The Biggest Cities In Turkmenistan

A view of ​Ashgabat​​ from the north towards the city center.
A view of ​Ashgabat​​ from the north towards the city center.

Ashgabat is the capital and the biggest city in Turkmenistan. The Central Asian country of Turkmenistan has an estimated population of 5.4 million and a high birth rate. The eastern, southern, and northeastern regions are the most densely populated parts of the country. The major ethnicities in the country are Turkmen, Uzbeks, and Russians.

Biggest Cities In Turkmenistan


Ashgabat has 879,846 residents. The modern city of Ashgabat was established on the Kopet Dag foothills in 1881. The city began as a Russian military fort, and it was strategically located on the Transcaspian Railway and the caravan routes. The city was briefly named Poltoratsk from 1919 to 1927, and it was the capital of Turkmenistan under the Soviet Union until 1991. The city’s population is majorly Turkmen with small communities of Russians, Uzbeks, Azeris, and Armenians. The main religion is Sunni Islam of the Hanafi School. Ashgabat is the country’s political and administrative center. Industries in the city range from textiles, metallurgy, carpet-weaving, to glassworks. 


The city of Türkmenabat serves as the capital of Lebap Province and is home to 243,909 residents. The ancient city, referred to as Amul, was an important region on the Great Silk Road. The contemporary city began as a settlement for Cossack Russians in 1886. The city is conveniently situated at the junction of the Transcaspian Railway. Türkmenabat was known as Chardjuy under the Soviet Union, during the period it was the country’s transport and industrial center. 


Daşoguz, located in northern Turkmenistan, has a population of 188,250. The ancient city was a resting point for the caravans on the Great Silk Road on the outskirts of the Khiva Khanate. The city was named Tashauz after the Khiva Khanate came under Russian control. Most of the city’s buildings were built during the Soviet era, including a Russian fort. Daşoguz is a multi-ethnic city, being home to Turkmens, Uzbeks, Tatars, Koreans, Russians, and Kazakhs. The city boasts sports, educational, and cultural amenities, as well as industries. The ancient city of Kunya-Urgench, complete with mausoleums, minarets, and madrasas is located near Daşoguz.


The city of Mary lies in the oasis of the Karakum Desert, and it is inhabited by 118,840 people. The ancient city was called Merv, and it served as a watering place on the Great Silk Road. The modern city began as an administrative center for Russian rule from 1884. The city became a large cotton producer under Russian occupation, facilitated by extensive irrigation. Natural gas is also a lucrative resource for the city. 

Other Cities In Turkmenistan

The rest of Turkmenistan’s cities and their respective populations are Balkanabat (104,311), Baýramaly (82,142), Türkmenbaşy (70,646), Tejen (59,647), Abadan (44,741), and Magdanly (34,745). Turkmenistan’s cities have witnessed rural-urban migration, a trend which is projected to continue. The major challenge for these cities remains sustainability due to increasing populations.

Biggest Cities In Turkmenistan

Rank Biggest Cities in Turkmenistan Population
1 Ashgabat879,846
2 Türkmenabat243,909
3 Daşoguz188,250
4 Mary118,840
5 Balkanabat104,311
6 Baýramaly82,142
7 Türkmenbaşy70,646
8 Tejen59,647
9 Abadan44,741
10 Magdanly34,745

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