Photos from Turkmenistan

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Turkmenistan was ruled by megalomaniac dictator Saparmurat Niyazov until he died in 2006. He had the center of the capital Ashgabat totally rebuilt, he erected a number of monument to his 'glory' and he imposed a extravagant cult of personality. From Ashgabat, I headed north across the Karakum desert to Konye-Urgench. I visited the ruins of the ancient town of Ürgenç (Urgench), the site of the 12th-century silk road city and capital of Khwarezm, which was razed by Genghis Khan.

Ashgabat Independence Square

Ashgabat : Independence Square and the "Palace of Turkmenbashi",
(gold and white marble) and other government buildings


Ashgabat Berzengi

Ashgabat (Berzengi) : the monument to the Independence of Turkmenistan
also known as "the plunger" and a golden statue of the President,
Mr Saparmyrat Niyazov, who called himself Turkmenbashi ("leader of the Turkmens)


Ashgabat Arch of Neutrality

Ashgabat : the Arch of Neutrality.
Guess whose statue is on top, covered with gold, rotating to follow the sun....
You guessed, it's Mr Megalomaniac President Turkmenbashi


Ashgabat Tolkuchka bazaar

Ashgabat : the colourful Tolkuchka bazaar


Karakum desert

small settlement in the Karakum desert (more deserts)


Karakum desert

Traffic on the road across the Karakum desert (more deserts)


Karakum desert : sand dunes

Karakum desert : sand dunes (more deserts)


Konye-Urgench : Sultan Ali Mausoleum

Konye-Urgench : Sultan Ali Mausoleum



Konye-Urgench : Sultan Ali Mausoleum, underside of the dome.
The geometry represents the calendar. 365 mosaic sections represent
the days of the year. Below, 24 arches represent the hours of the day,
and yet below, 12 bigger arches represent the months of the year


Turkmenistan was part of the 2005 trip

read about the trip
banknotes / billets de banque
story: the megalomaniac dictator
story : crossing the Karakum deserts


to : Uzbekistan

from : Iran





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© Denis LeGourriérec
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