A map of Turkmenistan Most of Turkmenistan is covered by desert, the Karakum, or “black sand” desert. The Karakum is one of the world’s driest deserts: some places receive just 12 millimetres (0.5 inches) of rain each year. Along Turkmenistan’s southern border with Iran, the land rises to the high mountains of the Kopet Dag Range. Turkmenistan has a dry, semi-desert climate. Summers are extremely hot, while winters are mild and cool. Turkmenistan was once a republic within the Soviet Union, but declared its independence in 1991.
Turkmenistan has stood at the crossroads between Eastern and Western civilizations for centuries. In medieval times, Merv (Mary), one of the great cities of the Islamic world, was a trading post on the Silk Road, a caravan route between China and the Middle East.
Since 1993, people in Turkmenistan have received free electricity, water and gas from the Turkmen government.
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