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An extreme personality cult

date of entry 20/05/2006
mileage 538,269

capital Aşgabat

area 488.100 km²

population 7 M.

GDP 26.909 M. US-Dollar

official language Turkmen

When Gunther and Christine visited Turkmenistan in May 2006, two things were never far away: the Karakum desert, which occupies some 95 percent of the country, and portraits of President Saparmurat Niyazov, who died in December of that year. Countless portraits and statues of the dictator and his family were placed all over the country.
  • The other ubiquitous feature of Turkmenistan is the Karakum desert, which occupies around 95 percent of the country.
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  • Otto arrived in Turkmenistan by ship, and landed in the port of Türkmenbaşy, The port city is named after the former president...
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  • who gave himself the honorary title of Türkmenbaşy, meaning "leader of the Turkmens". During his dictatorship, which lasted from 1992 to 2006, he created a huge personality cult around himself and his parents.
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  • There were portrayals of him all over the country, and he died in late 2006, the year Otto visited.
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  • Video: Turkmenistan: a place you don’t forget in a hurry