Modern Marble Ashgabat

Posted by on August 13, 2012

City of Palaces

Modern shiny new Ashgabat doesn’t play around. Remember that moment in Sim City 2000 when everything was in perfect order, just before the option to build Arcologies opened up? Well, I never got there because I always used the Urban Renewal Kit to cheat my way to megalopolis. Still, though, thats what I think about while walking around the newer part of Ashgabat.

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The palace is, obviously, palatial. The weird thing, though, is that so is every other government building. The universities, the theaters, the ministries and monuments. they all seem to be built out of shining white marble.

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Unfortunately I only have pictures of a very few, because outside of almost every official building stand two or three soldiers/police who don’t take kindly to photography (or, at times, even approaching too near).

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Even in the suburbs, the trend holds. Monuments that plunge into the heights of the sky. Apartment buildings nicer looking than my college.

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Across the newer part of the city, its the same. When the city planners came to a point where another high-rise wouldn’t do, did they give up? No, they did not! Instead, they built a giant statue of a famous warrior/musician/poet/president!

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As if all this weren’t enough, they took the city sitting in the middle of one of the world’s most famously harsh desert landscapes, and studded it with fountains. Water pouring from the ground all over the city! I bet the Imperial Russian army roll over in their sandy tombs just thinking of it.

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One weird part, though, is that there are almost no pedestrians on the sidewalks compared to most capital cities. Driving is cheap and the busses are efficient, I guess, but it was odd feeling to have such spacious sidewalks all to myself.

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There’s really only so many ways to say it, but Ashgabat is at times a strikingly pretty city. So, enjoy some photos!

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5 Responses to Modern Marble Ashgabat

  1. Nan

    You are right,it does seem strange that all those beautiful buildings are there & no one out to see the beauty??

  2. Ahimsa

    I can’t believe you went to Turkmenistan. What an epic journey. Keep up the great photos, please!

    • Stephen

      Its a cool little country, though definitely hard to get to. Thanks for checking it out, and get ready for a TON more photos from Central Asia!

  3. Ahimsa

    Oh I’m ready. I’m especially curious to hear about Kyrgyzstan, which has always seemed the most interesting (or perhaps the most beautiful) of the ‘Stans.

    Have you read Paul Theroux’s Ghost Train to the Eastern Star? It’s couple years old (back when Türkmenbaşy was still around) but a rather exceptional look at some the places you’ve been/are going.

    • Stephen

      I’m actually living in Kyrgyzstan for a few months right now studying Russian. I haven’t really gotten out of Bishkek much yet, but am hoping to do more exploring next month.

      Thats actually one of the Theroux books I haven’t gotten yet, but just added it to my Amazon wish list to pick up next time I’m in the US. Thanks for the tip!

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