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By far the most mysterious and unexplored of Central Asia’s 'stans, Turkmenistan became famous for the truly bizarre dictatorship of Saparmyrat Niyazov, who ruled as ‘Turkmenbashi’ (‘leader of the Turkmen’) until his death in 2006. Niyazov covered this little-known desert republic with grandiose monuments and golden statues of himself. Although many of these statues have since been dismantled, plenty of visitors still think of Turkmenistan as a sort of totalitarian theme park. But the least-visited of Central Asia’s countries is far more than this – it's an ancient land of great spirituality, tradition and natural beauty.
Experience the real
  This museum is housed in a sparkling white-marble palace across the river from the centre of town. The enormous premises is home to a collection of taxidermy, temporary exhibits and a gallery of Turkmen art, but the real reason to visit is the superb archaeological collection on the upper floor,...
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