Destination Guide Ashgabat Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan-the country

Turkmenistan is located in Central Asia and it is roughly the size of Thailand with only 5 million people. The country has a rich history which demands to be experienced firsthand. Luckily, Turkmenistan Airlines connects major cities in Europe and Asia to the capital Ashgabat. You can design an affordable round trip through Turkmenistan Airlines with still some budget left to enjoy the city of Ashgabat.

When planning a trip to Turkmenistan, formerly known as the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic during the USSR, Ashgabat is the place to go. The most interesting and yet unique city is no doubt the capital of Turkmenistan. Filled with huge white marble and concrete structures and hardly any people in the streets, Ashgabat holds innate charm for tourists from all over the world.

Travel Information

Ashgabat is the ideal city to visit in Turkmenistan because you can only see Ashgabat with a transit visa. In order to go outside towards other cities, you need to obtain a visa through a letter of invitation (LOI) from the tourist agency. Moreover, you will need to hire a tour guide to travel outside Ashgabat. Do not despair because we have a list of interesting places to see and things to do in Ashgabat.

Hotels Closest to the Airport

Ashgabat International Airport is one of five international airports in Turkmenistan. It is located approximately 10 km northwest of the capital Ashgabat. You can travel directly to Ashgabat by booking a flight with the Turkmenistan Airlines. Once you have landed and collected your baggage, hire a taxi to take you to the closest hotel in Ashgabat. The Ak Altyn Hotel and the Lachin Hotel are about 4 km away from the airport. If you want to experience ultimate luxury, you can stay at the Grand Turkmen Hotel located 5 km away from the airport or the Yyldyz Hotel located a bit further, 13 kms away.

Historical Places to Visit

To learn more about a new city, always start with the historic places. The Monument Arch of Neutrality is located in Ashgabat. The three-legged arch, which is locally known as "The Tripod", is 75 meters tall. It was built in 1998 on the orders of Turkmenistan's President Saparmurat Niyazov to commemorate the country's official position of neutrality. You can also visit the Turkmenistan Independence Monument. Its design was inspired by traditional Turkmen tents and the traditional headgear worn by Turkmen girls. The monument was built to commemorate the independence of Turkmenistan on 27th October 1991.

Famous Mosques to Visit

Ashgabat is home to many famous places of worship for the Muslims. Among them is the Gypjak mosque, the Geok Depe Mosque, the Kipchak Mosque and the Ertugrul Gazi Mosque. Most famous is the Ertugrul Gazi Mosque because of the historical connection to the great soldier and also because it is designed similar to the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.

Museums and Unique Buildings

The Turkmen carpet museum is home to the second largest hand woven carpet in the world. Apart from this, beautiful Turkmen carpets dating back to the medieval era are displayed and attract locals as well as foreigners alike. Modern carpet designs are equally popular and reflect the rich history of Turkmenistan.

Another unique attraction is the Wedding Palace. It is a civil registry where couples come to get married with wedding halls in the same building as well. The lower floors of the white and gold structure are star-shaped and stacked in a staggered fashion so that their points don't overlap. Atop the initial floors is a huge globe that features gold maps of Turkmenistan. The oversized disco ball at the top is enclosed by a frame of eight-sided Turkmen stars. It is all white splendor in the day and colorfully lit up at nighttime.  

Places to Shop

Tolkuchka Bazar and the Russian Bazar are the ideal places to shop for local, handmade crafts. You can easily find a reasonably priced Turkmen rug at the Tolkuchka Bazar. The Berkarar grand shopping mall attracts a large number of locals as well as tourists. All the top brands’ shops and also food joints can be found at Berkarar. A famous farmers market is the Teke Bazaar offering organic produce from local farms. Turkmenistan is rich in agriculture and it would be a shame not to have a taste of the local crop.

Interesting Outdoor Attractions

Located 18 km to the southwest of Ashgabat is the Parthian Settlement of Nisa.  Nisa was the capital of the Parthian Empire, which dominated this region of central Asia from the mid 3rd century BC to 3rd century AD. Archaeological excavations in two parts of the site have revealed richly decorated architecture, illustrative of domestic, state and religious functions.

It is a challenge to find a spot for swimming in Turkmenistan with 80% of the land being desert. However, the 235 foot long Kow Ata Underground Lake is the closest and most ideal location for a swim in Ashgabat. It can be accessed through the Bakharden Cave with a metal staircase taking you underground. The lake is famous among tourists for the healing properties due to high sulphur content. It is the closest thing to a thermal bath in Ashgabat.

Food in Ashgabat

The Merdem Restaurant and the Asuda Nusay are the best options if you want to try local Turkmen food. They have an interesting flavorful menu which appeals to Europeans as well. If you are looking for familiar dishes, the Ammar Kafe is famous for European and Asian cuisine in Ashgabat. Lots of local cafes for tea and lunch can also be found. Most notable is Sha Coffee attracting scores of tourists.

Ashgabat in the summer

The best time to plan a tour of Ashgabat is in the summer months preferably between March and June. The overall weather is pleasant both during the days and nights. Attractive packages have been designed by the Turkmenistan Airlines for Europe and Asia. We are here to serve you to the best of our abilities! Please book your Turkmenistan Airlines flights online at www.flyturkmenistanairlines.eu.