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  • Day4


    July 29, 2019 in Turkmenistan ⋅ ⛅ 32 °C

    Unusual city that is the capital of Turkmenistan. Basically, everything is white, even cars in the city are required to be white. There is no main square where people might go to congregate, just a place for military parades. The buildings are all marble. Virtually all monuments have a statue of the first president. We saw very few people and almost no cars on the road. The first word that came to my mind to describe this place is sterile.
    The first pic is the largest mosque in central Asia, named for the first president. All the wall engravings are in Turkish, not Arabic, and are from the former President's book, not the Koran, both extremely unusual in Islam. Next is the memorial to WW2. Then the world's largest indoor Ferris wheel (really). The next three are memorials:. To the Constitution, to neutrality and to Independence. All around the tower in the last one are statues of people famous in Turkmen history.
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  • Day35


    September 25, 2018 in Turkmenistan ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Saparmurat Atayevich Niyazov (Turkmen: Saparmyrat Ataýewiç Nyýazow, Cyrillic: Сапармырат Атайевич Ныязов); 19 February 1940 – 21 December 2006) was a Turkmen politician who served as the leader of Turkmenistan from 1985 until his death in 2006. He was First Secretary of the Turkmen Communist Party from 1985 until 1991 and supported the 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt. He continued to lead Turkmenistan for 15 years after independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

    Turkmen media referred to him using the title "His Excellency Saparmurat Türkmenbaşy, President of Turkmenistan and Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers". His self-given title Türkmenbaşy, meaning Head of the Turkmen, referred to his position as the founder and president of the Association of Turkmens of the World. In 1999, the Assembly of Turkmenistan declared Niyazov President for Life of Turkmenistan.

    In his time, he was one of the world's most totalitarian, despotic and repressive dictators. He imposed his personal eccentricities upon the country, such as renaming Turkmen months and days of the week to references of his autobiography the Ruhnama. He made it mandatory to read the Ruhnama in schools, universities and governmental organizations, new governmental employees were tested on the book at job interviews and an exam on its teachings was a part of the driving test in Turkmenistan. In 2005, he closed down all rural libraries and hospitals outside of the capital city Ashgabat, in a country where at that time more than half the population lived in rural areas, once stating that, "If people are ill, they can come to Ashgabat." Under his rule, Turkmenistan had the lowest life expectancy in Central Asia. Global Witness, a London-based human rights organisation, reported that money under Niyazov's control and held overseas may be in excess of US$3 billion, of which between $1.8–$2.6 billion was allegedly situated in the Foreign Exchange Reserve Fund at Deutsche Bank in Germany

    Niyazov was born on 19 February 1940 in Gypjak (or Kipchak), just outside Ashgabat in the Turkmen SSR. He was a member of the influential Tekke tribe.[8] According to the official version of his biography, his father Atamyrat Niyazov died in World War II fighting against Nazi Germany, while other sources contend that he dodged fighting and was therefore sentenced by a military court. The other members of his family were killed in the 1948 Ashgabat earthquake that caused extreme damage and a high number of casualties in the city. His mother Gurbansoltan Eje was part of the cult of personality later. He grew up in a Soviet orphanage before the state put him in the custody of a distant relative.[citation needed]

    After finishing school in 1959, he worked as an instructor in the Turkmen trade-union exploratory committee. He then studied at the Leningrad Polytechnic Institute, where in 1967 he received a diploma as an electrical engineer. After graduating, he went to study in Russia, but was expelled a few years later for academic failure.

    In 1962 Niyazov started his political career, becoming a member of the Communist Party. He quickly rose through the ranks, becoming First Secretary of the Ashgabat City Committee,[9] and First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Turkmen SSR in 1985. He gained this post after Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev had removed his predecessor, Muhammetnazar Gapurov, following a cotton-related scandal. Under Niyazov, the Turkmen Communist Party had a reputation as one of the most hardline and unreformed party organizations in the Soviet Union. On January 13, 1990, Niyazov became Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Turkmen SSR, the supreme legislative body in the republic. The post was equivalent to that of president.

    Niyazov supported the Soviet coup attempt of 1991.[10] However, after the coup collapsed, he set about separating Turkmenistan from the dying Soviet Union. The Turkmen Supreme Soviet declared Turkmenistan independent and appointed Niyazov as the country's first president on October 27, 1991. On June 21, 1992 the Turkmenistani presidential election of 1992 saw Niyazov - the sole candidate - chosen as the country's first popularly elected president. A year later he declared himself Türkmenbaşy - "Leader of all Turkmen".

    In 1994 a plebiscite extended Niyazov's term to 2002 so he could oversee a 10-year development plan. The official results showed that 99.9% of voters approved this proposal. On December 28, 1999, Parliament declared Niyazov President for Life; parliamentary elections had been held a few weeks earlier for which the president had hand-picked all candidates.

    Niyazov and his Russian-Jewish wife, Muza, had a son (Murat) and a daughter (Irina).

    Niyazov became president at the transition of Turkmenistan from a Soviet republic to an independent state. His presidency was characterised by an initial crumbling of the centralised Soviet model that in many respects was unsuited to function as a separate entity; also, there were large amounts of foreign income from gas and petroleum reserves (approximately $2–4 billion as of 2005). There was outside concern about press freedom and to a lesser extent religious rights of minority religious groups. Niyazov made a personal attempt to create a cultural background for the new state of Turkmenistan by writing and promoting the Ruhnama, an autobiography meant to guide the people of Turkmenistan with his ideas and promote native culture (and by extension prohibiting foreign culture). He also took part in creating new holidays with a specific Turkmen nature and introduced a new Latin-based Turkmen alphabet to replace Russian Cyrillic. The Latin Turkmen alphabet consists of: Aa, Bb, Çç, Dd, Ee, Ää, Ff, Gg, Hh, Ii, Jj, Žž, Kk, Ll, Mm, Nn, Ňň, Oo, Öö, Pp, Rr, Ss, Şş, Tt, Uu, Üü, Ww, Yy, Ýý, Zz.[11]

    The golden statue of Niyazov atop the Neutrality Monument in Ashgabat that always rotated to face the sun

    Niyazov became a substitute for the vacuum left by the downfall of the communist system, with his image replacing those of Marx and Lenin. He renamed the town of Krasnovodsk "Turkmenbashi" after himself, and renamed schools, airports and even a meteorite after himself and members of his family. His many, sometimes erratic decrees, and the doting actions of the official Turkmen media gave rise to the clear appearance of a cult of personality. In Ashgabat, he erected a rotating, $12 million, golden statue of himself that always faces the sun.[12] The eccentric nature of some of his decrees, and the vast number of images of the president led to the perception, especially in western countries, of a despotic leader, rich on oil wealth glorifying himself whilst the population gained no benefit.

    Despite emphasising a need to move from central planning to a market economy and to a full democracy during his reign, neither plan progressed. Yearly plans set forth by the government and a centralised economy gave little indication of moving away from state-dominated economics, and the dictatorial nature of many of his decrees and his declaring himself "President for Life" gave little hope as to much progress in these two areas.
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  • Day140

    Ashgabat, Basar

    September 23, 2018 in Turkmenistan ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    Der größte Bazar von Ashgabat liegt 20 min (Auto) außerhalb der Stadt.

    Der Bazar ist anders als wir erwartet haben. Neue große Hallen, alles sehr sauber und geordnet. Eher wie ein Grossmarkt.

    Wir wollten nach den typischen Kleidern der Frauen Ausschau halten, aber die gibt es hier gar nicht. Nur die einzelnenTeile. Sehr schöne Stickereien.
    Fotografieren ist leider nicht erlaubt.

    Dann haben einen Stand mit schönen Umhängen gesehen. Als wir dir alten Frau am Stand etwas fragen wollten, kam eine junge Frau und sprach und auf perfektem Englisch an, ob Sie uns helfen könnte.
    Wie sich herausstellte, handelte es sich bei den Umhängen um Hochzeitsgewänder. Die junge Frau heiratete nächsten Monat und wir wären Recht herzlich Eingeladen. Leider sind wir dann schon weit weg. Sie stellte uns noch ihre Mutter und Großmutter vor und schickte uns eine Tischdecke aus dem gleichen Stoff wie Ihr Hochzeitskleid.

    Wieder so eine wunderbare Begegnung.

    Dann ging es über den Tiermarkt.
    Schafe,Ziegen,Kamele,Kühe und noch mehr.

    Es tut schon weh, wenn man in die Augen der Tiere schaut.
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  • Day145

    Turkmenistan, Ashgabat

    September 23, 2018 in Turkmenistan ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    Die Stadtführung war seltsam. Erst fuhren wir zu einem Bazar ausserhalb, dort waren viele Menschen. Dann zur Moschee die der erste Präsident bauen lies - zur Erinnerung an seine Mutter, die an dieser Stelle bei einem Erdbeben ums Leben kam. Danach begann die eigentliche Führung - durch eine Geisterstadt. Keine Menschen auf den Strassen, niemand in den Parks. Dutzende Springbrunnen die plätschern, an fast jeder Ecke grosse Bildschirme mit Propaganda und Präsidentenwerbung.Read more

  • Day6

    Stud farm near Ashgabat

    July 31, 2019 in Turkmenistan ⋅ ☀️ 40 °C

    Breeder of Akal teke horses, said to be one of the oldest breeds. First are you here pics of the horses, both beautiful and very valuable. Last is the owner of the farm in traditional dress.

    Dunbar Burdt

    Beautiful horse, very different look compared to the horses seen in the US.

    skip's retirement travel

    They always have their heads held high like that, more than I remember seeing.

  • Day34


    September 24, 2018 in Turkmenistan ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    Ashgabat (Turkmen: Aşgabat, pronounced [ɑʃʁɑˈbɑt][2]; Russian: Ашхабад, tr. Ashkhabad, IPA: [ɐʂxɐˈbat]) — named Poltoratsk (Russian: Полтора́цк, IPA: [pəltɐˈratsk]) between 1919 and 1927, is the capital and the largest city of Turkmenistan in Central Asia, situated between the Karakum Desert and the Kopet Dag mountain range.

    The city was founded in 1881, and made the capital of the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic in 1924. Much of the city was destroyed by the 1948 Ashgabat earthquake but has since seen extensive renovation under President Saparmurat Niyazov's urban renewal project.[3] The Karakum Canal runs through the city, carrying waters from the Amu Darya from east to west

    Ashgabat is a relatively young city, having been founded in 1881 as a fortification and named after the nearby settlement of Askhabad (see above for the etymology). Located not far from the site of Nisa, the ancient capital of the Parthian Empire, it grew on the ruins of the Silk Road city of Konjikala, first mentioned as a wine-producing village in the 2nd century BC and leveled by an earthquake in the 1st century BC (a precursor of the 1948 Ashgabat earthquake). Konjikala was rebuilt because of its advantageous location on the Silk Road and it flourished until its destruction by Mongols in the 13th century. After that it survived as a small village until Russians took over in the 19th century.

    A part of Persia until the Battle of Geok Tepe, Askhabad was ceded to the Russian Empire under the terms of the Akhal Treaty. Russia developed the area as it was close to the border of British-influenced Persia, and the population grew from 2,500 in 1881 to 19,428 (of whom one third were Persian) in 1897. It was regarded as a pleasant town with European style buildings, shops, and hotels. In 1908, the first Bahá'í House of Worship was built in Askhabat. It was badly damaged in the 1948 earthquake and finally demolished in 1963. The community of the Bahá'í Faith in Turkmenistan was largely based in Ashgabat.

    Soviet rule was established in Ashgabat in December 1917. However, in July 1918, a coalition of Mensheviks, Social Revolutionaries, and Tsarist former officers of the Imperial Russian Army revolted against the Bolshevik rule emanating from Tashkent and established the Ashkhabad Executive Committee. After receiving some support (but even more promises) from General Malleson, the British withdrew in April 1919 and the Tashkent Soviet resumed control of the city.

    In 1919, the city was renamed Poltoratsk (Полторацк), after Pavel Poltoratskiy, the Chairman of the Soviet of National Economy of the Turkestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. When the Turkmen SSR was established in 1924, Poltoratsk became its capital. The original name (in the form of "Ashkhabad") was restored in 1927. From this period onward, the city experienced rapid growth and industrialisation, although severely disrupted by a major earthquake on October 6, 1948. An estimated 7.3 on the Richter scale, the earthquake killed 110-176,000 (⅔ of the population of the city), although the official number announced by Soviet news was only 40,000.

    In July 2003, street names in Ashgabat were replaced by serial numbers except for nine major highways, some named after Saparmurat Niyazov, his father, and his mother. The Presidential Palace Square was designated 2000 to symbolize the beginning of the 21st century. The rest of the streets were assigned larger or smaller four-digit numerical names. Following Niyazov's death in 2006, Soviet-era street names were restored, though in the years since, many of them have been replaced with names honoring Turkmen scholars, poets, military heroes, and figures from art and culture.

    In 2013, the city was included in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's highest concentration of white marble buildings.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Ahal, Ahal welaýaty, Wilayah Ahal, Ahal vilayəti, Ахал, Província dAhal, Provinco Ahal, Provincia de Ahal, Ahali vilajett, استان آخال, Ahalin maakunta, आख़ाल प्रान्त, Ահալի վելայաթ, Provinsi Ahal, Provincia di Ahal, アハル州, ახალის ველაიათი, 아할 주, Ahalo velajatas, Ахал муж, Wilajet achalski, صوبہ اخال, Provincia Ahal, Ахалский велаят, Ahal Province, Achal, Вилояти Аҳал, Ahal vilayeti, Ахалський велаят, Ahal viloyati, 阿哈爾州