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.
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.
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.