This is the last delivery of Turkmenistan pictures. In the previous post I posted the Darvaza gas crater video because I thought it was more beautiful to see the crater in video before seeing the pictures. If you haven’t seen the video, I think that it’s better you see it before these pictures. Click here to see it.
On the way to the crater we stop in a small village of the Karakum desert. In Ashgabat people are fined for having a dirty car, making people wash it one day after rain and here there is no road with asphalt, isn’t it contradictory?
People here are more receptive. Kids bored of so much dark sand, Karakum means black sand, come with their curiosity to see the eventual tourist.
Two goats fighting, it’s a village with a simple life where you can see goats, camels and chickens wandering between the houses.
In the background a yurt. The traditional nomad house. It’s easy to transport as you can pack it. It’s been used during generations to move to the summer pastures as here it only rains 25 millimetres a year. It’s used in all the countries in Central Asia and in others like India, China or Mongolia. People here are still semi nomad.
The school uniforms.
Some more traditional dresses.
Kids of the village.
Plats, pony tales and other decorations.
After seing the village we went to the craters. There is one full of water, other with bubbling mud, the one in the picture and at last the most impressive the gas one.
Some German travellers. I’m joyous about people that travels with their vehicle but at the same time you become the save of it.
The sunset starts in the desert.
Every time I see the pictures a smile comes into my face, I’ve loved the crater.
The place is worth a self portrait photo.
After the sunset and recording the video at night it’s time to wake up early. During night I recorded the video alone, which was quite disquieting. Sunrise was as I like, lonely and private, the crater was just for me.
The place is worth a second self portrait, this time with a sleepy face. I’ve been lucky to see it, seems that they are building a new plant to collect the gas. 60 years later the crater will stop burning.
The same picture but not spoiling it with my sleepy face.
Another car camped near ours. A French guy had come to see the place, it’s in the picture in the distance revealing the size of the crater.
I leave this infernal circle with a new dose of happiness.
We go towards the border and we stop to see Amu-Darya river from which the water goes to the cotton field to allow two harvests a year. The water is distributed by the biggest irrigation channel in the world, it’s 1100 kilometres. I would have preferred not to have seen the bridge pillars before crossing.
We stoppe in Konye-Urgench. It was one of the most important cities in Central Asia until 1221 when Genghis Khan laid siege on it for six months and then flooded it extolling a dam in the Amu-Darya river.
After it’s reconstruction Timur destroyed it as it was a rival for Samarkand. After destroying Konye-Urgench the capital of the Muslim world was moved to Samarkand.
We see a local tradition. Young girls go spinning down a little slope. At the end they pretend they’ve died and then come back to life. This symbolizes a rebirth having gotten purified during the process. They are also supposed to go straight meaning they’ll have a good future not as the one in the picture.
The Uglut Timur minaret is the only thing that has survived from the old Urgench mosque. It’s form 1320 is 59 meters now.
Turkmenistan is one of the most closed countries in the world. It’s rules to get into the country are similar to the ones in North Korea when as a foreigner you feel like a authentic stranger. They say that with this closed system they avoid the mafias and drugs that leave Afghanistan. The same old paths from the silk road used to bring drugs to Europe through Central Asia.
The country has money, a lot. If they use it in the right way they’ll have a great future. If they use it incorrectly it’ll be a country with too many parks, too much white marble and too many golden statues that nobody will want to clean. I don’t know if I’ll come back a day to see what has happened. Having been here has been perturbing and interesting some how.
As a last picture of Turkmenistan a picture of Turkmenabashi statue with his own book in his hand. His great slogan was “People Nation Turkmenabashi”. He could have also said “Turkmenabashi People Nation”, nobody would have been surprised.
Dima, the guide, leaves me at the border with Uzbekistan. He helps me to fill up the papers, in half of the blanks he says “that doesn’t matter” followed by a loud laugh, he also finds so many papers are a nonsense. We say goodbye. It’s been fun, his laugh is contagious and laughing is always good.
From the Turkmenistan border police post there is 500 meters of no mans land to Uzbekistan, a small van takes me there. Incredibly there is also cotton planted here.
In one hour I’ll be in Khiva, the smaller of the three marvelous cities that awaits me in Uzbekistan, Central Asia jewel. The other two cities are Bukhara and Samarkand. I have enormous expectations of what I’ll find here.
- Darvaza gas crater.
- Give me three slaves, please.
- Samarkand – Planes, trains, automobiles.