1. A Crossroads Between Central Asia and the Middle East
Turkmenistan is bordered by the Caspian Sea to the west, Kazakhstan to the northwest, Uzbekistan to the east, Iran to the south, and Afghanistan to the southeast. This strategic location has made Turkmenistan an important crossroads between Central Asia and the Middle East, with the Caspian Sea providing a vital link to the world's oceans.
2. A Country of Endless Desert
Turkmenistan is a country largely dominated by the Kara-Kum desert, which covers more than 80% of the country's landmass. This vast desert stretches across the uninhabited and remote regions of central and western Turkmenistan, making it one of the most isolated and sparsely populated countries in the world. Despite its harsh environment, the Kara-Kum desert is home to a variety of wildlife, including gazelles, wild boars, and foxes.
3. Turkmenistan's Amazing Canal Provides Water to Millions
Turkmenistan is home to one of the longest irrigation canals in the world - the Kara Kum Canal. Spanning over 1,100 km, the canal is an impressive feat of engineering, providing water to the Kara Kum desert and the Amu Darya river basin. It was constructed in the 1950s and is still in use today, supplying water to over 1.5 million hectares of land.
4. Mery, the ancient city of Turkmenistan
In 330BC, Alexander the Great founded the city of Alexandria in what is now Turkmenistan. The city was originally named Alexandria, but was later changed to Mery, a name that has been used for centuries. Located in the heart of the country, Mery is a major cultural and historical center, and is home to many ancient monuments and archaeological sites. It is also a popular tourist destination, offering visitors a unique insight into the history and culture of Turkmenistan.
5. Electricity and Gas Provided Free of Charge
In Turkmenistan, electricity and gas are provided free of charge, making it unnecessary for most people to switch off their stoves. This is a major benefit for the citizens of Turkmenistan, as it allows them to save money on their energy bills and use the extra funds for other necessities. Additionally, it helps to reduce the country's carbon footprint, as the stoves are not running constantly and wasting energy.
6. 400 Survivors of Mongol Attack on Turkmenistan's Mery
The city of Mery in Turkmenistan was once a thriving metropolis, but it was tragically destroyed by the Mongols in the 13th century. Of the thousands of people who lived there, only 400 managed to survive the onslaught. This devastating event left a lasting mark on the region, and the ruins of Mery still stand as a reminder of the destruction that can be wrought by war.
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7. Ashgabat's 133-meter flagpole is a popular tourist attraction
Turkmenistan's capital city, Ashgabat, is home to one of the world's tallest flagpoles, standing at an impressive 133 meters high. This impressive structure is a symbol of the country's national pride and is a popular tourist attraction. The flagpole is made of steel and is decorated with a large Turkmenistan flag, which is illuminated at night. It is located in the city's central square and is surrounded by a park and a fountain.
8. Kugitang Reserve: Home to world-famous dinosaur footprints
Turkmenistan is home to the world-famous Kugitang Reserve, which is renowned for its remarkable dinosaur footprints. These ancient prints are embedded into the rock plateau, providing a unique insight into the prehistoric era. The Kugitang Reserve is a must-see for any dinosaur enthusiast, offering a rare opportunity to explore the fossilized remains of these long-extinct creatures.
9. Akhal-Teke Horses of Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan is home to the Akhal-Teke, a breed of horse renowned for its beauty and speed. This breed is so important to the country that it is featured on the state emblem. The Akhal-Teke is known for its distinctive metallic sheen, long neck, and sloping back, and is considered one of the oldest and purest horse breeds in the world. It is also renowned for its speed and endurance, making it a popular choice for racing and long-distance riding.
10. Merv, the Ancient City of the Silk Route
Turkmenistan is home to the ancient oasis city of Merv, which was an incredibly important trading center along the Silk Route. This city was a major hub for merchants and travelers, who would come from all over the world to trade goods and exchange ideas. Merv was also a major cultural center, with many different religions and languages represented in its population. The city was destroyed in the 13th century, but its legacy lives on in the form of archaeological sites and monuments that still stand today.