Category:   World Travel Directory  :  Asia  :  Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan is a Turkic country in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic (Turkmen SSR). It is bordered by Afghanistan to the southeast, Iran to the southwest, Uzbekistan to the northeast, Kazakhstan to the northwest, and the Caspian Sea to the west. The name Turkmenistan derives from Persian, meaning "land of the Turkmen".

The name of its capital, Ashgabat, means "the City of Arsaces" in Persian. It also loosely translates as "the city of love" or "the city that love built", derived in folk etymology from the Arabic ishq for "love" with the Persian suffix abad for "inhabited" or "built".

Turkmenistan's GDP growth rate of 11.5% (IMF estimate for 2007) ranks 11th in the world, but official government statistics on which this estimate is based are widely regarded as unreliable. Although it is wealthy in natural resources in certain areas, most of the country is covered by the Karakum (Black Sands) Desert.

It has a single-party system, and was ruled by President for Life Saparmurat Niyazov (called "Turkmenbashi", or "leader of the Turkmen") until his sudden death on 21 December 2006. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow was elected the new president on 11 February 2007. Source

Turkmenistan Facts

Population: 5 million

Capital: Ashgabat

Currency: Turkmen new manat

Area: 488,100 km2

Language: Turkmen

Main Religion: Muslim

Calling Code: +993

Time Zone: GMT + 5

Main Cities: Ashgabat, Turkmenabat, Mary, Balkanabat, Bayramaly, Turnmenbasy, Tejen, Buzmeyen, Gowurdak, Atamyrat