Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

Ashgabat is the capital and largest city of Turkmenistan. Now it’s being actively reconstructed. Day by day it becomes more and more modern and beautiful. Let’s take a look at it.

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

Before the revolution, the city was half-Russian. But even now Russians make up a small part of its population.

Two events caused the city’s changing. The first one is a terrible earthquake happened in 1948 and destroyed almost the whole city. And the second one is the elections of the first president who brought marble buildings and gold palaces into fashion (forcibly). Now the city reminds of those which are located on some distant planets in the Star Wars.

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

Ashgabat is being built very quickly. This is the picture made last year…

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

And this one was made just lately. The tower is the monument to the constitution.

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

New avenues with the same type of massive buildings are actively built.

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

For some strange reason and to the disappointment of the citizens, community facilities decided to plant conifers (which aren’t peculiar to this type of climate and don’t provide much shade) instead of common plane trees (in fact, the only source of shade and a symbol of the city).

Some people though support this idea saying that it’s very practical because evergreen trees don’t take off leaves and litter streets.

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

Ministries compete in architecture.

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

And don’t think of shade either.

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

Though it’s really important, especially in summer.

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

That’s why there are such wonderful bus stops in the city, with automatic doors and air conditioners.

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

Speaking of transportation… The city purchased a new fleet of buses which go like clockwork.

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

A fare (20 tenges – it’s 2 rubles and about 0.13 dollars) is paid on leaving the bus. Money is put into the box near the driver’s place. Everything’s based on trust.

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

Taxi cars are also all new.

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

As well as police cars, most of which are Mercedeses. Note, that Turkmen policemen walk without weapons! Only billies. Crime rate is very low.

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

The city reminds of a small copy of the United Arab Emirates.

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

It’s a pity that it gradually approaches mountains which means that most probably they’ll soon become fubar.

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

A year ago it was possible to look at the city from this observation deck.

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

The view was awesome but due to security reasons the tower was demolished. Now it’s being restored on the city’s outskirts.

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

By the way, it’s not only houses which are decorated with marble.

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

But also pedestrian crossings, which are in fact used very rarely.

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

Now the city looks more like a huge construction site. As soon as a new area begins to be built, all old houses around are demolished so as not to spoil the view.

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

But they have their own charm, don’t they? The charm obscure to officials.

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

Is it possible to see such scenes in new areas? We guess, no.

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

A piece of Soviet architecture.

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

The poetics of marble and glass.

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

The output of the Soviet automobile industry looks quite appropriate in Ashgabat.

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

Green license plates are governmental. It means that it’s forbidden to use the car after 7 p.m.

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

This is the picture of the last year. Now an honor guard doesn’t stand here anymore.

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

The monument to those killed in World War II reminds of a heathen temple.

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

The largest flag in the world.

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

And the honor guard not far away from it. It’s forbidden to photograph its soldiers at a close distance.

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

The market of Ashgabat.

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

And this is what you can buy there. The rug depicting Yuri Gagarin.

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

Local people are very bright and photogenic.

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

Especially in groups.

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

Well, much has lately changed in Turkmenistan. In previous days, it was the only Muslim country where a woman was relatively free in terms of appearance: they could open their face and were allowed not to wear a niqab or a yashmak. Now it’s becoming more like all the other Muslim countries…

Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City

Location: Ashgabat

via samuraiskiy

25 thoughts on “Ashgabat: The New Life of the Old City”

  1. You wrote “In previous days, it was the only Muslim country where a woman was relatively free in terms of appearance: they could open their face and were allowed not to wear a niqab or a yashmak. Now it’s becoming more like all the other Muslim countries…”

    You are forgetting some muslim countries where women are free in terms of appareance..

  2. I’d also like to add my sympathies to the people who have to live there.It looks bling-ily nice, but from what I’ve read about the country, it’s not a particularly nice place.

  3. Wow! I never thought I would hear you guys using the slang term F>U>B>A>R. It was used correctly too. I won’t get into what it stands for, but I am actually impressed in the usage of it. Someone is getting really good at NorAm colloquialisms on your staff.

  4. Krasivyi i sovremennyi gorod. Rossiya dolzhna sledovat za etim primerom, vmesto togo, chtoby presledovat posle yes. Houp Putin delaet koe chto bystro.

  5. A. Bunka here. The pedestrian underground passage is one aspect of the city planning of Moscow which is outstanding. Even though they are rarely used in this city, as the population and traffic grow they will be used more, an excellent idea.

  6. Looking Ashgabat,i remember capitol of north Korea “pyongyang.where the front of all buildings are well maintained and painted but behind the front all back buildings are “rotten” and near collapse ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !RIP to all of citizens of “fake developed” countries ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

    • The wealth accumulated from the sale of gas is far from being fake, it’s quite real.

      FYI the country of just 5 mil people sits on 4th largest natural gas reserves.

      Can you name another country where the drivers get 120 litres of petrol each month free of charge?

  7. The captions are a pile of horse manure. It seems they were written by an envious Russian who cannot live with the idea of Turkmenistan being better off without Russian colonial rule.
    BTW, the Turks above are, of course, right. You do not see niquab or yashmak e.g. in Tunisia, too.

  8. The whole world is turning muslim and fanatic. 500 years of progress trashed. Good bye human rights. I understand the oil addicted USA going along with it, but why is Russia letting them conquer the planet?

  9. are you clowns really this propagandized? read about the freedom in turkmenistan: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saparmurat_Niyazov http://oilprice.com/Geo-Politics/Asia/Oil-Gas-and-Poverty-What-does-Turkmenistan-Really-Have-to-Offer-Tourists.html

    • Thanks for those links, Joe. The Niyazov article was quite interesting. The guy banned lip-synching? LOL, even the crazies get it right some time; if he were to have banned Auto-Tune, he would be my hero! (OK, Maybe not hero…)

  10. Lovely city and I guess beautiful people.
    This again proves that countries coming out of Russian empire are not only wealthy, but they can not be poor, when wealth and everything was looted in the name communism.
    Now the most important thing being not part of Russia is crime is low and trust of the peoples.
    You cant keep the box any where and expect people to put money based on the trust.
    If the same box system used in India or Moscow at the end of trip the box will be either empty or you will find few rubble from very few honest people.
    Thanks for the post.

  11. Striking photographs, but something is missing here. It’s sterile. The streets are deserted, few, if any cars are shown. Where are the people? Other than the honor guards and several people near the end of this presentation, there are no people to be seen.

  12. Is there internet at affordable price? what about the currency and exchange rates. I heard there is a lot of difference between bank rate and in market. grateful for advice

  13. Is there internet at affordable price? what about the currency and exchange rates. I heard there is a lot of difference between bank rate and in market. grateful for advice

  14. The city is very lovely and amazing, especially at nights with all those buildings light up the whole city. Respectful and honest people, good looking..
    It really worth going there and seeing the lifestyle. The buildings are beautiful and they are not rotten inside. They are being cleaned and maintained regularly. Now it is changed to new money which is around 2.7 manat for 1 USD. Old money had differences from market to bank. Now there is no difference, you can exchange money in some other countries as well.

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