About country

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Turkmenistan emerged as an independent state in 1991.

The national capital is Ashgabat. There are five administrative subdivisions, called velayat, or region, each with its own regional capital:
  • Ahal Velayat (Anau)
  • Balkan Velayat (Balkanabad)
  • Mary Velayat (Mary)
  • Dashoguz Velayat (Dashoguz)
  • Lebap Velayat (Turkmenabad)


Evidence of human life on the territory of present-day Turkmenistan started in the Paleolithic Era. Rock inscriptions can be seen in Jebel in the Krasnovodsk Peninsula, and various finds can be observed in the National Museum in Ashgabat. More extensive is the evidence of human settlements from the Neolithic and Eneolithic Eras: various sites in the foothills of the Kopetdag mountain range at Djeytun (near Ashgabat) and Anau (near Ashgabat) show evidence of early agricultural activity and village-like settlements.


Turkmen cuisine is varied, and includes both meat dishes and soups, and as well as plenty of fruits and vegetables. Bread is a must for every meal. A piece of fresh Turkmen flat round bread, churek, baked at home in clay ovens, is delicious in combination with any meal or snack.

Most cafes and restaurants cook up a combination of Turkmen and Russian dishes, and offer a large list of salads and side dishes (rice, fried potatoes, pasta, and mashed potatoes). None of the dishes are heavy on spices, but herbs such as parsley, coriander, basil and dill are frequently added.

Traditions. Arts and crafts

Turkmen are a Turkic-speaking people of nomadic origin (similar to the Kazakhs steppe nomads and the Kyrgyz mountain nomads, and differing from the Persian-speaking Tajiks, or the Turkic-speaking settled Uzbeks). While the majority live on the territory of Turkmenistan, significant numbers of Turkmen can also be found living in Iran, Afghanistan, and even Syria and Iraq.