Top ChoiceTurkish in Ashgabat

Çeşme

This charming red-painted cellar in the backstreets between the train station and the Hotel Paýtagt attracts a thoroughly local crowd, but you'll be made to feel very welcome. It's all about the sublime kebabs...

Market in Ashgabat

Tolkuchka Bazaar

Once one of Central Asia’s most spectacular sights, Ashgabat's legendary Tolkuchka Bazaar is now sadly unregonisable following a government relocation from its time immemorial location in 2010. Now housed in a...

Museum in Ashgabat

National Museum

Looking like a lost palace in the urban desert, the National Museum occupies a striking position in front of the Kopet Dag. It’s actually a collection of three pricey museums – the History Museum, the Nature...

Memorial in Ashgabat

Halk Hakydasy Memorial Complex

Unveiled in 2014, this vast complex features three memorials honouring those that died in the 1948 earthquake, soldiers who perished in WWII and those killed in other Turkmen battles. The Earthquake Memorial...

Square in Ashgabat

Independence Square

At the centre of Ashgabat is the enormous Independence Square, on which sits the golden-domed Palace of Turkmenbashi (the place of work of the former president), the Ministry of Fairness, the Ministry of Defence...

Monument in Ashgabat

Arch of Neutrality

Once the centrepiece of Niyazov's Ashgabat, the Arch of Neutrality was erected to celebrate the Turkmen people's unsurprisingly unanimous endorsement of Turkmenbashi's policy of neutrality in 1998. Above the arch...

Museum in Ashgabat

Carpet Museum

While there’s a limit to the number of rugs the average visitor can stand, the central exhibit, the world’s largest handwoven rug, really is something to see (though you can see it hanging from the lobby when you...

European in Ashgabat

Sim Sim

Now a decade old, this one-time upstart is something of an establishment favourite. Despite its try-hard-and-fail decor, which is just tacky, the service and food here are top notch. The dishes are international...

International in Ashgabat

Köpetdag

This imaginatively run place set in a charming garden with cabins for private dining, as well as outdoor tables in the shade, is one of Ashgabat's most fashionable restaurants. There's a huge menu that takes in...

Museum in Ashgabat

Museum of Fine Arts

The Museum of Fine Arts is located in an impressive building with a big rotunda, two tiers and lots of gold. The collection contains some great Soviet–Turkmen artwork: happy peasant scenes with a backdrop of...

Shopping Centre in Ashgabat

Altyn Asyr Marketing Centre

If you want to buy carpets, Turkmenistan tracksuits or inexpensive cotton clothing, visit the Altyn Asyr Marketing Centre, opposite the Grand Turkmen Hotel, which has outlet shops for the carpet and textile...

Theatre in Ashgabat

Pushkin Russian Drama Theatre

While Turkmen productions flourish, the Russian Theatre is dying a slow death. No longer supported by the government, the once-proud Pushkin Russian Drama Theatre saw its original theatre demolished and was moved...

Seafood in Ashgabat

Seafood Ayna

With its fabulously '90s interior and Yeltsin-era feeling of luxury, Seafood Ayna is one of Ashgabat’s smarter eating options and one of the few places to get fresh seafood. There’s a sushi menu on top of the...

International in Ashgabat

Euphoria

Perhaps the most ambitious of Ashgabat's restaurants in design terms, this surprising find tucked away behind the Nusay Hotel also has some great food and delightful staff. The huge menu runs from delicious...

Park in Ashgabat

Independence Park

The Altyn Asyr Shopping Centre is the curious pyramidal shopping centre at the northern end of Independence Park. The Monument to the Independence of Turkmenistan, known to some expats as ‘the plunger’ (for...

Theatre in Ashgabat

Mollanepes Drama Theatre

Ashgabat offers some excellent venues for watching musical and dramatic productions centred on Turkmen folklore and traditional music. The best place to watch Turkmen drama is at the Mollanepes Drama Theatre....

Statue in Ashgabat

Statue of Lenin

The statue of Lenin, in a small park off Azadi köçesi, is a charmingly incongruous assembly of a tiny Lenin on an enormous and very Central Asian plinth surrounded by fountains. Its walls feature modernist...

Turkish in Ashgabat

Erzurum

The food is good at this friendly local institution and includes pide (Turkish pizza) and delicious kebabs. The service is attentive and swift, although it can get very hot in the summer months due to the...

Pub in Ashgabat

City Pub

Though looking nothing like one, a ‘real British pub’ has found its way to Central Asia. It's often empty though, with televisions providing the only atmosphere. There's a decent menu here as well, which is best...

Landmark in Ashgabat

Circus

This Soviet-era circus building, which resembles a flying saucer, has been 'Turkmenised' with a coating of white marble. It's definitely worth a look if you're collecting snaps of quirky landmarks, but we don't...