From Belgium I flew with Turkish Airlines to Istanbul and from there to Ashgabat. When arriving in Istanbul I had less than an hour to switch planes and I directly saw Turkmen women with their typical colorful Turkmen clothes and knew it right away that I was at the right terminal ready to go to Turkmenistan !
Welcome to Ashgabat !
What brought me to this city ? I wanted to visit “TheStans” which are 5 former USSR republics all ending on “Stan” Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Tadjikistan-Kazachstan-Kyrgyzstan. I visited the first 3 Stans and started in Ashgabat.
The Capital of Turkmenistan is the whitest looking city in the world, it’s the pearl of Asia and as a pearl it should be white, the cleanest city I have ever seen.
Driving in the city center pass many impressive building, all building look like palaces, the universities, banks, the library, the government building, museums, it’s just incredible.
The many crazy looking monuments in the city like the wedding center or the Arch of Neutrality, the big indoor ferris wheel, they are just art, never seen buildings with this kind of architecture anywhere else in the world.
The thing that strikes me the most is that they are all of white marble and that’s why this city is the city with the most white-marble buildings in the world and it urned itself a spot for that matter in the Guinness book of world records.
The city really looks amazing beautiful at night, so I did a night tour and believe me this is 10 times better and bigger than Las Vegas, more lights and no annoying noises coming from the slot machines. Similar to Vegas is the fact that it’s also a city in the middle of the desert. 80% of the country’s surface is desert. (Karakum desert)
Ashgabat city white marble palaces
Ruhnama is a book written by the first president of Turkmenistan Niyazov. It’s a guide about how a Turkmen should live his life.
In the near area of the capital I visited some other places like the old city of Nisa the nearby Kipchak mosque (the largest mosque in Central Asia) and the Shrine of Seyit Jamal that collapsed by an earthquake long time ago, it’s a ruin and a Unesco site.
Maybe one day they will restore it completely but now Turkmenistan’s money goes to other projects, more modern buildings in Ashgabat and an Olympic city for the Asian games that Ashgabat is hosting in 2017.