Ashgabat is the capital and the largest city of Turkmenistan in Central Asia, situated between the Karakum Desert and the Kopet Dag mountain range.
Ashgabat's historical appellation is The City of Love but nowadays its modern nickname, The City of White Marble will seem vastly more appropriate. Turkmenbashi, the prior president of Turkmenistan, transformed the city from a relatively drab Soviet capital to a city of pure white marble buildings, many containing some rather overbearing symbolism.
Short of Pyongyang, Ashgabat is probably the best example of what happens when a city gets redesigned according to the vision of exactly one man, and most visitors will find themselves at first awestruck and then severely confused given the sheer similarity of most of the buildings.
|POPULATION :||City: 1,031,992|
|TIME ZONE :||TMT (UTC+5)|
|LANGUAGE :||Turkmen 72%, Russian 12%, Uzbek 9%, other 7%|
|RELIGION :||Muslim 89%, Eastern Orthodox 9%, unknown 2%|
|AREA :||440 km2 (170 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||219 m (719 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||37°56′N 58°22′E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 49.18% |
• Female: 50.82%
|ETHNIC :||Turkmen 85%, Uzbek 5%, Russian 4%, other 6%|
|AREA CODE :||12|
|POSTAL CODE :||744000 - 744040|
|DIALING CODE :||(+993) 12|
|WEBSITE :||Official Website|
Museums include the Turkmen Fine Arts Museum and Turkmen Carpet Museum, noted for their impressive collection of woven carpets as well as a Turkmen history museum and the Ashgabat National Museum of History, which displays artifacts dating back to the Parthian and Persian civilizations.
Ashgabat has many parks and open spaces mainly established in the early years of the Independence and well maintained and expanded thereafter. The most important of these parks are: the Botanical Garden, Güneş, Turkmen-Turkish friendship, Independence. The oldest city park - Ashgabat, was founded in 1887.
Both locals and visitors go to Altyn Asyr Bazaar in Choganly, where myriads of items, including traditional fabrics and hand-woven carpets, can be bought. Modern shopping areas are mostly found in central streets, including the modern Turkish mall Ýimpaş and shopping centers Paýtagt and Aşgabat. The local residents like traditional bazaars: Russian bazaar, Teke bazaar, Daşoguz bazaar, Mir bazaar, Jennet bazaar, etc.
Ashgabat is a relatively young city, having been founded in 1881 as a fortification and named after the nearby settlement of Askhabad (lit. beloved city in Turkmen).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. 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.
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 Poltoratsky, 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 (2/3 of the population of the city).
In 2013, the city was included in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's highest concentration of white marble buildings.
Ashgabat has an arid climate with hot, dry summers and cool, short winters.
The average high temperature in July is 38.3 °C (100.9 °F). Nighttimes in the summer are warm, with an average minimum temperature in July of 23.8 °C (75 °F).
The average January high temperature is 8.6 °C (47.5 °F), and the average low temperature is −0.4 °C (31.3 °F).
Snow is infrequent in the area. Annual precipitation is only 201 millimetres (7.91 in); March and April are the wettest months.
|Daily highs (°C)||7||10||15||24||30||36||38||37||32||23||17||10|
|Nightly lows (°C)||-1||0||5||11||16||21||23||21||10||7||5||3|
The principal industries are cotton textiles and metal working. It is a major stop on the Trans-Caspian railway. A large percentage of the employment in Ashgabat is provided by the state institutions; such as the ministries, undersecretariats, and other administrative bodies of the Turkmenistan government. There are also many foreign citizens working as diplomats or clerks in the embassies of their respective countries.
More than 43 large and 128 medium-sized industrial enterprises along with over 1,700 small industrial facilities are located in Ashgabat and its suburbs.The most important are “Ashneftemash”, “Turkmenkabel”, “Turkmenbashi Textile Complex” etc.
Ashgabat is divided into the following districts:
- Archabil (Turkmen: Arçabyl etraby, Арчабильский)
- Berkararlyk (Turkmen: Berkararlyk etraby, Беркарарлыкский)
- Kopetdag (Turkmen: Köpetdag etraby, Копетдагский)
- Bagtyyarlayk (Turkmen: Bagtyýarlyk etraby, Багтырялыкский)
- Chandybil (Turkmen: Çandybil etraby, Чандыбильский)
- Abadan (Turkmen: Abadan etraby, Абаданский)
Ruhabad (Turkmen: Ruhubad etraby, Рухабадский)
Internet cafes are available at some locations around town. Price is 6 TMT per hour. Yimpas Shopping Center Great Turkman Hotel Russian Market Sofitel, aka Oguz Kent, Features free wifi in lobby and bar.