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Turkmenistan is an obscure country in Central Asia, ruled by dictators with grandiose plans for urban development.

Natural gas exploration has allowed this former Soviet backwater to develop large highways, urban boulevards, lined with white marble buildings.

Aşgabat (Turkmenistan) - Highway by Danielzolli, on Flickr

Turkmenistan 0090 by Lex.Harm, on Flickr

Informative Sign by Jamie Kitson, on Flickr

They opened the new city of Arkadag yesterday. It's west of Ashgabat.

Turkmenistan: the North Korea of Central Asia. At least the highways look well-designed with safety in mind so that they should function decently unlike those of the DPRK where ramps enter and exit freeways with no acceleration/deceleration lanes. This interchange may be my favorite.

High Voltage:
I'm kind of a nerd for Central Asia and Turkmenistan is the most odd and fascinating country in that region. What's most interesting to me is how empty every road is in every single photo.

I've seen some YouTube travelers going there and they say that these new districts or cities have virtually no people.

Google Earth satellite also shows very little traffic there.

Most people live in much worse conditions than in those marble buildings.

There are also reports that Turkmenistan has far fewer inhabitants than officially reported, potentially only 2.8 million:

Wow. Who took those photos?


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