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Turkmenistan's Information

Flag of Turkmenistan
Land Area 469,930 km2
Water Area 18,170 km2
Total Area 488,100km2 (#52)
Population 5,291,317 (#119)
Population Density 11.26/km2
Government Type Presidential Republic; Authoritarian
GDP (PPP) $94.72 Billion
GDP Per Capita $17,300
Currency Manat (TMT)
More Information Turkmenistan
Largest Cities

Tribes of Iranian Scythians were some of the first to migrate into the region of Turkmenistan, around 2000 BC; although little is known about the area's early history, as the region remains largely unexplored.

On his way to South Asia during the 4th century BC, Alexander the Great conquered the region, and established the city of Alexandria near the Murgab River.

Following Alexander's death, the area was overrun by a number of kingdoms, and much of the population remained around the fertile river valleys along the Amu Darya. The city of Alexandria, renamed Merv, became a hub for the raising of silkworms, and transformed into an active trade route. Due to this new found popularity, Merv became an exceptional conquest for any ruler.

In the 8th century A.D., Turkic-speaking tribes moved from Mongolia into present-day Central Asia, forming the ethnic basis of what is now present-day Turkmenistan.

The name Turkmen was first applied to groups (tribes) of nomadic people that accepted Islam, and occupied the desert lands here, during the 10th century.

Stretching across the Middle East, through Iran, Iraq, the Caucasus, Syria, and on through Asia Minor, the Seljuk Turks dominated during the 11th century and on into part of the 12th century, until the Mongols invaded the area in 1157.

Under the rule of Genghis Khan, the city of Merv was burned to the ground, and its citizens massacred.

Annexed by czarist Russia between 1865 and 1885, Turkmenistan became a Soviet republic in 1924, but nationalism rang loud across the land.

It inexplicably achieved that desired independence upon the breakup of the former (USSR) Soviet Union in 1991, and President Niyazov gained absolute dictatorial control over the country, prohibiting opposition of any kind.

Extensive oil and gas reserves (under the Kara Kum Desert) could/should prove a boon to this underdeveloped country if extraction and delivery projects were to be expanded.

The Turkmenistan Government is now actively seeking to develop alternative petroleum transportation routes in order to break Russia's pipeline monopoly.

Ashgabat, the cultural center and capital city, was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1948. Fortunately, decades of rebuilding has subsequently revised the country's most important administrative and industrial center.

Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow was elected president, after the unexpected death of Niyazov in 2006, and set his sights on reversing Niyazov's more corrupt policies. A reform of education, health care and pension systems was carried out, and a new constitution was accepted by the People's Council in September of 2008.

Across the country important archeological sites peak the interest of many travelers, and although most visits to Turkmenistan are business related, the government has set its sights on constructing high quality destination sites for incoming tourists.

This page was last updated on July 10, 2020.

Turkmenistan Trivia

Which Languages are Spoken in Turkmenistan?

Turkmen is the official language of Turkmenistan.

What Languages Are Spoken In Turkmenistan?

What is the Door to Hell?

The Door to Hell refers to a surreal feature on the barren landscape of the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan. The feature is a gaping crater on the surface of the land that was created by a mining miscalculation in a natural gas field.

The Darvaza Gas Crater: the Door to Hell

Where is the Karakum Desert?

The Karakum Desert is located in Turkmenistan, Central Asia. The desert covers an area of about 135,000 square miles which is about 70% of Turkmenistan's land area.

The Karakum Canal in Turkmenistan

What is the Tallest Mountain in Turkmenistan?

The tallest mountain in Turkmenistan is Mount Damavand, which stands at 18,410 feet. The volcanic mountain is in the middle of the Elburz Range.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites In Turkmenistan

Which Is The Most Popular Religion In Turkmenistan?

Islam is the religion of the majority in Turkmenistan. 89% of the country’s population adhere to this religion. Christianity is the next largest religion with 10% of the population affiliated to this religion.

Religion In Turkmenistan

What is the biggest city in Turkmenistan?

Ashgabat city is the largest city in Turkmenistan with a population of around 880,000 people.

The Biggest Cities In Turkmenistan

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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