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Turkmenistan Information - Page 1
Geography
Turkmenistan is a republic in Central Asia. It is bordered by the Caspian Sea, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Iran.

Ashgabat is the capital city. Turkmenbashy is a large port on the Caspian Sea. Other important cities are Dasoguz, Mary and Turkmenabat.

The terrain of Turkmenistan is mostly flat desert with some mountainous territory. The main water source is the Amu Darya River.

The climate of Turkmenistan is desert continental with hot summers and cold winters.

Environment
The Karakum Desert, including its oases, covers a large percentage of Turkmenistan. The arid land is watered by the Amu Darya River, the Artek, the Murgab and the Tejen. A system of canals distributes water; the Karakum Canal, is one of the world's longest irrigation canals.

Turkmenistan's nature reserves protect a variety of landscapes including desert and mountainous regions. Reserves are the Amudarya State Reserve, Kopet-Dag State Reserve, Repetek Desert Reserve and Khazar State Reserve. Gazelles, jerboas, snakes, jackals and leopards inhabit the protected areas and seals can be found in the Caspian Sea.

Architecture
Turkmenistan has a number of ancient sites.

The archaeological sites of the Parthian Fortresses of Nisa are on the World Heritage List. The Parthian Empire was a major power from the middle of the third century BC to the third century AD.

Merv, also a World Heritage site, was a famous oasis city on the Silk Road, a trade route from Europe to China. Merv is Turkmenistan's oldest oasis city.

Kunya-Urgench, inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2005, is a town dating from the eleventh century.

A number of buildings of historic interest, including those in the capital, were destroyed in the 1948 earthquake.

Today, many people live in modern apartment blocks. However, in Ashgabat classical architecture was favoured by President Niyazov who led Turkmenistan for twenty years.

Population
The population of Turkmenistan was estimated at 4,884,890 in 2009.

Languages
Turkmen is spoken by over seventy percent of the people. Russian and Uzbek are also spoken.

Religion
The majority of the people follow Islam; nine percent belong to the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Food
Traditional food in Turkmenistan includes bread, thick soups and meat dumplings. Other popular dishes are shashlik (mutton cooked on skewers) and fried meat.

Pilav is a favourite dish consisting of mutton, onions, carrots or turnips, garlic and rice. Near the Caspian Sea, fish is used in pilav instead of meat. Pilav is also prepared using dried fruit.

Almonds, figs, grapes, melons and pomegranates are available.

Tea is part of Turkmenistan's culture and is always offered to visitors. Turkmen tea is green and Russian tea is black. Alcoholic drinks include wine and vodka.

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