20 White Marble Turkmenistan

White Marble Turkmenistan

Posted on May 23, 2011 by team


Turkmenistan is one of the most colorful and at the same time closed to prying eyes country of the former USSR. Today we’ll visit its capital and see themselves what a beautiful city it is and how people live there.

Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan, at night.

The first impression – it is a city of lit buildings, fountains and monuments to Turkmenbashi.

The same street in daylight.

Turkmenbashi (“the father of the Turkmen”) is the official title of the former president, Saparmurat Niyazov. Until recently, the main attraction of the city was his golden statue on a huge tripod.

All together it was called the Neutrality Arch. Turkmenistan is the world’s second (after Switzerland) country which declared neutrality an overriding principle of its foreign policy.

Turkmenbashi always said he never liked such a great quantity of his portraits and statues in the city… So the new president began to gradually get rid of them. The arch was admitted “not suitable for the concept of urban development” and the whole thing is now being dismantled.

The monument to the terrible earthquake of 1948, which completely destroyed the city, is on the left.

The bull symbolizes the power of the earth, the people on the ball are the victims of the earthquake, and a small child is Turkmenbashi who lost his mother and two brothers in this tragedy. Since that time he became an orphan – his father had died during the war in the Caucasus in 1943.

The Independence Monument.

The monument to the Ruhnama – the holy book, written by Turkmenbashi.

All Turkmen study the Ruhnama at school and must know it by heart. It describes the history of the Turkmen, biography of the great President and basic precepts and moral principles. Now this whole area is under construction and fenced, but before there was a certain hour when, with the help of modern multimedia technologies, the book was opened and the pages came to life.

This map depicts the countries in the languages of which the Ruhnama was translated.

The fountain dedicated to Oguz Khan, the founder of the Hun Empire (according to the Ruhnama).

This fountain complex entered the Guinness Book of Records in 2010 as a facility combining the greatest number of fountains in a public place.

Around Oguz are his six sons who were the founders of the first generations, later dispersed all over the territory of modern Eurasia.

An interesting detail on the arm of one of the sons.

Actually, the eagle on the Turkmen coat of arms is not two but five-headed. So it’s obviously wiser than its Russian relative.

Their heads are five provinces, into which Turkmenistan is divided. The emblem depicts a stallion, which now replaces the portraits of Turkmenbashi on the facades of public institutions.

But still there are a lot of his monuments, portraits and bas-reliefs on the streets of Turkmenistan. People remember his good deeds and honor his memory.

Police Academy.

The Olympic Complex.

The Ministry of Health.

The Drama Theater.

Even the city of Krasnovodsk was renamed Turkmenbashi.

The portraits of the old president is gradually replaced by those of the new one.

New Medical University (the current president’s former profession is a doctor).

Previous Turkmenbashi believed that to have hospitals across the country is a luxury, and closed all of them, except for those located in the capital. So if people need treatment, they will arrive in Ashgabat and on their way to hospital see all its splendor.

But with all this we can’t say that Turkmenbashi did not care about the health of the nation. He built the so-called “Path of Health”, the 20 km trekking route along the ridges of the Kopetdag mountains, which should be regularly passed by every Turkmen to stay healthy.

Actually, during his reign there were a lot of innovations. For example, all months of the year were renamed: January became “Turkmenbashi”, some other months were named in honor of his mother, father, etc. It was also forbidden to have gold teeth, as it’s no good to flaunt your wealth, and everybody should live modestly.

A unique shot – the old president looks at the new one.

The screens on the central squares tell about the achievements of the Turkmen neutral state.

Patriotic posters.

Local advertising.

Traffic lights and lanterns with ornaments.

The road police drives new Mercedes cars.

After 10 p.m. there are almost no cars on the roads. That’s how the suburbs look at this time.

And the city center.

There are very few people on the streets. They are mainly schoolchildren, students, military men and middle-aged women.

One of the three “gates” of the city.

Another golden statue in the middle.

The “northern” gate.

The city is full of new marble buildings. All of them are very well lit.

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20 Responses to “White Marble Turkmenistan”

  1. DouglasUrantia says:

    Beautiful buildings and monuments…..surrounded by grinding poverty.

  2. testicules says:

    Pretty awesome looking place. I didn’t see many recreation spots though

  3. Fonte says:

    I notice a lack of Cyrillic alphabet. Did they switch to the Latin alphabet to be more like Turkey? :)

  4. EnglishBob says:

    Trying to make an impression of improvement to the outside world but the old problems still surround the city. Shame.
    As for flag poles, I used to live in the Finnish city with what was once Europe’s largest flag pole but now only Finland’s.

  5. Otis R. Needleman says:

    WTF? No hospitals anywhere but the capital? Utter idiocy.

  6. Musa says:

    The roads are so nice in Turmenistan even the camels prefer to use them. I’m impressed.

  7. OLUT says:

    The city looks like if Las Vegas had been built by the Soviets.

  8. marxistworker says:

    Cult of personality= Stalinist.

  9. Henry says:

    Thanks for the fascinating pictures.

  10. (r)evolutionist says:

    That megalomaniac was mentally ill. If his people worship him and his book of idiocy, then I guess people will worship anything.

  11. TheGenuineDon says:

    “People remember his good deeds and honor his memory.” Utterly false! the Turkmen people enormously suffered under this megalomaniac fool! But they were scared of him!

  12. hugoacrocco@gmail.com says:

    damn look wonderfull, looks a nice place to go on vacations!

  13. Akasha says:

    A few weeks ago I saw an interview with a german journalist who’s living and working in moscow.
    She said she once took a taxi and the taxi driver was from turkmenistan; he came to moscow every few months to work there because he could’nt find a job at home. As soon as he’d have enough money saved, he would return to his wife and 4 children for some time.

    He was a heart surgeon.

  14. Bobek says:

    I smell gas

  15. vla says:

    seems how turkmenistan is in prosperity age.. well,”local adv. BEKO ” is serbian tycoon company not turkmenistan

  16. YJ says:

    Looks like North Korea with money without embargo from the west.

  17. tommo says:

    One of the photos of the patriotic war monument is from treptower park in Berlin.

  18. tolga says:

    where are all the people? All the cities in the pictures seem they have been abondoned.
    No soul, no sign of life.

  19. leo says:

    may i have your purchasing managers?

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