14th June – Ashgabat

Today we have a tour of Ashgabat which is known as the city of white marble. The city was destroyed in 1948 by an earthquake and was rebuilt by the Russians.  When the Russians pulled out and the first president was appointed he started building enormous white marble buildings.  As we drive through the city we hardly see any cars or people, which seems quite strange for a city of 1 million people.

We drive up to a hill that overlooks the city and on the very top is a building that is for wedding ceremonies with a huge globe and a gold Turkmenistan.  There is a new and very expensive hotel that looks like a spaceship off to one side.

On the opposite hill is a TV station that is in the Guinness Book of Records for the largest eight pointed star in the world.

The city boasts an indoor Ferris Wheel, which gives the passengers a great view of the workings of the wheel!  The wheel is enclosed in glass so presumably there is also a view over the city.

The apartment buildings are also white as are all the light poles that are white and gold.

There is an enormous monument built in 2011 to eternalize the neutrality status of Independent Turkmenistan, recognized by The General Assembly of the United Nations on 12th December 1995 as the first neutral state in the world.  There is a gold statue of the President on the top.

Surrounding the monument are white paths leading through an immaculate park that has white benches, water features and white eight pointed star shaped rotundas for shade.

Even the university is white & gold, but not a student in sight.  This is really a very Bizarre city with so many huge and predominantly white & gold buildings. Some of the buildings have nick names, like the plunger!

We visit a monument to past heroes of Turkmenistan, some of them poets, some of them warriors.  It is immaculately neat & clean with black & gold statues around the building that is being guarded by 2 guards in boxes and a policeman. There is a path that leads down through a water fall to a long avenue where there are more black & gold warriors an d also a gold statue of the president.

We visit the ancient ruins of Nisa.

We then visit Turkmenbashi Ruhy Mosque, the largest Mosque in Central Asia & the Turkmenbashi Mausoleum.  The Mosque is magnificent inside.

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