Regions in Turkmenistan
While the provinces are a useful method to divide vast Turkmenistan into regional travel regions, keep in mind that one geographical region dominates them all—the harsh desert wasteland known as the Karakum.
The country’s center area, which includes the capital.
The western province of the Caspian Basin.
The ancient city of Konye-Urgench is located in northern Turkmenistan.
The eastern province is mostly vacant, stretching along the Amu Darya River and bordering Uzbekistan.
The historic Silk Road city of Merv is a popular tourist attraction in Turkmenistan’s southeast.
Cities in Turkmenistan
- Ashgabat, the capital (2004: 727,200 inhabitants)
- Balkanabat (formerly Nebit-Dag) (2004: 140,000 inhabitants)
- Daşoguz (formerly Tashauz) (2004: 210,000 inhabitants)
- Mary (2004: 160.000 inhabitants)
- Türkmenabat (2004: 256,000 inhabitants)
- Turkmenbashi (formerly Krasnovodsk) – a Caspian port (2004: 86,000 inhabitants)
Other destinations in Turkmenistan
- Avaza is a multibillion-dollar building project near Turkmenbashi that aims to create a “national touristic zone” with more than 60 world-class hotels, shops, and a new international airport. The administration compares the initiative to that of Dubai, although there has been little outside investment so far.
- Darvaza — An oil rig unexpectedly struck a huge pocket of natural gas in this location near the old town of Darvaza in 1971, making it Turkmenistan’s most renowned site. The rig fell into the cavern, leaving a huge crater filled with flames. The decision was made to let the fire burn rather than allowing the toxic gas to escape into the neighboring community. The fire continues to burn to this day, and it is often regarded as being readily mistaken for the gates of Hell.
- Visit the Kow Ata subterranean sulphur lake, which is located in the highlands about an hour outside of Ashgabat. Swimming is available all year in the warm, mineral-rich, and therapeutic waters. Expect a trip down progressively slick stairs and to change in a corrugated hut unless you’re adept with a towel. Kow Ata translates as “Father of the Lakes.” The cave is more than 200 meters long, 20 meters high, and more than 50 meters broad at one point. The water is always between 33 and 37 degrees Celsius.