In 1717, Russian Prince Alexander Bekovich-Cherkassky landed and established a secret fortified settlement on this location, where the dry bed of a former mouth of the Amu-Darya River once emptied into the Caspian Sea. His intent was to march an army up this dry riverbed and conquer the Khanate of Khiva. The expedition failed, and the Russians abandoned the settlement for over 150 years.
In 1869, the Russians made a second and latest attempt. They named their fort Krasnovodsk (Красноводск), which is the Russian version of the original name, Kyzyl-Su (Red Water). Krasnovodsk was Imperial Russia's base of operations against Khiva and Bukhara, and the nomadic Turkmen tribes. It fell to the Red Army in February, 1920.
In 1993 Krasnovodsk was renamed "Turkmenbashi" Many would assume that the city was renamed on behalf of Niyazov's self-proclaimed title "Turkmenbashi" meaning "The leader of Turkmens" yet the rationale behind renaming is to denote that Turkmenbashi is the place from where Turkmens spring. Turkmen meaning the Turkmen and bashi - the start, spring.
Turkmenbashi is connected by Turkmenistan Airlines flights to Ashgabat, capital of Turkmenistan.
Turkmenbashi is the western extent of the Trans-Caspian Railway. Turkmendemiryollari (Turkmenistan Zeleznice) runs trains from Ashgabat to Turkmenbashi. Train 606 leaves Ashgabat at 8:10PM daily, arriving at Turkmenbashi next morning at 9:15AM. Train 24 leaves Ashgabat at 8:40PM every second day, arriving at Turkmenbashi next morning at 6:55AM.
It is a two hours' drive from Zhanaozen to the Turkmenistan border and another 40 minutes drive from the border on a dirt road to the city of Karabogas (formerly Bekdash) (approx. US$ 50 per car). From Karabogas there is a good road to Turkmenbashi with fine views on the Caspian Sea. About 60 km south of Karabogas the road crosses a bridge over the channel connecting the Caspian Sea with the inland gulf.
Turkmenbashi is about 560 km from Ashgabat.
There are boats across the Caspian Sea to Baku, Azerbaijan. The journey takes 12 to 18 hours and a seat costs about 50 US$. There are several boats weekly, but there is no fixed timetable. Consider that ships might be delayed and that your visa could expire in this time. Bring along you own food and water. See warnng on the Turkmenistan page!
The local bus station is at Balkan köcesi, about 500 meters west of the Museum of Regional History. Taxi drives within the town cost about 3000 M and 5000 M to Awaza (10 km north of Turkmenbashi).
- Museum of Regional History, Rylov köcesi. Tue to Sun 9AM to 6PM. exhibits of the nomadic life of the Turkmen people US$ 0.10.
- Russian Orthodox Church.
- Japanese Memorial (near the airport). Memorial for thousands of Japanese prisoners of war who constructed roads and buildings here during the Second World War
- swimming at Awaza (8 km north of the city).
- Awaza Resort, Awaza (Awaza). Awaza is resort place which hosts tens of hotels and sea beaches. In the evenings laser shows are held to entertain the populations and guests.
- Bagtygul Bazaar, Magtymguly sayoli. Buy caviar for US$ 22 per half kilo
- Deniz Patisserie Cafe, Azadi köcesi, ☎ +993 243 14254, +993 243 25653. 8AM to 10PM. Turkish cafe, about 1 km and a half from the Hotel Hazar US$ 1 to 2.
- Altyn Asir Kafe, Gahryman Atamurat Niyazov köcesi, ☎ +993 243 20752. 12AM to 11PM. Russian restaurant US$ 1 to 2.
- Altyn Balik Restaurant, Bahri-Hazar köcesi, ☎ +993 243 77405. 12AM to 11PM. US$ 1 to 2.
- Hotel Turkmenbashi, Hazar köcesi (2 km west of the railway station), ☎ +993 243 2130104, fax: +993 243 21317. higher rates from Jun to Sep US$ 50-75.
- Hotel Sedar, Awaza (10 km north of Turkmenbashi), ☎ +993 243 21581, +993 243 51225, e-mail: Sedaroteli@online.tm. one of the most beautiful hotels in Turkmenistan, higher rates from Jun to Sep dbl US$ 100.
Turkenistan Airlines office, Rylov köcesi, near Hotel Hazar, phone 75474 or 75804.
Turkmenbashi is the western extent of the Trans-Caspian Railway. Turkmendemiryollari (Turkmenistan Zeleznice) runs trains from Turkmenbashi to Ashgabat. Train 605 leaves Turkmenbashi at 4:05PM daily, arriving in Ashgabat next morning at 5:50AM. Train 23 leaves Turkmenbashi at 7:30PM every second day, arriving in Ashgabat next morning at 5:20AM. A seat (second class, kupe) costs US$ 1.20. Rail service information has phone 99462.
Go north from Turkmenbashi to Karabogas on a good road with fine views on the Caspian Sea. The last part is a 40 minutes drive from the border on a dirt road to the city of Karabogas (formerly Bekdash). From the Turkmenistan border it is a two hours' drive to Zhanaozen in Kazakhstan.
Turkmenbashi is about 560 km from Ashgabat.
Shared taxis go north to the Kazakhstan border. They stop at Zhanaozen (Novy Uzen). The trip takes 7 hours and costs approx. US$ 40 per car.
There are boats across the Caspian Sea to Baku, Azerbaijan. The journey takes 12 to 18 hours and a seat costs about 50 US$. There are several boats daily, but there is no fixed timetable. Consider that ships might be delayed and that your visa could expire in this time. Bring along your own food and water.