Turkmenistan . . . formerly known as Turkmenia is a country in Central Asia, bordered by Kazakhstan to the northwest, Uzbekistan to the north and east, Afghanistan to the southeast, Iran to the south and southwest, and the Caspian Sea to the west.The country is mostly desert, and it is up to its ass in natural gas -- fourth-largest reserves in the world. That might be pre-fracking in the U.S., though. It also has a lot of oil, and grows a lot of cotton. It has a hard time getting that stuff out of the country, though, because it is so isolated. Apparently, tourism is on the rise. If you like sand, and mosques, I guess:
Turkmenistan has been at the crossroads of civilizations for centuries. In medieval times, Merv was one of the great cities of the Islamic world and an important stop on the Silk Road, a caravan route used for trade with China until the mid-15th century. Annexed by the Russian Empire in 1881, Turkmenistan later figured prominently in the anti-Bolshevik movement in Central Asia. In 1924, Turkmenistan became a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic (Turkmen SSR); it became independent upon the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.
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