Turkmenistan's capital and largest city, Ashgabat is an urban oasis. It is set amidst the vast, sprawling sands of the Kara Kum desert and the craggy peaks of the Kopet Dag mountain range which separates the country from neighboring Iran. With humble beginnings as a village established by the Russians in 1881, the city lies on the ancient Silk Road route and near to the site of the historic Parthian capital of Nisa. With a deep thread of history and a recent rapid growth in popularity and development, Ashgabat is a glorious clash of old and new Turkmenistan.
Ashgabat and its surroundings are packed with monuments to the past, from ancient, crumbling fortresses of long forgotten empires to beautiful statues celebrating the country's independence. Immaculately manicured lawns and intricately-tiled walls characterize the city center while for miles around, sites of interest include historic ruins and rugged scenery.