We visited Konye Urgench in summer. It was about 40-50C, I suppose. I was not sure to climb Kyrk Molla. It's a sacred place where Konye Urgench inhabitants held their last stand against the Mongols. A group of Turkmen young women winked us to follow them uphill (picture 5). So we did.
Kirk Molla is a place known for fertility rites. Especially young women roll down the hill wishing a prosperous pregnancy (picture 1). I was surprised they even did this mid summer at high temperatures. First they dresses in thick coats to protect themselves and their colourful dresses (picture 2&3). Not only the young women but also some boys rollrd down in the dust (picture 4). They told us you can not only wish for fertility, but also for good school results for example. Have also a look at the video.
In the oasis villages many of the traditional nomadic customs are preserved throughout the centuries. During our homestay in the village Kekirdek the lady of the house showed us the way she prepared the traditional Chynar-patterned felt. These felts are used in the yurt. I saw several felts at the ground of the yurt where I spent the night. Also one of the ladies were sitting on a felt outside while preparing our welcome snack.
The lady of the house showed us how the wool is combed (picture 1) and beaten. It was very interesting to see how she made the colourful patterns (picture 3&4). I liked the felts very much and couldn't resist to buy one of these colourful felts (picture 5) and to bring home. It was nice to buy them at the spot directly from the producers. The felts costed around 10 euro.
At the settlements in the desert many people continue their half-nomadic lifestyle by setting up yurts in the frontyard of their houses, being used as a summer house. A yurt or in Turkmen Ak Oy, is a traditional Turkmen round tent, made of a wooden framework (picture 3&5) and covered with felts called Koshma (picture 1). The diametre of a common yurt is about 4 meter. A festive and luxurious yurt, set up only for special occasions, is 9 meter.
The yurt has a round hole in the middle of the roof for ventilation (picture 2&3). Lighting is either natural through this hole either the yurt is lightened by a lamp, candle or by a generator. It takes 3 to 4 hours to assemble or disassemble a yurt. Later in Kyrgystan I had the opportunity to see teh whole process of building up a yurt.
The Turkmen nomads have been using yurts since the 6th century. The microclimate in yurt is great. It is cool in summer and warm in winter. In kekirdek I liked to spend the night in the yurt of the family where we had our homestay. It was midsummer and most people liked to sleep outdoors. I admit in the beginning of the night it was a rather warm in the yurt, but later in the night the temperature was ok.
The Turkmen woman are very elegant. Be sure to go out to the discos in Ashgabad, you won't believe your eyes! This is a fashion show we saw in Ashgabad. The woman sponsering it designed all the clothes. We also got to see her display of three centuries of Turkmen fashions! WOW. BEWARE, it is illegal to say anything bad about the whacked out Turkmen Dictator!!!! AND THEY ARE SERIOUS! People here leave in fear!
I stayed at Nissa Hotel for two weeks. Service and food are good. Nice facilities including: -...more
Archabil Shayoly str. 54, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
Good for: Families
The Ak Altyn Hotel is situated in a more residential part of Ashgabat, with several embassies...more