According to topschoolsintheusa, carpets and horses are the two main treasures of Turkmenistan. It is unlikely that it will be possible to take home a handsome Akhal-Teke horse (although nothing is impossible), but anyone can buy an authentic Turkmen carpet or rug. The largest selection is in the bazaars of Ashgabat, as well as in the store at the Carpet Museum, but you can easily find a product to your liking and wallet in any city of Turkmenistan. Knotted carpets made of wool or silk are the most expensive goods, and felt mats “koshma” will cost much less, while they are no less pretty.
It is more convenient to buy a carpet in a state store – in this case, all taxes are already included in the price and it is enough to present a sales receipt at the border to export the product. When purchasing a carpet in a private store, it will be necessary to send it at your own expense for examination to the Expert Commission at the Carpet Museum in Ashgabat, which will certify that the age of the carpet does not exceed 50 years.
From Turkmenistan, you can bring items of national costume, which are not a rarity here – they are still worn daily by middle-aged and older people, especially outside the capital. Hats are popular – well-known from the Soviet past, a skullcap and a fur hat made of sheep’s wool “telpak”. It is worth paying attention to the bright, thin and unusually strong Turkmen silks “keteni”. Other souvenirs include figurines of Akhal-Teke horses of all styles and sizes, national silver jewelry, both for women and men. From the “goodies” we recommend buying a couple of jars of Turkmen halva, as well as cognac and local wines.
Cuisine and restaurants
As in neighboring Asian countries, the main dish of Turkmen cuisine is plov. It is prepared from rice, lamb, with the addition of many aromatic herbs, seasonings and spices, dried fruits and nuts. It is customary to drink fatty dishes with sour-milk drinks: “airan” and “chal” from camel milk or yogurt.
Of the soups, shorba with meat and vegetables, spicy and spicy stew of camel meat “gaynatma”, soup of lamb and crushed hard flatbread with onion “dograma” are common. A very tasty, albeit fatty, dish – “kaurma” – a lamb cooked in its own juice. Everywhere you can taste real manti – steamed lamb dumplings and hearty pies: “ishlekli” from meat with onions and “gutapy” – meat, potatoes, spinach and pumpkin.
They finish the meal with “gok tea” – green tea with mint and dried fruits. As for alcoholic beverages, you should pay attention to Turkmen cognac, wines and Turkmenbashi vodka.
Entertainment, excursions and sights of Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan is the center of the monuments of the great dynasties of the past: Timurids, Sassanids, Khorezmshahs, whose offspring built new cities and erected majestic palaces, laid mosques and caravanserais, created the basis for magnificent libraries and observatories. The ancient cities of Kunya-Urgench, Merv, Nisa, stops of the Great Silk Road, medieval forts and mausoleums are the basis of the Turkmen “excursion”. In addition, there are many natural attractions on the territory of the country: the Karakum desert, the sulfur lake Kou-Ata, the burning crater of Darvaza, the Repetek, Kugitang and Kopetdag national parks and many other interesting places.
In Ashgabat, it is worth visiting the settlement of Nisa (1st millennium BC), which was once the capital of the powerful Parthian kingdom. Here you can see the remains of two fortresses, temples, palace halls, the graves of the Arsacids dynasty. You should definitely walk around the colorful medieval bazaars: the huge Dzhygyllyk, Gulistan, Lalezar and the Tekinsky bazaar. The Carpet Museum tells interesting stories about the history of carpet weaving, traditions and ways of weaving carpets, and exhibits many artifacts – from the oldest copy (17th century) to the modern giant of 301 square meters. m, named, of course, “The Golden Age of the Great Saparmurat Turkmenbashi.” The theme is continued by the cyclopean-sized mosque “Turkmenbashi Rukhy”, built in the native village of the former president, 15 km from the capital, and the abundance of architectural structures of our time: the palaces of Turkmenbashi and Rukhyet.
The sights of Mary, ancient Merv are the citadel of Erk-Kala of the Achaemenid dynasty, the medieval settlement of Gyaur-Kala with the ruins of monasteries and castles of the nobility, the Seljuk settlement of Sultan-Kala and the citadel of Shahriyar-Ark, the ruins of the Parthian city of Gebekly, the sacred city of Gonur-Depe, the medieval castles of Haram -Keshk and Akuyli-Koushuk, mosques, mausoleums and tombs. In Turkmenbashi, of interest are the mausoleum 10 in Shir-Kabib, the Parau-bibi mosque, which is an important center of pilgrimage for Muslim women, the Tasharvat caravanserai, the Dehistan valley and the ruins of the medieval city of Misrian with two well-preserved 20-meter minarets.
In Turkmenabad, it is worth visiting the Repetek nature reserve, part of the Karakum desert, the hottest place in all of Central Asia, settlement 11 in Amul-Chardjuy, the city-museum of Atamurat with the mausoleum of Almutasir and Astana-baba, the ancient Bai-Khatyn caravanserai, which has preserved relief fragments of decorative stone carving with the names of the righteous caliphs – Omar, Abu Bakr and Ali.