Country File: Turkmenistan

Continuing our look at the ’stans between here and Moscow, today’s Country File is — the Republic of Turkmenistan, commonly known as Turkmenistan!

Flag of Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan joined UNESCO on 17 August 1993, making it a real country by‘s standard; and it has 3 inscribed and 8 tentative World Heritage Sites:


Kunya-Urgench (2005)
Parthian Fortresses of Nisa (2007)
State Historical and Cultural Park “Ancient Merv” (1999)

Badhyz State Nature Reserve (16/03/2009)
Syunt Hasardag State Nature Reserve (16/03/2009)
Dinosaurs and Caves of Koytendag (16/03/2009)
Repetek Biosphere State Reserve (16/03/2009)
Amudarya State Nature Reserve (16/03/2009)
Hazar State Nature Reserve (16/03/2009)
Silk Roads Sites in Turkmenistan (01/03/2010)
Dehistan / Mishrian (25/02/1998)

TCC and MTP both count Turkmenistan as a single place, which is reasonable despite its size since on the order of 90% of that is desert, and, well, one bit of uninhabited desert is very similar indeed to pretty much any other bit of uninhabited desert.

The big reason to visit Turkmenistan, far as we’re concerned, isn’t actually the World Heritage Sites…


The Darvaza gas crater (Turkmen: Jähennem derwezesi, Җәхеннем дервезеси),[1][2][3] known locally as the “Door to Hell” or ”Gates of Hell“, is a natural gas field in DerwezeTurkmenistan, that collapsed into an underground cavern, becoming a natural gas crater.[4] Geologists set it on fire to prevent the spread of methane gas, and it has been burning continuously since 1971. The diameter of the crater is 69 metres (226 ft), and its depth is 30 metres (98 ft).[5]

A fire lit in 1971, 200+ feet around? Seriously, whenever we get to Turkmenistan, we’ll even miss our heritage sites to see THAT one!


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  1. […] did indeed find the best ones for a trip including these four cities. Huh. We didn’t realize Turkmenistan was that isolated. Looks like flying in through Dubai is the only really practical option from this […]

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