Anyone who has ever heard of Ashgabat usually knows one thing about it - the architecture. Ashgabat, the capital of the Central Asian republic of Turkmenistan, is a futuristic wonderland with some of the world's most interresting and unique constructions. In the middle of the desert lies the white marble oasis made famous for such buildings as the largest themomiter, largest indoor ferris wheel and largest number of fountains in one place (want to read more about their world records, click here ). Here are the 5 buildings we think are the coolest:
5. Yyldiz Hotel
Completed in 2015, the Yyldiz Hotel is by far the best hotel in Ashgabat. Built to resemble the shape of the Burj Al Arab, the glittering white and gold tear-shaped building sits on top of a hill on the edge of Ashgabat, giving great views over the city, especially from the restaurant on the 18 th floor which we visit on almost all tours. The entire hotel is extravagantly luxurious, from the chandelier in the lobby, to the sparkly lifts, to the private room in the restaurant. Conveniently though, they of course can’t acknowledge the black market, so prices in the restaurant aren’t that much different to other restaurants, but you can have crocodile, bear, chicken carpaccio, and numerous other fine dining delights.
4. Ashgabat Olympic Stadium
The largest structure in the world in the shape of a horse, this stadium was purpose-built in the centre of the Olympic Complex for the 5 th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in September 2017. With a capacity of 45,000, the stadium was used twice – once for the Opening Ceremony of the Games on September 17 th 2017, and once for the Closing Ceremony on the 27 th . Unfortunately the whole complex is now closed, but the impressive horse’s head is visible from all over the city.
3. Alem Centre “Wheel of Enlightenment”
One of Ashgabat’s many unique biggest-something-in-the-world buildings, this is the biggest enclosed ferris wheel in the world. Like all the others, everything is white and gold, and the five carpets of the five tribes of Turkmenistan feature prominently on the wheel-shaped building. For just 3.2 Manat (20-95c depending on the exchange rate you get), you can even ride the wheel, which will almost certainly be switched on especially for you as no one else will be there. There’s also a games arcade, a food court, a billiards room, a space museum, a bowling alley, a 3D cinema and several cafes, none of which of course are ever open.
2. Ashgabat TV Tower
Another largest of something in the world, this one is the largest structure in the shape of a star. Outside of Ashgabat, it’s built in the Kopetdag Mountains very close to the Iranian border. You can get there by doing a section of the Walk of Health, though the section near the TV Tower is often closed, or you can drive up to it from Ashgabat. You won't be able to get right up though, and if you draw too much attention you'll be shooed away all together, so it's best just to stop a few hundred metres away to take your photos.
1. Ashgabat International Airport, Turkmenistan
Costing over 2 billion USD to construct, the airport was built in the shape of a flying falcon, and with the capacity to process 1,600 passengers per hour, or 17 million passengers per year. In a country which approves around 6,000 tourist visas a year. Totally resplendent, but basically empty all the time, the interior of the airport is both impressive and eerie.
If you'd like to see some of these spectacular and ridiculous buildings, join us in Turkmenistan next year !