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 Turkmenistan is unspoiled nature, outstanding heritage, extraordinary people, fascinating arts and crafts, unforgettable adventure. It is the last frontier, until recently the very outpost of the old Soviet Empire. The country is mostly covered by the large, empty and very hot Kara Kum or Black Sands desert, which for centuries has been Turkmenistan’s best defensive weapon, successfully repelling outsiders, adventurers and armies.

  The country is home to about 4 and a half million Turkomen, who trace their descent from nomadic tribes living in the Altai Mountains above Mongolia in the 5th century AD. By the 15th century the Turkomen had settled in the area that is now Turkmenistan. A warm and friendly people, some of the most appealing in Central Asia, the Turkomen dress in their traditional clothes with huge sheepskin hats, long coats and boots and true to their nomadic traditions are excellent horsemen. Turkmenistan is known for its wonderful Akhal Teke horses, the ancestor of the Arabian racehorse.

  The country is also famous for its carpets, known as Bukhara carpets, because for centuries they were traded in Bukhara in Uzbekistan.

  A visit to Turkmenistan will be a journey into a rich and colourful past, still totally untouched by tourism where no one is considered a stranger but a friend that has not yet been met.

  Supporting a population of 4.5 million people, Turkmenistan borders Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Iran and Afghanistan. Main religion is Islam; Official language is Turkmen yet Russian forms a common language of all groups. Turkmenistan is the fourth largest natural gas producer in the world; there is also a huge capacity of petroleum extraction. Turkmenistan is one of the major producers of the best quality cotton.

  Climate is continental but winters are short and not really cold (0-10 C) summers are dry and hot (up to +49 C). The latitudinal position of the territory of Turkmenistan is in the zone of non-tropical deserts, making the country rather vulnerable to climate changes. The best times to visit are April, May and early June and again September and October. The hottest days are July and 20 August and during this time temperatures can reach 32 degrees centigrade in Ashgabat, but the evenings cool down considerably.

Aliases: The Republic of Turkmenistan, Turkmenistan Republic

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