Turkmenistan – country in south-western part of Central Asia, the West having an access to the internal Caspian Sea.
Official language: Turkmen
Area: 491.210 km2
Water (%): 4.9
Population: 5.125.693 (2012 estimate)
Currency: Turkmen new manat (TMN)
Time zone: UTC+5
Calling code: +993
Internet TLD: .tm
The territory of Turkmenistan stretches for 1110 kilometres from west to east and 650 kilometres from north to south. Turkmenistan has border in the north with Kazakhstan, in the east and north-east with Uzbekistan in the south with Iran and in the south-east with Afghanistan. Turkmens constitute 72% of the republic's population, Russians 10%, Uzbeks 9% and others 9%. It is a modern city with the population of 450.000 peoples.
Turkmenistan is divided into five provinces or welayatlar and one capital city district. The provinces are subdivided into districts, which may be either counties or cities. According to the Constitution of Turkmenistan (Article 16 in the 2008 Constitution, Article 47 in the 1992 Constitution), some cities may have the status of welaýat (province) or etrap (district).
Over 80% of the country is covered by the Karakum Desert. The center of the country is dominated by the Turan Depression and the Karakum Desert. The Kopet Dag Range, along the southwestern border, reaches 2,912 meters (9,553 ft) at Kuh-e Rizeh (Mount Rizeh).
The Great Balkhan Range in the west of the country (Balkan Province) and the Köýtendag Range on the southeastern border with Uzbekistan (Lebap Province) are the only other significant elevations. The Great Balkhan Range rises to 1,880 metres (6,170 ft) at Mount Arlan and the highest summit in Turkmenistan is Ayrybaba in the Kugitangtau Range – 3,137 metres (10,292 ft). Rivers include the Amu Darya, the Murghab, and the Tejen.
The climate is mostly arid subtropical desert, with little rainfall. Winters are mild and dry, with most precipitation falling between January and May. The area of the country with the heaviest precipitation is the Kopet Dag Range.
The Turkmen shore along the Caspian Sea is 1,768 kilometres (1,099 mi) long. The Caspian Sea is entirely landlocked, with no natural access to the ocean, although the Don-Volga canal allows shipping access to and from the Black Sea.
One cannot know nature of Turkmenistan not having visited the Caspian sea-shore. The Caspian sea is the largest in the world self-contained salty sea (lake) which has no connection with the world's oceans. On the territory of the Caspian sea only one can come across flamingo, pelicans and many other birds who are on the list of endangered species (the Red Book). Special attention of the nature protection service is raid to preserving the populations of valuable sturgeon fishes.
The major cities include Aşgabat, Türkmenbaşy (formerly Krasnovodsk) and Daşoguz.
Historians and archeologists consider sunny Turkmenistan as the home of the most ancient civilizations in the world. The latest archaeological discoveries allow one to date the origins of human society in this area from the 800 thousand years B.C.
Archaeological excavations in the Damdamcheshme I and II grottoes on the slopes of the Big Balkhan Mountains show that between the Mesolith and Neolith one of the ancient world centres of the domestication of animals was situated here. It was also a place where a life of hunting was being replaced by a productive economy.
In Turkmenistan, found well-preserved dinosaur footprints dating back 150 million years, and within it are the ruins of the ancient city of Merv, Margiana civilization (II millennium BC)
In the Middle Ages there was built the highest minaret in Central Asia - Tuglug Minar and the largest mosque in the region - in Kipchak area of over 7,000 square meters. am also particularly noteworthy ruins of the Parthian Fortresses of Nisa. This is a small but important sights of antiquity in Turkmenistan.
Perhaps Turkmenistan - the richest country in Central Asia, owing to the enormous reserves of natural gas (4th in the world), for the local population utilities are free. And the most closed country - for the citizens of CIS countries, but is happy to be of European tourists.