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Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

Situated between the Kara Kum Desert and the Kopet Dag mountain range, Ashgabat’s fountains, golden domes and towering modern buildings appear strangely incongruous in this desert setting.

Ashgabat is the capital of Turkmenistan that was founded in 1881. It is often referred to as "The City of White Marble," and is even listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the most white marble-clad buildings in the world. Over 500 newly erected buildings that are lined with white marble cover a total area of 4.5 million square meters.

In fact, many places in Ashgabat are included in the Guinness Records - the city is home to the largest fountain complex called “Oguzkhan and Sons” with the total fountain area of 15 hectares. What is more it encompasses the biggest architectural monument to a star - the Oguzkhan Star on the Turkmen television tower.

Among the city’s must-sees is the Alem Entertainment Center. The unique futuristic building is topped with a wheel that is the world's largest enclosed Ferris wheel. A one-of-a-kind building with a similar style is the Palace of Happiness that is also worth a visit.

One of Ashgabat’s main attractions is the Independence Monument - a 118 meter high column set on a semicircular sphere, symbolizing a yurt, topped with a crescent moon and five stars.

There are also many golden statues of Saparmurat Niyazov (the former president for Life of Turkmenistan) placed in the city. The Monument of Neutrality which is the highest structure in Turkmenistan with a gold statue of Turkmenbashi on the top is worth seeing just as is the monument with 10 hardy desert horses, the national symbol, that mark the country’s 10 years of independence.

There are many museums in the capital. The new National Museum displays the most valuable archaeological finds related to the country’s ancient history including over 2500 exhibits of traditional crafts and a folk art of the 17th - 19th centuries. The Capital Carpet Museum is a one-of-a-kind place that encompasses hundreds of the best carpets some of which date back to the 17th century. The main exhibit here is the largest carpet in the world that is about 400 square meters and weighs more than a ton.

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Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

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Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

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