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Turkmenistan, 5 Reasons why you should visit the weirdest country in the world

Turkmenistan is one of the lesser-known countries of Central Asia. It’s historically rich and culturally spectacular, but it is also the seventh least-explored country in the world.

Filled with stellar monuments, natural wonders of undying beauty, and hospitable locals who love interacting with travellers, Turkmenistan provides a mysterious yet fascinating vibe and some of the strangest rules and laws in the world.

Turkmenistan are extremeley proud of thier Akhal-Teke hourses
Turkmenistan are extremely proud of their Akhal-Teke horses

Want to know more about this traditional, Silk Road country?

Here are 5 reasons why you should visit Turkmenistan.  

1. The One-of-a-Kind Darvaza Gas Crater, the gates to hell

The Darvaza Gas Crater or the “Gateway to Hell/gates to hell” is a burning gas cavern located in the region with the same name. Legend has it that in 1971, a bunch of Soviet geologists were busy drilling for gas and they messed up.

Their equipment fell into the hole and natural gas started to leak out. They burned it, thinking it was the best thing to do and that the fire would go out in a few days. It’s been about 50 years and the fire is still burning. 

The Gate To Hell, just before sunset on a rainy day. turkmenistan
The Gate To Hell, just before sunset on a rainy day.
The Gates To hell seen from one of the hills during night.
The Gates To hell seen from one of the hills during night.

This man-made blunder turned out to be quite the spectacle that lures everyone in Turkmenistan to come see it.  

Panoramic photo of the crater, notice the fence that was put up around the crater in September 2018.
Panoramic photo of the crater, notice the fence that was put up around the crater in September 2018.
the crater after dark
the crater after dark
The Gates To hell, seen from one of the two hills overlooking DARVAZA GAS CRATER
The Gates To hell, seen from one of the two hills overlooking DARVAZA GAS CRATER

2. The Dazzling City of Ashgabat  

Ashgabat is the capital of Turkmenistan and studded with the largest number of marble buildings you will ever see! With a whopping total of 543 white marble buildings, Ashgabat bagged a Guinness World Record for having so many of them.

This makes Ashgabat a city like no other and a solid number 2 on our list of 5 reasons why you should visit Turkmenistan.

The world´s largest indoor Ferris wheel at 47,6m at the Alem entertainment centre in the south of Ashgabat
The world´s largest indoor Ferris wheel at 47,6m at the Alem entertainment centre in the south of Ashgabat

Ashgabat is home to unique and striking architecture.

You have to visit this city to witness the Monument to Neutrality, the Alem Entertainment Centre, the spectacular views of the city from the Yyldyz Hotel, and the Turkmenistan Tower, also known as “the largest architectural star.”  

Saparmurat Niyazov gold statue in Ashgabat
Saparmurat Niyazov gold statue in Ashgabat
Horse statue in Ashgabat
The big gold Horse statue in Ashgabat
Ashgabat wedding Palace
Ashgabat wedding Palace one of the most famous landmarks in Ashgabat
Yyldyz Hotel
The Yyldyz Hotel one of the fanciest hotels in Ashgabat.

3. The Yangykala Canyon: For the Ultimate Camping Experience

In the west of Turkmenistan, nestled in the remote depths of the desert, lies an amazing rocky natural wonder called the Yangykala Canyon. A real of the beaten path destination in Turkmenistan

Characterized by colorful and vibrant rocks of red, yellow, and blue, the landscape here is a sight to behold. 

The viewpoint called jaws of a crocodile
The viewpoint called jaws of a crocodile

If you enjoy hiking, rock-climbing, camping, and spending time outdoors, this rocky marvel is one solid reason to visit Turkmenistan. 

Yangykala Canyon turkmenistan
Yangykala Canyon
Yangykala Canyon Turkmenistan
Yangykala Canyon

4. The Captivating Ruins of Nissa  

Founded in 250 B.C., the ancient city of Nissa was a major trading spot back in the day. Today, it’s a major tourist site and a popular reason for visiting Turkmenistan. 

Nissa Ruins Turkmenistan
The ancient Nissa Ruins
The ancient Nissa Ruins Turkmenistan
The ancient Nissa Ruins

One step into this place and the sights and vibe will take you back in time to when the Parthians ruled Turkmenistan and ran the historic city of Nissa.

From priceless Hellenistic artifacts to pre-historic shrines and massive gates, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is something else. Another important historical site in Turkmenistan is the ruins of Merv in the eastern part of Turkmenistan.

Merv was once one of the most important places along the Silk Road Trough Central Asia

5. Enjoy the Luxury and Beauty of Turkmenistan 

Once you’ve scoured the popular tourist sites of Turkmenistan, you can relax and enjoy the small pleasures of this relatively new and exotic country of Central Asia.

Then you can head to one of the strangest places in the world, Awaza, which is similar to Dubai, with huge architectural hotels, and modern buildings which looks like anywhere in the Middle East or Asia, but the difference there´s no foreign tourists around Awaza.

Check yourself into the luxe and amazing Awaza Beach Resort that overlooks the waters of the Caspian Sea. From yacht rides to refreshing spa facilities, there’s a whole lot to enjoy and indulge in.

Awaza turkemistan
Empty Awaza

Dig into some of Turkmenistan’s delicacies like the Plov or Pilaf, which is an aromatic rice dish prepared with an assortment of meats, spices, carrots, and dry fruits.

This happens to be a national favorite and is one of the 5 reasons why you should visit Turkmenistan.

Bottom Line 

With a feeling of seclusion from the rest of the world, the way of life in Turkmenistan is rooted in its nomadic culture and heritage.

Almost 70% of this place is a desert and you will still see Turkmen dressed in their telpeks (large sheepskin hats) with long beards. 

only old men are allowed to have a beard in Turkmenistan
Turkmen dressed in their telpeks

Turkmenistan is a country with an unusual history. Its many traces are still evident in its culture, lifestyle, and architecture.

If you like visiting historic places that are rich in natural beauty, spirituality, and tradition, look no further.

5 reasons why you should visit Turkmenistan in central asia
5 reasons why you should visit Turkmenistan is one of the lesser-known countries of Central Asia. It’s historically rich and culturally spectacular, but it is also the seventh least-explored country in the world.