Turkmenistan, a country in Central Asia that was formerly a part of the Soviet Union, is a land characterized by its dual persona. While there are lavish places and magnificent modern structures in the capital, Turkmenistan also has a deep sense of mysticism and legend, rooted in its collection of ruins and storied history.
Turkmenistan’s ancient cities evoke visions of a time when nomads traveled on caravans through its streets. The country’s natural wonders are sights to behold, it being home to several unique attractions. The Turkmen, just a few generations removed from nomadic lifestyles, are known for their warm hospitality, stretching back from the glory days of the Silk Road.
Eighty-five percent of the country’s population is made up of native Turkmen, with the rest composed mostly of other Central Asian ethnicities such as Uzbek and Russian. As for religion, 89% are Sunni Muslims, with only 9% following the Eastern Orthodox Church.
If you plan to speak the language, you could try learning Turkmen, which is spoken by 72% of the country. Russian is spoken by 12% of the population, and is used mostly for inter-ethnic communication with people from other Central Asian countries.
In case you’re bringing along electrical devices, know that the country’s electricity runs on 220V (50 HZ). Turkmen plug types are either of the double flat blade type or the double round pin type.
If you are going to Turkmenistan with a tourist visa, you will be required to hire a tourist guide to accompany you in your travels. While some may view this as an inconvenience, you would soon see that having a tour guide will only make you appreciate the country more as the guide takes you to even the hardest-to-find places.
If you want to visit a country that is a fusion of the ancient and the modern, Turkmenistan may be just the place for you. Visiting there will not only help you appreciate its rich past, but also be amazed at the developments a country can make if it sets its sights on improving itself.