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Monday 24th June
Turkmenistan Information - Page 2
Present-day Turkmenistan has been inhabited for many thousands of years; farming settlements were in existence eight thousand years ago and nomads have roamed the region since early times.

Over the centuries the region has been controlled by many empires including those of Persia, Alexander of Macedon, Arabs, Seljuq Turks, Mongols, Timurids, Uzbek Khanates and Russians.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century present-day Turkmenistan was annexed by Russia and became part of Russian Turkestan.

In 1924 and 1925 the USSR reorganised its Central Asian territory; Turkestan was abolished and Turkmenistan became a full constituent republic of the USSR. Members of the former USSR were Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Estonia (from WW2), Latvia (from WW2), Lithuania (from WW2) and Moldova (from WW2).

Following the Second World War, a "Cold War" existed between the USSR and the West. This situation continued until Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in 1985 introducing extensive political and economic reforms (Perestroika) and calling for a greater openness (Glasnost) between nations.

At the end of 1991 the USSR was dissolved and Turkmenistan became independent.

The agricultural sector is a large employer in Turkmenistan. Cotton is the most important crop. Other agricultural crops are wheat, millet, alfalfa, fruit, olives and sesame. Karakul sheep, camels and horses are reared. Silkworms are bred.

Turkmenistan has very significant gas and oil reserves.

At the end of 2009 a pipeline opened for gas exports to China and in 2010 a pipeline was opened to Iran. Around five years later work started on a pipeline to carry gas from Turkmenistan to India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Other industries include construction, petroleum products, textiles, handmade carpets and food processing.

Tourism is an important area for development with the focus on infrastructure and tourist facilities. Turkmenistan has one of the most up-to-date airports in the region and modern tourist and conference facilities. (2016)

Turkmen folk art includes jewellery, embroidery, weaving and carpet-making. Turkmen carpets have been world famous throughout the centuries.

Music is an important part of Turkmen culture. The story of Koroglu is the oldest Turkmen song. Koroglu is an epic consisting of 209 verses; selected verses are accompanied by music. Traditional instruments include the lute, flute and single reed pipes.

Horse riding and falconry are traditional sports in Turkmenistan. There is a National Falconers Club of Turkmenistan.

Football is a popular team game.

Muslim holy days are observed. Other days celebrated in Turkmenistan include New Year's Day (l January), Women's Day (8 March), Victory Day (9 May), Remembrance Day (6 October) and Independence Day (27 October).

News from Turkmenistan is available from Newslink.

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