Visa and entry requirements Turkmenistan:
Passport required
The visa is issued by the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Berlin or that Consulate of Turkmenistan in Frankfurt am Main, if there is a private or official invitation from Turkmenistan.
Visa costs: 35-55 euros

Information from the Foreign Office about your trip to Turkmenistan:

Turkmenistan is a landlocked country in Central Asia with around 6.2 million inhabitants. The country borders on Kazakhstan in the northwest, Uzbekistan in the north and east, Afghanistan in the southeast, Iran in the south and the Caspian Sea in the west. Turkmenistan is the southernmost of all 15 former Soviet republics and has been independent since 1991.

The official language of the country is Turkmen and the national currency is the Turkmenistan manat, where 1 euro corresponds to around 4 TMT.

The largest cities in Turkmenistan include Ashgabat, Dasoguz, Türkmenabat, Mary, Bayramaly, Balkanabat, Serdar and Tejen. The country's population largely adheres to the Muslim faith; only around 10% of them are Christians.

The territory of Turkmenistan is predominantly flat and consists of 93% of the Karakum Desert. The country only has mountainous regions on the western border with Iran and in the extreme southeast near Uzbekistan. The highest peak in Turkmenistan is the 3,139 meter high Mount Ayrybaba in the Gissar Mountains.

Turkmenistan is one of the most isolated countries in the world, with no real freedom of religion or media. All media such as television, radio or newspapers are censored and controlled by the state. No foreign magazines, books or newspapers are permitted anywhere in the country, nor are satellite dishes for international television reception permitted. This is intended to seal the country off from the outside world as much as possible.

Turkmenistan has abundant reserves of oil and natural gas, including the largest gas fields in the world. This means that Turkmenistan's state income is based predominantly on the two abundant natural resources.

Other important economic sectors in the country are the textile industry, agriculture with the cultivation of cotton and the chemical industry with the various refineries.

Despite the many attractions in the country, structured international tourism is practically non-existent. Foreign visitors are rather undesirable and tourist visas are very difficult to obtain.

Turkmenistan's tourist highlights include the natural wonder of the burning gas crater - the "Gate to Hell" of Derweze, the Great Cave with the underground lake, the ruins of the ancient city of Gurganj and the highest minaret in Central Asia at 62 meters - the Kutlug Timur Minaret in the city of Kunya-Urgench, the abandoned oasis towns of Nisa and Merv, the Yangykala Canyon and the highest salt waterfall in the world at the Kara-Bogas-Gol salt lake.

The capital and by far the largest city in Turkmenistan is Ashgabat with around 900,000 inhabitants. The city is located on the western border with Iran and is at the same time the political, economic and cultural center of the country.

The most important sights in Ashgabat include the Ertugrul Gazi Mosque, the Botanical Garden, the 95-meter-high Arch of Neutrality, the Ruhnama Monument, Bitaraplyk Street, the Local History Museum, the 211-meter-high TV Tower, the Carpet Museum, the Lenin statue, the Gypjak Mosque, the high mast with the national flag, the Turkmen Independence Monument, the Art Museum, the Wedding Palace, the Tolkuchka Market, the Central Station, the Geokdepe Mosque, the Ashgabat Cable Car and the Russian Bazaar.

After two previous unsuccessful attempts to get the seven-day transit visa for Turkmenistan at the Berlin embassy, it finally worked the third time. After a personal telephone conversation with the ambassador from Berlin, after a huge amount of effort, I obtained one of the most difficult visas in the entire travel world.

In March 2015 I finally visited Turkmenistan, with a two-day stay in the capital Ashgabat. I lived privately with a woman from the ministry, a contact through the Internet platform “Couchsurfing”.

Ashgabat has numerous uniformly white magnificent buildings in the city center as well as many ultra-modern and interesting buildings. During the all-day city tour with my host, the city seemed pretty empty and somehow strange. There were hardly any people strolling along in the immediate city area, as is common in other capitals. Outside the center, the city even seemed impoverished and somewhat frozen in time.

Ashgabat has some highlights to offer to fill the entire day with various sightseeing. However, I doubt very much whether that will be enough for a longer stay.

Somehow the country of Turkmenistan did not seem particularly inviting to international tourists, as was the case when obtaining visas.