Hi all. Well, I thought I might as well get out another post whilst I have the chance and things are fresh in my mind. Back at my hotel in Ashgabat right now – and with no access to Instagram, Facebook or What’s App this seems to be the best way to relay my experiences home!
So anyways, today started from my hotel and I was taken out by my guide and driver to see Memorial Park. Ashgabat was destroyed by an earthquake back in 1948. By this I mean 90% of the population were killed by this event, which is about as devastating as an earthquake gets I guess. The memorial is also to those who fought and died in World War Two (for the Soviet Union). There is an eternal flame and to represent the earthquake a bull holding up the world on its horns, and when it got tired and drooped a little, that’s what caused the earthquake.
From there we went to the ancient city of Nisa. Right now there were excavators busy doing archaeological digging discovering more about this Parthian Capital. It’s partially restored, and a good deal of the artefacts can be seen in the National Museum of History, which I visited yesterday. The city ruled the Parthian Empire from 247BC to 224AD, an Empire which spread from the Indus River to what is modern day Eastern Turkey.
From there we visited the mausoleum of the first President of Turkmenistan, Turkmenbashi. He was the only survivor of his family from the 1948 earthquake and grew up an orphan to become the architect of modern Turkmenistan. There is a mosque there also dedicated to him, one of the biggest you are ever likely to see.
Goek Tepe is the site of an ancient fortress. Today a reconstructed wall is there around a mosque to commemorate all the soldiers that died in the late 19th century defending it against Russian Invasion.
Lunch was outside the entrance to Kow Ata, an underground lake deep inside a cave down many, many steps. Although it’s popular for swimming, I decided against swimming as there was a lot of stuff floating on top, and a lot of pigeons and bats in the cave.
Finally, we visited the village of Nohor where the villagers (about 7000) believe they are descendants of Alexander the Great. They use rams’ horns to adorn their graves and are somewhat of a closed community in as much as they usually only marry others from the village. There is a giant maple tree there said to be over 1000 years old, and obviously we visited the cemetery.
Well, that’s a fair summary of today’s activities. Tomorrow sees my tour head off to Mary and to see the ancient city of Merv. Thanks for stopping by today – and of course, May the Journey Never End!