Day 17-May 6 2019- Nukus-Kunya-Urgenc-Turkmenistan

We went to the Savitsky Art Museum yesterday.

Savitsky was an artist. He collected thousands of paintings from many other artists for safe keeping. He preserved them from destruction by the Soviets and left a large and valuable legacy of Central Asian art.

We went to private home for dinner tonight. We had another great meal. Wonderful bread, salads, chicken, noodles, and desert were on the menu. A great end to another perfect day.

Tomorrow we are off to the border crossing into Turkmenistan.

We successfully crossed the border into Turkmenistan. Our luggage was throughly searched. They are clamping down on smoking there and perhaps were looking for smuggled cigarettes.

Our temperatures were taken as we entered as well. That was a first.

In the first few days of our trip it rained off and on. It made border crossing difficult as the concrete is not very well finished and “no man’s land” is just that. No one wants to spend any money in between the countries, I suppose.

Just picture our little group walking in the rain, through the puddles of mud and water over bare ground and sometimes concrete that has just been dumped on the ground and not finished in any way pulling all of our luggage behind us. By the way, just to make matters better, our small carry on handle broke leaving home.

There were small bricks placed in the puddles sometimes to keep us up and out of the water, but it was really difficult. Thank goodness the weather improved over the next couple of days.

We arrived in Kunya-Urgench. It is a large agricultural center.

This area was the site of the ancient capital of Khorezm. Khorezm was destroyed by both Genghis Khan and Tamerlane.

A half mile south lies the remains of the old city. Here stands the 11th century Kutlug-Timur Minaret. It is ringed with 18 bands of beautiful decorative mud rings.

It is also the tallest minaret in Central Asia at 60 meters. It could be seen from miles and had a fire burning at the top at night to aid travelers.

We then drove to the domed hall of the Turabeck, Khanum mausoleum. It was built for one of the daughters of a leader of the Golden Horde.

We arrived in the city of Dashoguz and visited a local market. It was full of everything one might need to live a comfortable life.

After our visit to the market we took a flight to Ashgabat.

I am not a good flyer and don’t drink. A dreadful combination, but everything went very well.

We have taken many internal flights in many small and large countries. So far we have not had any major difficulties. I always look to see what the planes look like. Are the tires in good shape? are the planes clean and tidy? I have little power in these decisions and hope for the best. So far, so good.

We took the one hour flight over the Kara Kum or Black Sand desert.

We are staying in Ashgabat for four days. It is called “The White City.” It is a modern looking city and all of the tall modern buildings are made of white Carrara Marble. Turkmenistan is the largest customer of Carrara Marble in the world. The view is unbelievable.

We arrived at night and all of the buildings are lit up like Las Vegas. It is Vegas on steroids.

Our hotel is fifteen stories tall and beautifully modern. Our room is the same. Our room has a large entry, a very large bathroom with a T.V. in the tub wall.

We are on the fifth floor and our bedroom is about eighteen by twenty feet. The view is amazing.