Turkmenistan’s split personality is omnipresent. The sumptuous palaces in the capital gold statues, and marble monuments are as captivating as the deep mysticism and legend that hangs over places of pilgrimage and ancient ruins. This is a land that is both making authority, yet overcome by spirituality.
Travel Ideal Road Trip
The ancient cities of Merv, Dekhistan (also known as Misrian) and Urgench-inspired visions Könye slow moving caravans plod walk along the ancient Silk Road. The remains of its urban fabric are still slowly disintegrates under the weight of tribal warfare and time. The modern and well kept Ashbagat (also known as the city of love) will give you another bias in Turkmen culture, while the fertile plains of eastern Turkmenistan and numerous historic sites that is a necessity. Nature lovers will appreciate the haunting beauty of the Karakum (Black Sand) desert and the occasional quirks of colored canyons, dinosaur tracks and burning gas craters.
The entire experience of Turkmenistan is ultimately about mixing with the Turks, only a few generations of a nomadic lifestyle, they are friendly people, hospitality is part of the legend. Proud of their heritage, women are seen wearing head scarves and ankle colors, dresses decorated with Turkmenistan. Everyone from toddlers to aksakals (literally “white beards” revered elders) will welcome you warmly, with close to two hands and a slight nod.
Xenophobia is deeply rooted in high authority of Turkmenistan, a fact that independent travel contracts. Any person with a tourist visa is required to hire a guide, and despite the hopes of change, the situation remains the same in this post-Niyazov. While this may slow its independent spirit, is now the only way to fully experience the country. Despite this drawback, Turkmenistan offers numerous off-beat experiences, the night can be in a yurt, riding Akhal-Teke, or just disappear for a few days in the desert wilderness.