Turkmenistan, a country located in Central Asia, is a unique destination that offers a rich blend of history, culture and natural beauty. From the magnificent ancient cities to the fascinating traditional nomadic lifestyle, Turkmenistan is a land of contrasts that will leave you mesmerized. It is home to a diverse array of activities and attractions, making it a great destination for adventure-seekers, culture enthusiasts, and history buffs. Here are the top 10 things to do in Turkmenistan:
1. Explore Ashgabat
Ashgabat is the capital of Turkmenistan and is a modern city with a mix of Soviet-era architecture and grandiose, marble-clad buildings. It is home to a number of iconic landmarks, such as the Independence Monument, the Arch of Neutrality and the Presidential Palace, that are worth visiting.
2. Visit Nisa
Nisa is an ancient city that was once the capital of the Parthian Empire. The ruins of Nisa are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offer a glimpse into the past, with well-preserved fortifications, palaces and temples.
3. See the Darvaza Gas Crater
The Darvaza gas crater, also known as the "Door to Hell", is a natural gas field that has been burning continuously since 1971. The site is a unique and surreal spectacle that is not to be missed.
4. Experience the Kow-Ata Underground Lake
The Kow-Ata underground lake is a natural wonder located in a limestone cave. The lake is known for its warm, mineral-rich water that is said to have healing properties.
5. Visit the Turkmenbashi Ruhy Mosque
The Turkmenbashi Ruhy Mosque is one of the largest mosques in Central Asia and is a stunning example of Turkmen architecture. The mosque is adorned with intricate tilework and can accommodate up to 10,000 worshippers.
6. Explore the Yangykala Canyon
The Yangykala Canyon is a stunning natural formation located in the Karakum Desert. The canyon offers breathtaking views of the surrounding desert and is a great spot for hiking and photography.
7. Visit the Turkmen Carpet Museum
The Turkmen Carpet Museum is located in Ashgabat and is home to a large collection of traditional Turkmen carpets. The museum offers a fascinating insight into the history and culture of Turkmenistan.
8. Explore the ruins of Merv
Merv is an ancient city that was once one of the most important cities on the Silk Road. The ruins of Merv are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offer a glimpse into the past, with well-preserved fortifications, palaces and temples.
9. Visit the Turkmen Horse Breeding Farm
Turkmenistan is known for its love and pride of horses, and visiting a horse breeding farm is a great way to learn about the country's equestrian culture. You can watch the training of the famous Akhal-Teke horses and even take a horseback ride through the countryside.
10. Take a hot air balloon ride over the Karakum Desert
The Karakum Desert is the largest desert in Turkmenistan and offers a unique and stunning landscape. Taking a hot air balloon ride over the desert is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that allows you to see the beauty of the desert from a bird's eye view.