Ashgabat is the capital of Turkmenistan and the biggest city of Turkmenistan. The population of Turkmenistan is estimated to be about 1 million as for 2009. Built only in 1881 and completely destroyed by a terrible earthquake in 1948, the city now is one of the most beautiful cities of Central Asia. The city was called in different ways in different times. For instance, it was called as “Poltoratsk” between 1919–1927 and Ashhabad later on but locals used to call as Ashgabat. After independence the city resumed its original name Ashgabat which means the city of love. The word Ashgabat consists of two independent words Ashg and Abad. The first meaning love and the second word a place inhabited by people. There are many places to visit in Ashgabat while you are in Turkmenistan.
Sights of Ashgabat
Carpet Museum is one of the centerpieces of Ashgabat. Carpet Museum is the only facility of its kind in the world. Here you can find hundreds of the best examples of rugs of all time, the oldest of which belongs to the XVII century. And here is the biggest carpet in the world, area of which is about 400 square meters and weight - more than one ton. Here you can find other decorative items made of wool and compiled from different areas of Turkmenistan. We do recommend visiting this museum during your tour to Central Asia.
Sunday Bazaar is another sightseeing spot in Ashgabat which is must visit place in Ashgabat. East is east, so no surprise that the main center of attraction for tourists is the huge Sunday market "Tolkuchka", which is famous for a variety of their products and bright Turkmen traditions. It stretches for several miles along the desert outskirts of the city, the bazaar is attracting attention in the first place for the possibility of buying the traditional Turkmen carpets, which are dumped here for sale across the country. This is the biggest market in Turkmenistan and you can buy here almost everything: food, clothes, jewelry, sheep, camels, modern cars and many more.
If you want to visit Sunday Bazaar while your tour to Turkmenistan, please, make sure that it is open on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. The best day to visit Sunday Bazaar in Ashgabat is indisputably Sunday.
Nissa is a unique monument of the Parthian country
which existed from the III century BC till the III century. The
ruins of the ancient city of Nissa are situated on the outskirts
of the village of Bagir, 18 km far from Ashgabat. The historic
complex includes two monuments - Old and New Nissa.
In antiquity old Nissa was called as Mitridarkert, for tourists it is of particular interest. Here are the palaces and temples, where were held celebrations in honor of deified representatives of the dynasty of Arsakid. Nissa is a rectangular fortress with 43 rectangular towers for additional strength. There was a bastion with area of 14 hectares and walls of the fortress were 9 meters in height. The northern and southern architectural complexes were located inside the Nissa. Northern part of the complex no longer exists. In the northern part of inner Nissa there were a treasury and wine warehouses.
Southern part of inner Nissa preserved till present and
it is of special interest to tourists and archaeologists. The
large tower structure delights with its laid adobe brickwork.
The tower is the only two story building, which towered over the
neighborhood. The ruins of the huge columns and walls of
southern complex are 2-3 m in height and the famous "Round Hall"
with diameter of 17m, both of which are the second preserved
Rufus ancient historian writes that in 329 BC Alexander the
Great of Macedon stopped in Nissa along with his army. He
ordered to collect all his things and things of his army, which
covered them and made it impossible to move forward. He raised
the first torch to his things and all burned.
In Central Asia there is no analogue of Old Nissa as the architecture of this city is unique. It was built by architects and builders who learned the style of western masters, because there are harmoniously blended architectural traditions of ancient Greece, Rome and the East.
New Nissa is a settlement that housed the local aristocrats. The city was surrounded by many acres of flowering gardens. After the fall of the dynasty Arshakids, life here went on for many centuries, in contrast to the Old Nissa. But there was a time when the city was deserted for more than two centuries when it was destroyed by the Sassanids. In the second half of V century Sassanian king Firuz praised convenient location of Nissa and decided to rebuild the city. Later Nissa was a part of the Arab Caliphate in 651. In 1220 the Mongols attacked Nissa and destroyed it, as well as other large cities of Central Asia.
Turkmenistan is the homeland of the world famous Akhal-Teke horses and horse riding is very popular. Since ancient times, popularity of horse racing in Turkmenistan is rising and interest in it is increasing day bay day.
The Horse Breeding Complex and Hippodrome of Ashgabat has been constructed for the continuation of generation of the world famous Akhal-Teke Turkmen breed and to raise healthy, better trained horses.
Hippodrome of Ashgabat is designed to shelter 300 horses and there are two built in ring shaped race tracks for Turkmen breed. In addition, for better monitoring of races in the hippodrome grandstand was built supposed for 5,000 spectators. The hippodrome of Ashgabat is equipped with a hospital for horses, the laboratory where horses can undergo surgery or DNA testing for purebred analysis, horse training pool, quarantine building, doping control building and saddling section.
Horse racings in The Hippodrome of Ashgabat are held two terms a year and it is in spring and autumn. In case you would like to attend Akhal Teke horse racing in during your tour to Turkmenistan, please, note that usually horse racing is organized on Sundays. Spring term is closed on last Sunday of April and it is considered as a holiday of Turkmen Racer. The Grand Prix of spring term will be played on the last Sunday of April.
Monument of Independence
The design of the Monument of Independence was inspired by traditional Turkmen tents and the traditional headgear worn by Turkmen girls. Elements of the Monument of Independence commemorate the independence date of Turkmenistan, 27 October 1991. These elements include a 91-meter reinforced concrete tower with a 27-meter high golden gilt steel construction on top of the tower, along with an observation terrace with a diameter of 10 meters. Within the Monument of Independence, there are exhibition halls where important works of art representing Turkmenistan history are displayed. The Monument of Independence sits on a total area of 84.500 m2, surrounded by green landscaping that encompasses a cascaded pool and the statues of 27 historical heroes of the Turkmens that guided Turkmenistan history.
The Mosque Ertugrul Gazi is the gift to fraternal people of Turkmenistan from Turkey. Ertugrul Gazi Mosque is similar to the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. The construction is distinguished by its originality. Doors decorated with 6 faces ornaments are masterpiece of modern wood carving. No nail is used and they are created by professional masters of Turkey. Gilded words of the Koran were written by hand. In the mosque, which is considered the home of God, the first floor is for male audience, and the second for women. In the hall of Ertugral Gaiz Mosque 5000 people can pray at the same time. The mosque has four minarets, each of which height 62.22meters. While constructing the domes and roofs of the mosque 160 tons of lead was used.
National Museum of Turkmenistan
The National Museum of Turkmenistn is located in the south of the country’s capital, on Archabil street. National Museum was built after independence of Turkmenistan and under the initiative of first President of Turkmenistan, Saparmurat Turkmenbashi. On 5th January of 1998 Saparmurat Turkmenbashi signed a resolution enabling to quit the activity of National Museum of History & Ethnography of Turkmenistan and Turkmen State Museum of Fine Arts. At the same resolution it was ordered to build a National Museum of Turkmenistan in order to create a better condition for preserving archaeological, architectural, cultural and other historical items.
National Museum of Turkmenistan is rich in historical and archaeological finds indicating the antiquity of the history of Turkmenistan. The museum consists of several halls - historical, natural, artistic and etc. It provides valuable exhibits belonging to era of the Parthian, Margiana, Jeytun cultures of the Bronze Age, the era of Seljuk, Khorezm, the Middle Ages. Furthermore it provides art exhibits such as sculpture, painting, jewelry, stuffed animals, models and one of the largest meteorites fell to Earth in the 20th century. Total number of exhibits of National Museum of Turkmenistan is more than 2,500 exhibits.
Spiritual Mosques of Turkmenbashi
The mosque was built in 2004 by the initiative of Saparmurat Turkmenbashy. Spiritual Mosque is used as a mosque and mausoleum of the family of Saparmurat Turkmenbashi.
As it is common in Ashgabat this construction was also built of white marble and the inscriptions are gilding. In the mosque simultaneously 7000 males and 3000 females can pray.
On the portal of entrance to the mosque you can see inscription: "Sacred Mosque of Turkmenbashi. Quran - God's book. Ruhnama - the holy book". This mosque is unusual in a way that its walls are decorated with not only the quotations of the Quran, but also patriotic instruction of the book of the Turkmen president "Rukhnama", as well as with quotations from his poetry collection "God bless you my people."
The construction of
Spirutal Mosque of Turkmenbashi cost more than $ 115 million.
The Monument of Neutrality
The Monument of Neutrality is biggest landmark in Ashgabat and it can be seen from any point of Ashgabat. The Monument of Neutrality commemorates the country's official position of neutrality.
The Monument of Neutrality was built in 1998 on three pedestals, standing 75 meters tall. It encompasses a restaurant and observation terraces. The first floor of the monument is accessible via elevators that ascend diagonally from two pedestals and a panoramic elevator is used to access the second floor. A gold gilded bronze statue of the Saparmurat Turkmenbashi, has been placed on the top of the monument. The statue itself completes one 3600 rotation in a 24-hour period and can be observed from essentially every location in the city. As an annex to this building, an earthquake museum has been built in the memory of those who died in 1948 during the Ashgabat Earthquake. A 38-ton symbolic bronze statue is also placed on top of the museum building.
In January of 2010 present President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanbuli Berdimuhammedov, signed a resolution to demolish gilded statue on the top of the Monument of Neutrality and move the monument to Southern part of Ashgabat.