For foreign tourists Turkmenistan country seems tempting heat. However, although about 80% of the territory is occupied by the Karakum desert, the variety of climatic zones can satisfy any traveler. Here the magnificent sea coast and the subtropics of the Kopetdag mountains, and the majestic river Amu Darya (the ancient Amul), carrying its waters in the arid areas of the country. On the plateau of the Kugitang Mountains saved fossilized dinosaur footprints, strict beauty of the stalactites and stalagmites of caves causing an anxious delight. Virgin untouched nature of Karry-Kala, with its waterfalls, rocky gorges, and lush vegetation gave this region the name Paradise on earth. Near to Bakharden at the foot of the Kopet-Dagh there is a unique underground lake “Kov-Ata”. There you can swim all year round as the lake is fed by warm sulfur springs. The nature of Turkmenistan gives a unique look of the mountains with relic forests and shady canyons, subtropics with a set of endemic rare plants and animals and picturesque centuries-old natural flora.
The beautiful desert is also striking with its intense life. Proudly camels sedately cross the sea of desolate sands. Wealth of flora and fauna does not meet the established view of the Karakum desert as a dead region. Branches of saksaul tree weave their endless laces in a bright blue sky. Once seeing the desert in bloom (in March — May), you will never forget this magnificent riot of beauty.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE NATURAL SIGHTS OF TURKMENISTAN:
Mountains in Turkmenistan occupy about 20% of the total area. The southern border of the country passes through a mountain ridge the Kopet Dag, which stretches from North-West to South-East about 500 km. Highest point of the Kopet Dag in Turkmenistan is mountain Sahsah in the South-West of Ashgabat, height 2912м. Kopetdag represents normal low mountains with narrow valleys. Valleys positioned in such townships as Archabil, Gokdere, Nohur, Dasht and others. Kopetdag Mountains consist of igneous and sedimentary rocks (limestone), generated on the seabed. Characteristic phenomenon in the foothills of the Kopetdag Mountains is the presence of thermal sources on the basis of which are created world famous health sanatoriums of Archman and medical mud resort of Mollagara.
In the West, natural extension of the Kopetdag are the Large and Small Balkan Mountains and South-Eastern part of Turkmenistan, on the right shore of Amu Derya is Kugitang-Tau, presenting one of the spurs of the Gissar Mountains.
Highest point of Kugitang – is Peak of the Great Turkmenbashiy (Ayirbaba) with height 3137м. In the Kugitang Mountains is home of several unique natural objects, the magnificent winding canyon Umbar-Dere with a waterfall falling from a height of 28m., hydro sulfuric thermal source Kaynar-Baba, gorge, Kyrk-Gyz, grove Unabi, named after the growing in her dates unabi karst freshwater lake Koten. Especially arouses interest is the Plateau of dinosaurs (500 m length., width of 200m.) near the township of Hojapil-ata with more than 2500 footprints of ancient giant pangolins (upper Jurassic period, about 150 million years ago),as herbivorous and predators. The diameter of the large footprints of adults is 70-80 cm, the distance step length is 1.5 m. thus the rise of the dinosaurs were 8 and 12 m., body length up to 5m., all within the 5-10 tons.
In Turkmenistan, are large numbers of caves. The unique monuments of nature are the famous Karluk caves in the Kugitangtau. In the Karluk system there are about 30 caves. Cave Kap-Kotan presents gallery of halls, decorated with stalactites and stalagmites, formed from gypsum, calcite, onyx, aragonite they have poetic and fabulous names of the halls Santa Claus and Snow Maiden, Medusa. One of the most beautiful in the world is the Gulshirin cave, with its famous hall Tale. Many caves have not been explored yet. Rich decorations of the Karluk caves have no equal in Eurasia, and they are rightly included in the List of UNESCO world heritage.
Kov- Ata — one of the natural pearl of Turkmenistan – Bakharden underground lake “Kov-Ata”. In the whole world there are a hundred thousand of caves, the formation of which resulted from carbonate deposits. Formation of these caves has occurred for millions of years, and some of them are archaeological monuments. Currently, the caves are used as balneal caves. Bakharden cave “Kov-Ata”, in translation from Turkmen means “father of caves». The total length of the cave is 250 meters, the depth from the main entrance is 65 meters, and width 50 meters, height 15 meters, the maximum height is 26 meters. Large part of the cave is taken by the lake.
Archabil gorge is a narrow intermundane valley, with length 10 km. with the scenic looking Natural Park on the banks of a mountain stream Firuzinka, which is flowing through the tectonic fault of Central Kopetdag. Sides of the gorge are built of sedimentary rocks. On the site of Firuzinskiy gorge laid narrow-gauge railway which was used by Royals.
Gorge Merjanian is an amazing creation of nature, located along the South-Eastern shore of a lake Sarykamysh, at the bottom of the largest of the channel collection system Daudan. Gorge formed in the late XIII-early XIV centuries. As a result of the water release from Lake Tunuklu in Sarykamysh through a flat sandy-loamy alluvial plain. It is presenting winding canyon with a flat bottom from 15 to 70 m wide and sheer walls up to 35 m tall.
Most beautiful place of the Nohur is – Gorge Aydere – “Bearish”. Just 15km. from the township is a fantastic area of untouched, wild nature. Length of valley, taking beginning from plain of the river Sumbar is great.
In the West, waters of Caspian Sea wash territory of Turkmenistan stretch out by six hundred kilometers. From the shores of the Caspian Sea began geographic study of the Trans Caspian lands, on the coast were laid the foundations of economic and cultural relations of Turkmenistan with the neighbor countries. The Turkmen coast of the Caspian Sea can rightly be called one of the most unique natural places of the country.
Area of the Caspian Sea 372 thousand sq. km and the basin area is 10 times bigger than surface water for 3.6 million sq.km. Length of the sea from North to South is 1,300 km; width at the narrowest point is 200 km, 800 km in a wide. The average depth is 180 m; the max 980 m. Caspian Sea lies 28.5 m below the world ocean level. In the waters of the Caspian Sea, Turkmenistan borders with Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan and Russia. In to the Caspian Sea such flow large rivers as the Volga, Ural, Kura and Terek.
Coast of the Caspian Sea inhabited via rich flora and fauna, many of which are so rare and meet them in their natural conditions is quite difficult. All this amazing beauty can be seen in the Khazar state nature reserve, established in 1932.
Main richness of the sea is fish. In Caspian Sea catches fishes as herring, pike-perches, caspian roach, mullet, sprat, and sturgeon fish. Only in the Caspian Sea living most valuable fish – the Beluga. Caspian Sea is famous for its reserves of oil, gas and various chemical raw materials. World-glory of Turkmen coast of the Caspian Sea has brought not only rich mineral resources but also ecological purity of the sea water and excellent conditions for recreation.
Karakum Canal is one of the national attractions of Turkmenistan. Large-scale artificial river was built during 1955-1962.g. The total length of the Karakum canal is 1100 km, it directly crosses the South-Eastern Karakum, passing through the heart of the desert from Amu Darya to Ashgabat providing water to the major industrial cities Ashgabat, Mary, Balkanabat and Turkmenbashy
Amu Derya is the largest of the rivers in Turkmenistan and Central Asia in total, its length is 2540км, 1,000 km of them falls into the territory of our country. Total catchment area of the Amu Darya waters is measured 227 thousand sq. km. the river is fed by melt water from glaciers and snow, which is leads in to the two spills – in the spring and summer. From the left cost of Amu Derya starts Karakum Canal, which connects the main water artery of the country with rivers Murghab and Tedjen.
Murgap River is second in size and economic importance, the total length of the river – 852км. Of these, 350 km flows through the territory of Turkmenistan.
In the South-Western part of the country, flow rivers Etrek and Sumbar. Into the small mountain rivers flowing from the Northern hillside of the Kopetdag are Arvas, Altiyaz, Sekizyab, Firuzinka, Ashgabat, Beurminka, Karasu, Kozchangan, Dusak, Minecai.
Kov-Ata — one of the natural pearl of Turkmenistan is underground lake “Kov-Ata” in Bakharden. There are a hundred thousand of caves in the world, the formation of which result of carbonate deposits. The formation of these caves has occurred for millions of years, and some of them are archaeological monuments. Currently, the caves are used as a Spa caves. Bakharden cave “Kov-Ata” in translation from Turkmen means “father of caves”.
The total length of the cave is 250 meters; the depth from the main entrance is 65 meters, width 50 meters, height 15 meters, and the maximum height of 26 meters. A large part of the cave is the lake. The cave is known worldwide by its water temperature, which is keeps during the year (from +33 till +37 S0), also with high medical functions (the high content of hydrogen sulfide, bromine, iodine…). Swim in the underground lake “Kov-Ata” during whole year.
Sarykamysh Lake is the largest lake of Turkmenistan. Its area exceeds 2, 200 km. Sarakamysh natural reserve was made for protection of water fowl — pelicans, cormorants and coots.
Nohur famous with waterfalls, one of them”, Hurhuri”, the origins of which 9 high-mountain streams, merging into a small river, with the noise and rainbow sprinkles falling from 53 – meter high cliff.
One of the largest and longest deserts in the world – is the Karakum desert, located on the territory of Turkmenistan. Translated from Turkmen it means “Black Sands”. Majestic sandy desert stretches from South to North and 450 km from East to West by 800 km. Area are 35 million Hectares. The relief is divided into Zaunguzsky, South-Eastern and Central Karakum with the cavity Ungus. The climate here is sharply continental with hot summers and cold winters.
There are many interesting environmental complexes located in Turkmenistan, the main ones are: Bathynski, Repetek, Khazar, Gaplangyr and Kugitang.
Badhyz Nature RESERVE – is located in the South of Turkmenistan. Near to the border with Iran and Afghanistan in the interfluve of the Tejen -Murghab. The majestic and severe nature of this region with a single population of the kulan-onager, which is only survived in Central Asia the only here not more than 150 heads, richness and species diversity of flora and fauna is highly demanded urgent action to preserve them. For preservation of kulans Professor Rozanov has prepared a science-based report of the entire natural complex of the Badhyz on the creation of the reserve and presented it to the Government of Turkmenistan.
3 Dec 1941., despite the heavy military time, Badhyz reserve was established.
In Badhyz reserve retained other rare, valuable animals and plants, many of nowhere else occur. Natural complexes presented in this reserve, on the territory of Eurasia are unique, and therefore it is rightly included among the most important nature reserve in the world and in early 2000. Recommend to inclusion in to List of World cultural and natural heritage of UNESCO.
Rare animals and plants make the reserve one of the most noteworthy places of Turkmenistan. Visiting the reserve, acquaintance with its distinctive nature, leave unforgettable impressions!
Nature Reserve Kugitang – located in the southern part of Lebap velayat. Kugitang Mountains is home of several unique natural objects, especially the magnificent winding canyon Umbar-Dere with a waterfall, which is falling from 28m height. Hydro sulfuric thermal source Kaynar-Baba, gorge, Kyrk-Gyz, the grove Unabi, named after the growing in it unabi dates karst freshwater lake Koten. Especially arouses interest is the Plateau of dinosaurs (500 m length., width of 200m.) near the township of Hojapil-ata with more than 2500 footprints of ancient giant pangolins (upper Jurassic period, about 150 million years ago),as herbivorous and predators. Highest point of Kugitang is – Top Turkmenbashi (Ayirbaba) with height 3137м. The unique monuments of nature are the famous karst Karlyuk caves in the Kugitangtau. Cave Kap-Kotan is presents gallery of halls, decorated with stalactites and stalagmites, formed from gypsum, calcite, onyx, aragonite they have a poetic and fabulous names of the halls Santa Claus and Snow Maiden, Medusa.
Biosphere Reserve Repetek is located in the hot desert about 70 km from Turkmenabat, the administrative center of Lebap velayat. At the Repetek station in 1927 was created the desert creserve to protect the unique forests of black saksaul in the Eastern Karakum and adjacent areas of the desert. The area of the reserve is around to 35 thousand hectares.
The rich flora of the reserve – black saksaul, white saksaul and sandy acacia, black and white kandym and etc. For tourists interest is also fauna of the sand–desert reserve. Here you can meet representatives of almost all species of birds. In the reserve there are about 30 species of large and small animals: wolf, caracal, fox, porcupine, and jackal.
Here you can observe nature in its primary and integrity.