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Turkmenbashi
 
Turkmenbashi

Turkmenbashi is located on the shores of the Caspian Sea. In the Soviet days the city was known as Krasnovodsk, but the president gave the city the honour of bearing the same name he uses to describe himself: Father of Turkmens.
It takes a bit of an optimist to enjoy yourself in Turkmenbashi. `Miserable', `joyless' and a 'desolate dust-heap' are some of the words that spring to mind. But if you wear your pink sunglasses and can cope with th heat and the dust, you see a single-storey, pastel-painted port, where you can relax before heading off into more desolate places. When it cools down a bit you can make hikes into the surrounding mountains that offer fine views of the town.

Turkmenbashi is something of a regional travel hub. There are ferries from Turkmenbashi to Baku in Azerbaijan and an irregular service takes you to Astrakhan in Russia. It is theoretically possible to travel from Moscow to Turkmenbashi via the Volga River and the Caspian Sea without setting foot on dry land.

The terminus of the Trans Caspian railway is also in Turkmenbashi, from where it runs through Ashgabat before it crosses into Uzbekistan near the city of Chardzhou. Approximate rail times from Turkmenbashi to Tashkent is 24 hours, to Dushanbe is 36 hours and to Moscow is 3 days. A rail link to the Iranian network, enabling train travel from Turkmenistan to Turkey (Istanbul), was completed in 1996.


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