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Thursday 23rd May
Turkmenistan Facts
Gora Ayribaba (3,139 m) is the highest point in Turkmenistan.

The Karakum Canal is one of the world's longest irrigation canals.

The Karakum Desert, covering over eighty percent of Turkmenistan, is one of the world's largest sand deserts.

The Kugitang Reserve is famous for its rock plateau imprinted with dinosaur footprints.

The main river in Turkmenistan is the Amu Darya river which used to be known as the Oxus.

Turkmenistan borders the Caspian Sea, the world's largest enclosed body of water.

Turkmenistan has very large natural gas reserves.

From early times pastoral nomads have lived in Turkmenistan.

The yurta, a collapsible tent with a wooden frame, is the traditional nomad home.

Turkmen carpets have been world famous throughout the centuries.

The national dress of the peoples of Turkmenistan is part of the folk art of Turkmenistan.

The Arvana dromedary camel is bred in Turkmenistan.

Turkmenistan is famous for breeding horses. The Akhal-Teke horse is reared in the southern region of Turkmenistan.

Originally a war horse, the Akhal-Teke horse is bred as a racehorse.

It is believed that horse mummies found in the permafrost grave of a Scythian king, in Russia, were those of the Akhal-Teke breed. This discovery points to the early origins of the Akhal-Teke horse.

An Akhal-Teke horse forms part of the State Emblem of Turkmenistan.

The ancient oasis city of Merv was an important trading centre on the Silk Road, the trade route between China and Europe.

Merv and Khiva were major Turkmen cultural centres. (Khiva is now part of Uzbekistan).

During the First World War the Turkmen of Central Asia set up a national government. Following the War the region became part of the USSR.

The Basmachi Rebellion (1916-31) was a revolt against Soviet rule.

Turkmenistan was part of the Soviet Union. 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).

Huge earthquakes occurred in Turkmenistan in 1895, 1924 and 1948. The city of Ashghabat was destroyed in the in the 1948 earthquake.

Saparmyrat Niyazov, who led Turkmenistan for over twenty years, died in December 2006.

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