In a small village in eastern Turkmenistan, six-year-old Ay`jan nervously smiles as she rides her family’s donkey for the first time. With the guidance of her grand­mother she is taking her favorite cow, Gyzyl, out to the field to graze.
Turkmenistan was once an important stop on the Silk Road. This historically nomadic country is made up of five tribes and family ties are still very important. Elaborate marble buildings and palaces are scattered across the capital city, and yet many Turkmens still use the simple means of transportation of a cart and donkey.
Photo © 2011 Summer Leeper
Peace Corps Volunteer, Turkmenistan 2008-2010


Central Asia

Area 488,100 km2 (RANK 53)

Arable 4.5%

Capital Ashgabat (637K)

Population 5,054,828 (10/km2)

Literacy 99%

Life expectancy 69 yrs

HIV/AIDS <0.1% (> 200 adults)

In poverty 30%

Military 3.4% of GDP (RANK 34 of 195)

Languages Turkmen 72%, Russian 12%, Uzbek 9%, other 7%

Religions Muslim 89%, Eastern Orthodox 9%

Gov’t Presidential Republic

GDP/capita $8,500

Agriculture cotton, grain, melons, livestock

Industry gas, crude oil, petrochemicals, textiles, cotton fiber

PCVs 1993-2013, TTD 734

Focus word for 2014 - "Home"

Turkmen (official): oy (oy)
Russian: dom (dohm)

indigenous design from Turkmenistan

Water dragon in sky from Tibetan Thangka.
Copyright © Julie Olsen

Map of the world


Directors: Arend Agthe; Uzmann Saparov (1994)

Shadow of the Holy Book.
Director: Arto Halonen (2006)

Turkmenistan – Christmas in Ashgabat.
Producer: BBC Radio 3 (2005)

Black Sands.
Also see review at IMDB
Director: Anastasis Agathos (2008)



Sacred Horses, The Memoirs of a Turkmen Cowboy
by Jonathan Maslow, 1994
Book Description
Natu­ralist/filmmaker, Maslow, profiles the dedication of owners/breeders and their struggles to preserve the fabled, once endangered Akhal-Teke horses.

Kids' Books

Waiting for the Owl’s Call
by Gloria Whelan
2009. 32 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1585364183
Ages 5-8

Dance & Music

Shankar Tucker

Mugam – Azerbaijani Traditional Songs

Aalap Raju


Kädi Bulamak/Pumpkin Soup
Gökli Börek/Spinach Dumplings