Turkmenistan, ancient land of great spirituality, tradition and natural beauty is largely covered by the Karakum Desert with intensive agriculture located in irrigated oases. One-half of its irrigated land is planted with cotton, making it the world’s tenth largest producer. The country is known for its archaeological ruins including those at Nisa and Merv, major stops along the ancient Silk Road. The traditional life of the Turkmen is that of nomadic shepherds, though some have been settled in towns for centuries. The country with big potential for an expanded tourism industry is known for its fine carpets and horses.
Capital: Ashgabad, Population: 605,000 (1999).
Population: 5 million (UN estimate 2005).
Area: 488,100 sq km (188,456 sq miles).
The official language: Turkmen
Time zone: GMT + 5.
Religion: Predominantly Sunni Muslim. There is Russian Orthodox minority. Turkmenistan shares the Central Asian Sufi tradition.
Turkmenistan shares borders with Kazakhstan, the Caspian Sea, Iran, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.
In the eighth century A.D., Turkic-speaking tribes moved from Mongolia into present-day Central Asia, forming the ethnic basis of what is now present-day Turkmenistan. In the tenth century, the name “Turkmen” was first applied to groups (tribes) of nomadic people that accepted Islam, and occupied the desert lands here.
Tourism is regulated by the Tourism Committee of Turkmenistan, for more information: http://turkmentourism.com/