Ashgabat (Turkmen: Asgabat, also Ashkabat, Ashkhabad, Ashgabad, etc) is the capital of Turkmenistan, surrounded by Ahal Province.Ashgabat is a showpiece capital. It has been designed, at the cost of billions of dollars, to show the world about the glories and accomplishments of the Turkmen. The city looks like none other on Earth a thoroughly artificial collection of white marble buildings across a long, dry valley. At sunrise or sunset, there’s a beauty to this uniform, outsized ambition, as if the set of a science-fiction film suddenly became an actual human settlement. During the scorching days, when walking from monument to monument across the shadeless streets, or trying to locate anything resembling normal human life in the center, Terry Gilliam’s Brazil seems like the most accurate comparison.Image control is taken very seriously. You will encounter many, many security guards and policemen with a strong opinion about how to behave and not behave in the capital. Don’t take pictures of the presidential compound or military complexes (a large barracks is right next to the palace). Avoid areas with roadblocks or where it seems like senior officials may be present. Most other buildings are generally OK  although this could change at any time. Outside of the monuments, best to snap a quick picture and move on.While large chunks of land in the city are taken up by the dreams of independent Turkmenistan’s two presidents, pockets of an older, simpler life survive. Areas of the city with small apartment buildings and quiet neighborhood restaurants can be found, sometimes just off to the side of these large buildings. Head to the outskirts and country Turkmen life appears with surprising rapidity. Ashgabat is served by the brand-new Oguz Han International Airport. Taxi drivers will want 20 manat for the short trip into town

Airport: ASB Ashgabat International Airport Cities in Turkey

Country: Turkmenistan