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Welcome to Min-On’s Music Journey! Today, the Min-On Concert Association and the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Japan welcome you to Turkmenistan in southwestern Central Asia.

Turkmenistan has a desert climate, with the Karakum Desert making up about 85% of the country’s area. Many cultures have blossomed in these lands along the Silk Road since ancient times. Even today, Turkmenistan continues to grow and develop, thanks to abundant natural resources.

Travel guide for Turkmenistan:

・Explore the beautiful marble architecture of Ashgabat, the “White City”
・Trace the history of the Silk Road at Turkmenistan’s three World Heritage Sites
・Enjoy the beautiful designs and colors of Turkmen rugs

Alongside Switzerland and Austria, Turkmenistan is one of only three permanent neutral countries in the world. Join us today as we explore Turkmenistan while enjoying the local music.

The modern marble capital of Ashgabat

The capital of Ashgabat is a modern city that about one million people call home. The city is known for more than 700 buildings made of snow-white marble that line its beautifully maintained streets. Ashgabat is even listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the city containing the most marble in the world.

The crowning jewel is the Gypjak Mosque, the symbol of Ashgabat. The mosque has pristine white walls capped with a golden roof, and it is the largest mosque in Asia. It is also called the “Soul Mosque.” Ashgabat is also famous for unique architecture designs and concepts, such as the Alem (“the universe”) Ferris Wheel, the largest indoor ferris wheel in the world, and the Wedding Palace, the largest star-shaped building in the world.

The Gypjak Mosque

The Alem (“The Universe”) Ferris Wheel (left) and The Wedding Palace (right)

Please enjoy the following song by Parahat Amandurdyyev, a musician recommended by the Embassy of Turkmenistan, along with a beautiful view of Ashgabat.

Ashgabat Parahat Amandurdyyev 


Historic ruins with Silk Road history

Turkmenistan has a rich history of civilization prospering along the Silk Road. All three of the World Heritage Sites in Turkmenistan have a connection to the Silk Road, giving them incredible historic value.

Nisa Ruins (World Heritage Site)

Traveling about 15 km west of Ashgabat brings us to the Nisa Ruins. This is the birthplace of the Parthian Empire, which flourished from the mid-3rd century BC to the 3rd century AD. Evidence of a Zoroastrian temple and a wine cellar remain within the fortress where the royal palace once stood. Archaeologists also found many priceless artifacts inside, including a marble statue of a Nisa goddess and ivory rithons (wine cups).

Kunya-Urgench (World Heritage Site)

Kunya-Urgench was once the largest city on the Silk Road. It’s still home to incredible sights that remain today, like the 60-meter-high Kutlug Timur Minaret and the Mausoleum of Tyurabek-khanym, which was built in the 14th century.

Merv Ruins (World Heritage Site)

This city site flourished as an oasis along the Silk Road for centuries, from the 6th to the 18th century BC. These are the largest historic ruins in Central Asia. They were also the first World Heritage Site to be registered in Turkmenistan, listed under the title The State Historical and Cultural Park, ‘Ancient Merv.’

Turkmen rugs, unparalleled traditional craftsmanship

Turkmen rugs are an important traditional industry fostered since antiquity. The techniques for weaving Turkmen rugs are traditionally passed down from mother to daughter, meaning that many Turkmen girls polish their skills from a very early age.

The beautiful geometric designs vary from family to family, and common motifs are based on natural scenery and living environment. A deep red is typically used as the base color.

Rug-lovers across the globe prize Turkmen rugs for their craftsmanship, as they are made using a combination of refined techniques. For the local people, though, they hold more than just material value – they are a precious part of their culture, representing family pride and centuries of Turkmen tradition. From the construction of a rug museum that houses no less than 100,000 Turkmen rugs to the use of a Turkmen rug design on the national flag, it is no exaggeration to say that Turkmen rugs are treasured in the hearts of Turkmen people.

Traditional music and literature

Turkmenistan has a rustic, warm music culture, best exemplified by the traditional music played by traveling Turkmen musicians called bakhshi. Turkmen music primarily uses the instruments below, which are both known for their rustic, rich tones.

Dutar A two-stringed plucked instrument widely used in Central Asia
Tuiduk A wind instrument similar to a flute used for celebrations


Next, we’d like to feature a video that features the sound of the tuiduk from the Jamal Music Ensemble’s performance in “A Musical Voyage along the Silk Road” hosted by Min-On in 1993. 



Turkmenistan is also known for how its people still speak the Turkmen language, in contrast to many other Islamic nations where Arabic became widespread. The folk poet Magtymguly also used a form of Turkmen that was similar to the spoken language, and his beautiful poems exploring human nature, morality and patriotism had a deep impact on Turkmen literature.

In modern Turkmenistan, he is still seen as a major national figure, and some national universities and ballet theatres are named after him.

Next, please enjoy hearing more traditional Turkmen instruments, beginning with a dutar piece from the same concert mentioned above.

“Nye Bagduidi Nye Bakban”


Musicians recommended by the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Japan

In closing, we would like to introduce musicians recommended by the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Japan.

  1. Turkmenistan Annaguly Myratdurdyyev


  1. Ashgabat- My Love city Gulshat Gurdova


  1. Pray for me Mother Züleýha Kakaýewa


What did you think of your music journey to Turkmenistan? There are still many more places to go! Please look forward to our next destination.

(Produced in collaboration with the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Japan, who also provided photos.)

Min-On Concert Association

-Music Binds Our Hearts-