Ashgabat

Ashgabat (Turkmen: Aşgabat, also Ashkabat, Ashkhabad, Ashgabad, etc.) is the capital of Turkmenistan, surrounded by Ahal Province.

Street scene from Ashgabat
Ylham Alley Ashgabat
Beautiful view of Ashgabat city
Ashgabat Berdimuhamedov
Street view of Ashgabat , Turkmenistan

Understand

Ashgabat's historical appellation is The City of Love but nowadays its modern nickname, The City of White Marble will seem vastly more appropriate. Turkmenbashi, the prior president of Turkmenistan, transformed the city from a relatively drab Soviet capital to a city of pure white marble buildings, many containing some rather overbearing symbolism (the Ministry of World Affairs building is a perfect illustration). Short of Pyongyang, Ashgabat is probably the best example of what happens when a city gets redesigned according to the vision of exactly one man, and most visitors will find themselves at first awestruck and then severely confused given the sheer similarity of most of the buildings.

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°C) 7 10 15 24 30 36 38 37 32 23 17 10
Nightly lows (°C) -1 0 5 11 16 21 23 21 10 7 5 3
Sunshine (hrs/day) 4 4 5 7 9 11 11 11 10 7 5 3

Ashgabat has a typical continental climate. Summers are extremely hot and winters are rather cold.

Get in

By plane

Turkmenistan Airlines offers domestic flights from Dashogus (6 flights per day), Mary (3 flights per day), Turkmenabat (5 flights per day) and Turkmenbashi (3 flights per day). (2009)

Turkmenistan Airlines has offices in Moscow, London, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Karachi, Abu Dhabi, Delhi, Bangkok, Almaty, Minsk and Kiev.

By rail

Turkmendemiryollari (Turkmenistan Zeleznice) runs trains to Ashgabat from Turkmenbashi and Turkmenabad via Mary.

Trains leave Turkmenbashi every second day at 7.30 pm and arrive in Ashgabat at 5.20 am next morning or daily at 4.05 pm, arriving in Ashgabat at 5.50 am next morning.

Trains leave Turkmenabad at 6 pm and Mary at 0.25 am daily and arrive in Ashgabat at 8.20 am next morning, Another train leaves Turkmenabad at 9.55 pm and Mary at 2.50 am every second day, arriving in Ashgabat at 9.35 am next morning. There is a day train leaving Turkmenabad at 4.20 am and Mary at 10.23 am, arriving in Ashgabat at 6.35 pm.

By car

Distances to Ashgabat: Almaty in Kazakhstan 2120 km, Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan 1870 km, Tashkent in Uzbekistan 1290 km, Samarkand in Uzbekistan 1000 km, Shakrisyabz in Uzbekistan 1100 km, Turkmenabad 590 km, Mary 350 km, Mashhad in Iran 270 km, Dashoguz 650 km.

Get around

"Taxi", by which everyone means hitchhiking is probably the best way to get around Ashgabat. Simply hold out your arm at a downward angle with two fingers extended, and a car (usually a Lada) will stop. Say where you are going. If they nod, get in, otherwise they will go on and you have to wait for the next car. Expect payment to be about $2 per person. Note that hitchhiking is an entirely safe mode of transport in Turkmenistan—everyone uses it.

There are also official taxis which can be easily found in front of the arrivals hall of the airport and close to the railway station. They are safer but more expensive.

Ashgabat has a very extensive and convenient bus system. The main public transport hub is Teke Bazaar. From that place any location within the city or in its environs can be easily reached. In the modern part of the city there are air-conditioned bus stops with detailed maps of routes of every bus line departing from a stop. The cost of a single ride is 0.20 TMT. The price should be paid by every passenger to the basket located close to driver's seat while getting off the bus. Alternatively a multi-ride should be presented to the driver.

See

Museums

Monuments

Other sites

Do

Theatres

Buy

The   Yimpas Shopping Center, Turkmenbashi sayoli 75, 9am to 11pm, is the largest modern shopping centre (it is pronounced "Yimpash" and should be known by anyone who stops to give you a lift) and has a western-like supermarket where you can buy all necessary stuff like food, drink, soap, toothbrush, cosmetics etc. Probably the only one in the whole city. The shopping center has a nice food court in the second floor where you can get all kinds of kebabs for reasonable prices. You can also rent pool tables, play table tennis or go bowling there, or use the internet café.

Eat

Sleep

Cope

Internet

Internet cafes are available at some locations around town. Price is 6 TMT per hour. Yimpas Shopping Center Great Turkman Hotel Russian Market Sofitel, aka Oguz Kent, Features free wifi in lobby and bar.

Airlines

Emergencies

Dial 01 for the fire brigade, 02 for police, 03 for ambulance. Be aware that the operators will speak Turkmen and Russian only.

Embassies and Consulates

Medical services

Registration

Go next

Nearby

Farther Afield

By plane

Turkmenistan Airlines offers domestic flights toDashogus (6 flights per day), Mary (3 flights per day), Turkmenabat (5 flights per day) and Turkmenbashi (3 flights per day), as of 2009.

By rail

Turkmendemiryollari (Turkmenistan Zeleznice) (phone 255545, fax 473858) runs trains from Ashgabat to Turkmenbashi and Turkmenabat via Mary.

Train 24 to Turkmenbashi leaves Ashgabat every second day at 8.40 pm and arrives at Turkmenbashi at 6.55 am next morning. Train 606 leaves Ashgabat daily at 8.10 pm, arriving in Turkmenbashi at 9.15 am next morning.

Trains to Turkmenabat and Mary leave Ashabat at 7.40 daily, arriving at Mary at 5 pm and at Turkmenabat at 11 pm. Train 195 leaves Ashabat daily at 5.20 pm and arrives at Turkmenabat at 7.35 am next morning. Train 21 leaves Ashabat every second day at 10.10 pm, ans arrives at Mary at 5.25 and at Turkmenabat at 9.40 next morning.

By 4WD

Ashgabat is probably the best place to hire someone to take you to Darvaza. Note that the trip requires going off-road and is probably best not left to you average lada.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, March 09, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.