Turkmenistan borders the Caspian Sea in the west, Kazakhstan in the north, Uzbekistan in the northeast, Iran and Afghanistan in the south. The 488,100 square kilometer country is shaped by the Karakum desert. Karakum means black sand. Mountain ranges also rise at the borders. The Kopet Dag Mountains in the south form the natural border with Iran. The Kugitang Mountains with the highest elevation Ayrybaba (3,139 m) are located in the border area between Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
The country’s most important lifeline, the Amu Darya River, the oxus of antiquity, is also the border river between Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The Karakum Canal between Amu Darya and the Caspian Sea is also fed from its water with its almost 1,500 km longest artificial canal in the world.
Of the 5.8 million inhabitants, 77% are Turkmen, 9% Uzbeks, 7% Russians and 2% Kazakhs. Tatars, Azerbaijanis, Armenians, Ukrainians, Koreans and Tajiks also live in the country.
The official language is Turkmen, a language that, like Turkish and Azerbaijani, belongs to the oghusian Turkic languages. The font was changed from Cyrillic to Latin after independence.
The carpets are firmly anchored in the nomadic tribal culture of Turkmenistan. Each tribe had its own motives (Göls). The most important ones even adorn the state flag. There is a carpet ministry and in the capital Ashgabat there is a large carpet museum which houses the largest carpet in the world. Every year at the end of May, the day of the carpet is celebrated with a big celebration.
In addition to the carpets, the famous Ahal Teke horses are inseparable from Turkmenistan.
Ashgabat was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1948. The modern Ashgabat was built from white marble.