitution of the country, Turkmenistan is a democratic, legal state with presidential form of government. Country’s independence was proclaimed in October 21, 1991.
Turkmenistan is in the Commonwealth of Independent States, as a full member.
The head of state and government is legitimately selected in 2007, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
The main representative body of power in the country is the People’s Council (National Council). It consists of: the President, deputies of the Majlis, People’s Advisors, who are elected one from the each entrusted district, the chief of justice, attorney general, members of the Cabinet of ministers, the heads of regions, the mayors of the municipal councils of towns and villages.
Legislative body of the country is the Majlis — the parliament in Turkmenistan, it consists of 50 deputies who are selected approximately equal numbers of voters from territorial districts, for a period of 5 years.
The national flag of Turkmenistan — a rectangular panel with a vertical green-red burgundy stripe on the left side of the standard and composition of a white crescent and five stars, located in the upper left corner.
The vertical stripe pattern carries five national gels, each of which is framed by a carpet pattern. The word «gel» has different interpretations; some argue that this transformation from the «Ghoul»-flower, while others insist that it is based on «kul»-lake. All in all, the carpet gels on the flag symbolize the provinces (regions). Figure of each gel is built on the principle of «golden section» and complies with the proportion of 21 to 34. The basis of the composition used symbolic colors of the four elements: earth — green, air — red, fire — yellow and white- is water. The pattern is completed by the image of two crossed olive branches, symbolizing the independence and neutrality of the nation.
Five stars on the flag mean five areas (or provinces) of the country, the five senses, the five states of matter. Crescent – is clean, peaceful sky over the head. White ornament – is a symbol of serenity and sincerity.
Uniting green color of the flag symbolizes the eternity of the life on earth, nature, prosperity, and wealth. Moreover, green – is the embodiment of unity of time, generations of ancestors and descendants of the nation.
The flag’s dimensions are as per international standard proportions — 1: 1.5.
The birthday of the national flag is considered to be February 19, 1992.
The emblem of the country symbolizes the unquestioned authority of the government and is a green octahedron, surrounded by golden-yellow stripe. In the center of the composition two circles of red and blue are placed, separated by the golden yellow border. On the outer contour on a green background there are main symbols of the national wealth:
— Seven-open boxes of ripe cotton in the lower part;
-Ensemble of a white crescent and five stars in the upper part;
-Hemisphere of the golden ears of wheat, two on each side, the central part of the image.
The larger red circle of the emblem bears the image of five major carpet gels: Ahalteke, Salyr, Ersari, Chovdur, Yomut, which symbolize the unity and solidarity of the Turkmen nation. In the middle of the composition in the blue circle there is Yanardag — the pride of the Turkmen Akhal-Teke horse, a personification of all the best qualities of classic rock.
Prior to the current version, the emblem was round, but in August 15, 2003 it was changed by the suggestion of the first President of Turkmenistan Saparmurat Niyazov on the traditional octagonal.
The administrative-territorial organization.
Country is divided into five regions (provinces) with their own capitals.
Ashgabat, in a national transcription Azhgabat – is the capital of Turkmenistan (678 thousand inhabitants).
Turkmenabat, formerly Chardzhou – is the main city of Lebap province (178 thousand inhabitants). Dashoguz former Tashauz – is the capital of Dashoguz province (121 thousand people). Mary – is the capital of Mary province (100 thousand people). Balkanabat, former Nebit Dag – is the capital of Lebap province (95 thousand citizens). The city of Turkmenbashi, former Krasnovodsk – is the capital of Balkan province (68 thousand people).
The national currency of Turkmenistan since 1993 is manat which is equal to 100 tenges. The national currency – is the only legal tender in the country. Using the currencies of other countries is possible in accordance with legislative acts of Turkmenistan and the regulations of the Central Bank of the country.
Since 2009 the country new bank notes began circulating which were denominated. One of the new manat is the sample corresponds to the previous 5000 manat, and 1 United States dollar is equals to 2.85 manats.
The new banknotes have a face value of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 manats, they are adorned with the portraits of the great historical figures and archaeological monuments of Turkmenistan, fame the country. Furthermore, there are also coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 tenge in circulation.
Today, in the state both old and new banknotes are legal, they are absolutely equal, and must be accepted for payment in all institutions of Turkmenistan.
It is more convenient to exchange currency only at banks, hotels or exchange offices. Most readily to be accepted United States dollars bank notes which are new versions and releases. Foreign currency in small denominations of money will greatly facilitate your life.