Turkmenistan is the most isolated of Central Asia’s five republics. Largely comprised of desert, a formidable chain of mountains separate it from its southern neighbour Iran. The economy is largely based on oil and natural gas from the Caspian Sea. 800 years ago Turkmenistan was at the epicentre of Silk Road.

Turkmenistan at a glance

Official name: Republic of Turkmenistan

Capital city: Ashgabat (population 730,000)

Other main towns: Turkmenabat, Dashoguz, Mary, Balkanabat

Population: 5,9 million (equivalent to 0.08% of the total world population)

Location: landlocked in Central Asia

Border Countries: Caspian Sea, Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan

Area: 469,930 square kilometers

Climate: severely continental. Summers are long (from May through September), hot and dry, while winters generally are mild and dry, although occasionally cold and damp in the north

Government: Presidential republic.

Life expectancy: men 65, women 72 years

Major exports: natural gas, oil, petroleum products, textiles, food processing

Official language: Turkmen; Russian and Uzbek are also widely used.

Unemployment: approx. 9 %

Religion: Islam (89% of the population), Russian Orthodox around 10%

Currency: Turkmen manat

National airline: Turkmenistan Airline

International telephone code: +993

Time Zone: GMT +5

Electricity: 220 volts (50Hz) (round, two-prong plugs, standard European or older Soviet with thinner pins. European plugs will not fit the Soviet sockets, but adapters available)

Weights and measures: metric

Flag: features a white crescent (symbol of Islam) and five stars representing the five regions of the country. Placed upon a green field is a symbolic representation of the country’s famous carpet industry

National anthem: “Garaşsyz, Bitarap Türkmenistanyň Döwlet Gimni” (National Anthem of Independent Neutral Turkmenistan)

National sports: Equestrianism (the skill of horse riding), Türkmen Göreşi (traditional wrestling), judo, boxing

Public holidays:

1 January: New Year’s Day

12 January: Memorial Day

8 March: International Women’s Day

21-22 March: National spring Festival

18 May: Constitution Day and National Flag Day

27 September: Independence Day

6 October: Day of Remembrance (of the victims of the earthquake in 1948)

12 December: Neutrality Day