Turkmenistan is situated in the western part of Central Asia. In the North and North-East it borders with republics of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, in the South and South-East it borders with Islamic republics of Iran and Afghanistan and on the west side it is surrounded by the Caspian Sea.
The territory of Turkmenistan is 491,2 thousand square kilometers. The territory spreads on 1100 kilometers from the west to the east and on 650 kilometers from the north to the south.
Northern and central part of the territory of Turkmenistan is occupied by sand deserts of Turan lowland – central Zaunguz and South-Eastern Karakums. The South and south-east are occupied by the mountains. The highest peak of Turkmenistan is in the Koitendag (3139 m).
The lowest place in Turkmenistan is Akchakaya depression (-81 m).
Historically, ancient trade routes met on the territory of Turkmenistan and one of these routes being the “Great Silk Road”.
The climate in Turkmenistan is acutely continental with the exception of seacoast zone.
Average annual air temperature on all the territory of Turkmenistan is positive and it changes on the flat part of Turkmenistan from 12-17 C in the north to 15-18 C in the south-east. The coldest month is January.
Summer is very hot and dry on the flat territory (in July average air temperature is more than 32 C). Average annual amount of precipitation varies from 85 mm (Karabogasgol bay) to 398 mm in the mountains and foothills.
Turkmenistan is a multinational state. Representatives of more than 100 nationalities live in the country. The major part of the population is represented by Turkmens.
Turkmen language is a state language. It belongs to the Turkic group of languages. Compulsory study of three languages – Turkmen, English and Russian is legislated in the country.
The most widely spread religion on the territory of Turkmenistan is Islam. There are functioning mosques on the territory of Turkmenistan: the largest of them are in Ashgabat, Geokdepe and Kipchak. Along with Muslim mosques there are functioning temples of other religions.
The state guarantees freedom of religions and their equal protection by the law. Religious organizations are separated from the state and do not interfere into state affairs. State education system is separated from religious organizations and is secular.
Administrative-territorial system of Turkmenistan is represented by five velayats (Akhal, Balkan, Dashoguz, Lebap and Mary), each of which in its turn falls into etraps. In Turkmenistan there are 50 etraps, 16 towns, 9 towns in etraps, 77 settlements. 565 gengeshilks (rural municipal formations) and 1937 rural communities. All towns with the exeption of Asghabat – the capital of Turkmenistan – are subordinated to the velayats on the territory of which they are located.
Ashgabat - THE white marbled capital
Ashgabat is founded in 1881. It is situated at the foothills of the Kopetdag and is the largest city of the country.
According to its administrative-legislative status, it is equated to a velayat and also is divided into five etraps: Azaltyk, Kopetdag, etrap named after the President S.A. Niyazov, Chandybil and Archabil.
Ashgabat is an administrative, industrial, cultural and scientific centre of the country. Educational, scientific and intellectual labor potential has been formed here; transport and communication systems, services sphere, trade, hotel business and entertainment industries have been developed.
Today, Ashgabat is a white marbled capital charming its guests by unusual beauty of administrative and dwelling buildings, museums, theatres, high class hotels, parks, squares, magnificent monuments.
Numbers of ministry buildings as well as offices, higher educational institutions, high-rise dwelling buildings with advanced comfort and design and other projects of socio-cultural function which create unrepeated architectural ensemble have already been built on the territory of Ashgabat. In 2008, one of the sights of the city was included in the Guinness Book of Records: it is the highest flagpole of the world (139 meters), on which the flag of independent Turkmenistan – the symbol of statehood, its pride and honor, testimony of patriotism, morality and new revival of the nation –proudly streams in the boundless sky. The size of the gigantic cloth is 52, 5 to 35 meters; its weight is 420 kg.