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lauantai 9. tammikuuta 2016

Turkmenistan, Cool Facts #89

<= 88. Uzbekistan                                                                                                         90. Armenia =>

1. Flag Symbolism 

The flag of Turkmenistan has ornaments like the flags of Kazakhstan and Belarus as well. Ornaments are used in hand-woven carpets, of which Turkmenistan is famous for. The five ornament symbols represent the five major clans of Turkmenistan. 

1. Teke clan
2. Yomut clan
3. Saryk clan
4. Chowdur clan
5. Arsary clan 

Carpets in Ashgabat market

2. Karakum Canal

Karakum Canal in Turkmenistan is one of the largest irrigation systems in the world. Built between 1954 and 1988 in the Karakum Desert, where the water of Amu-Darya River was steered. 

The canal made agriculture possible in a vast area of land and especially cotton cultivation, but unfortunately the 1445km long canal was too primitive and it allowed almost 50 percent of the water to escape en route. 

The Karakum Canal was a major factor causing the Aral Sea environmental disaster as the lake lost 80% of its water and half of its size. The high salinity levels made the Aral Sea unsuitable for living organisms. 

Karakum Canal
Karakum Desert

3. President Nijazov 

Saparmurat Nijazov became the president of Turkmenistan in 1991 when the country got independence. He was the president until his death in 2006. Nijazov was quite a personality as he created a personal cult around him. 

Nijazov's actions during his presidency: 

1. Banned lip syncing in public concerts
2. Banished dogs from Ashgabat, because of their unappealing odour
3. Outlawed opera, ballet and circuses, because they weren't Turkmen-like activities
4. Forbid men to have long beards
5. Built a 75m tall statue of himself in Ashgabat
6. Renamed the months and days of the week

Saparmurat Nijazov
Nijazov's golden statue with horse
4. Ruhnama 

President Nijazov wrote a book, which was even more important than the Quran and Bible in Turkmenistan. Ruhnama, was the holy book that Nijazov wrote and which was mandatory to study on all education levels from primary school to the university. You couldn't get a driver's license without passing a test about the teachings of Ruhnama. 

The book had moral codes for different situations, history of Turkmenistan and arts and literature among many other themes. Nijazov was even recorded telling that he had contacted God to ensure that people who read the Ruhnama three times will get automatically to heaven. 

Ruhnama opening ceremony

Giant Ruhnama statue behind golden Nijazov statue

5. Large Natural Reserves

Turkmenistan has really large natural gas and oil reserves. The proven natural gas reserves are the fourth largest in the world. Natural gas pipelines have been built from Turkmenistan through Turkey and Iran to Europe and also to China.

With the profits from the natural gas, the government has given the population free electricity, water, gasoline and many other benefits. Turkmenistan has some disputes with Azerbaijan considering the offshore borders in the area, where there are a lot of natural gas and oil.


1500s Southern Turkmenistan is governed by Persia and the southern parts by Uzbek Khiva and Bukhara Khanates
1700s The Russian tried to conquer the eastern shores of the Caspian Sea without succeeding
1860s Khiva and Bukhara become Russian protectorates
1881 The Battle of Geok Tepe, Turkmens lose to Russian Imperial army and their area is annexed into the Russian Turkestan with the name Trans Caspia
1916 The Turkmens participate with the other Central Asians to rebel against the Russians
1920 The Trans Caspian government is defeated
1924 Turkmenistan becomes a separate Soviet Republic
1920s-30s The collectivization of farms and closing of mosques and quranic schools created resistance against the Soviet Union
1985 When Gorbatshov rose in power also the leader in Central Asian Soviet Republics is changed
1991 Turkmenistan declares independence and Saparmurat Nijazov becomes the first president
1992 New flag is adopted
1999 The constitution was changed and presidency was made to last lifelong
2006 Nijazov dies and Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov becomes the new president
2007 After a constitution reform Turkmenistan shifts to multi-party system and market economy, but only technically 

"Maailman maat liput ja historia" by Kimmo Kiljunen

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