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Turkmenistan, Central Asia
latitude: 39.08, longitude: 59.51
Browse map of Turkmenistan 39°04′48.00″ N, 59°30′36.00″ E
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Turkmenistan is a country in Central Asia at latitude 39°04′48.00″ North, longitude 59°30′36.00″ East.

OpenStreetMap images (and underlying map data) are freely available under OpenStreetMap License.

Notes on Turkmenistan

A 19th-century map of "Turkestan" after its conquest by the Russian Empire.

Note on Imagery

Since Turkmenistan is undergoing constant redevelopment of urban areas and expansion of its national road network, choice of imagery is important. With regards to satellite imagery, in general OSM's Bing imagery is to be avoided if newer alternatives are available, particularly when mapping Ashgabat. Digital Globe Premium, where available in Turkmenistan, is the preferred satellite imagery.

Ground-level imagery from Mapillary and to a lesser extent OpenStreetCam is available for several major routes between cities and for some downtown areas of major cities.

Note on Topography

Major topographic features include deserts and semi-deserts, which cover over 80 percent of Turkmenistan's territory; the Kopetdag and Koytendag (Kugitangtau) mountain ranges, which are spurs of the Pamir-Alay range; and the Greater and Lesser Balhan ranges, all of which together cover roughly 8 percent of Turkmenistan. The remaining approximately 12 percent of Turkmenistan's land area consists largely of high plains, foothills, oases, and river valleys that slope downward east to west in the direction of the Caspian Sea. Four major rivers serve Turkmenistan: the Amu Darya, Tejen, Murghab, and Etrek. About three thousand rivers exist in Turkmenistan but 95 percent of them are shorter than 10 kilometers in length, and all but 40 of them are seasonal. The so-called Garagum River is not a true river, but rather an artificial canal dug in the 1960s by Soviet authorities to supply water to Ashgabat and southwestern Turkmenistan. It runs dry in the general area of Bereket. The western land border of Turkmenistan is the shore of the Caspian Sea, a landlocked body of water. Only one river in Turkmenistan, the Etrek, normally flows into the Caspian.[1] In recent years, however, the Etrek runs dry short of the Caspian due to diversion of water in Iran.

The Karakum (Garagum) Desert, the 13th largest desert in the world[2], covers 350,000 square kilometers and lies to the south of the Turanian Depression. The Karakum Desert covers 72 percent of Turkmenistan's area.

The Kopetdag Mountains, a northern spur of the Turkmen-Khorasan mountains, extend in Turkmenistan from Sarahs in the east to Bereket in the west, a distance of some 500 kilometers, and consist of four ridges. The highest point in the Kopetdag in Turkmenistan is Shahshah at 2,912 meters. The Lesser and Greater Balhan ranges lie to the northwest of the Kopetdag; the Lesser Balhan measures 30 kilometers long by 12 kilometers wide, with a maximum elevation of 774 meters above mean sea level. The Greater Balhan range lies northeast of the Lesser, and is 70 kilometers long by 50 kilometers wide, with a maximum elevation of 1,880 meters (Mount Arlan). The Koytendag Mountains are a spur of the Hissar (Gissar) Range, itself a branch of the Pamir-Alay system, lying in the far southeast of Turkmenistan. In Turkmenistan, these mountains extend 100 kilometers in length and 25 kilometers wide. The highest peak in the Turkmen Koytendag is Ayrybaba Peak at 3,139 meters.[1]

Administrative Subdivisions

List of Cities, Provinces, Districts, and Municipalities

Please see the separate Districts in Turkmenistan article, which contains an authoritative list of administrative subdivisions of Turkmenistan as of 5 January 2018. This list does not appear to include hamlets and farming communities (farmer associations or daýhan birleşigi). Please also see the wiki articles on each of the provinces for lists of the districts (etraplar) in each province (welaýat). Links are provided below in the See Also section.

See as well the Wikipedia article Districts of Turkmenistan.

Since Turkmenistan achieved independence in 1991, many districts, cities, towns, and villages have been renamed, in some cases multiple times. No complete list of name changes appears to exist, though a partial list of cities (it omits recent restoration of former names, such as Kerki and Büzmeýin) can be found here. Mappers are encouraged to use current names of municipalities as shown on signage (please refer to ground-level imagery) and to add historical former names in using the name:<yyyy-yyyy> tag, e.g., name:2002-2018=Abadan for the city currently (re)named Büzmeýin. [3]

Administrative Structure

Turkmenistan is subdivided by a complex and to many observers confusing hierarchy of administrative units and subunits. Please note that the information in the table below does not correspond necessarily to OSM categories; it is, rather, a presentation of Turkmen statute and regulation, in a manner intended to be both comprehensible to cartographers and an accurate reflection of Turkmenistan's mode of organizing "administrative-territorial subunits".

Turkmenistan: Political and Administrative Subdivisions
Administrative Level Notes Examples
A National Government
B Province (welaýat). Headed by presidentially appointed governor (häkim). Balkan Province, Ahal Province, Dashoguz Province, Mary Province, Lebap Province
C City (şäher) with the status of a province (welaýat). Law stipulates population over 500,000 and status as "economic, political and cultural center of Turkmenistan." Headed by presidentially appointed mayor (häkim). Ashgabat
D Districts (etrap, район) of provinces, or boroughs (etrap, район) of Ashgabat or Turkmenbashy. Subordinated to provincial or Ashgabat/Turkmenbashy city government; headed by a presidentially appointed häkim. Berkararlyk etrap of Ashgabat, Ak Bugdaý etrap of Ahal Province, Awaza etrap of Turkmenbashy, Ýolöten etraby of Mary Province
E Cities (şäher, город) with status of such a district (etrap, район). Law stipulates such cities must have population over 30,000 and be the administrative center of a province (welaýatyň merkezi); headed by a presidentially appointed häkim. In practice, not only the provincial centers enjoy this status, however; as of January 5, 2018, 34 cities in Turkmenistan enjoy district status and feature a häkimlik. Änew, Turkmenabat, Mary, Balkanabat, Dashoguz
F Cities/towns (şäher/şäherçe, город/городок/поселок городского типа) "in a district" (etrap, район). Law stipulates a settlement with population over 8,000 and an industrial plant, construction and transport organizations, public utilities, public housing, network of social-cultural organizations, and trading organizations. "Cities and towns in a district" are headed by a geňeş (council) chaired by an elected arçyn. Magdanly in Lebap Province, Kaka in Ahal Province, Garabogaz in Balkan Province, Town of Ýolöten in Mary Province
G Districts of cities other than of Ashgabat (etrapça, район). No specific legal status; these are administrative subunits of the municipality. Bahar District (Bahar etrapçasy) in Turkmenabat
H Township (oba, поселок). Population over 2,000. Headed by a geňeş and an arçyn. Arçman obasy of Arçman geňeşlik of Bäherden etrap, Ahal Province
I Ashgabat microdistricts (etrap, микрорайон). No specific legal status; administrative subunit of an Ashgabat borough. No separate government structure. 11 Etrap in Ashgabat, Parahat 3 in Ashgabat
J "Rural council" municipality (geňeşlik, генгешлик) (In Soviet times called "rural soviet" сельсовет). One or more villages under a common administration consisting of a geňeş (council) and an arçyn (council chair). Bereketli in Ak Bugdaý district, comprising the villages of Bukry, Dinli, Gamyşy, Gyzyltakyr, Kükürtli, Sakarçäge, Sözenli, with administrative center in Bukry
K Villages (oba, село) (in the past sometimes referred to as aul). This category also includes daýhan birleşigi, "peasant association", which refers to former collective farms. Minimum population of 50 permanent residents. No separate government structure; subordinate to the "rural council" (geňeşlik). Garaşsyzlyk obasy of Gowşutbent geňeşlik of Mary Province

The same word, häkim, applies both to governors of the five provinces (welaýat) plus governors of their subordinate districts (etrap), and to municipal mayors. One word, etrap, applies simultaneously to districts of provinces, to the four boroughs of the city of Ashgabat (Büzmeýin, Berkararlyk, Köpetdag, and Bagtyýarlyk) and two boroughs of the city of Turkmenbashy (Awaza and Kenar), and to Ashgabat's microdistricts (called in Russian mikrorayon микрорайон, a borrowing from the Soviet period). The same name can apply to a city and a province (e.g., Mary) or to a town and a district (e.g., Ýolöten). Two boroughs of Ashgabat City share names with neighborhoods in the city that are distinct from those boroughs. They are Büzmeýin etraby, which is distinct from the neighborhood and former town of Büzmeýin, and Bagtyýarlyk etraby, which is distinct from the neighborhood of Bagtyýarlyk. To add to confusion, until 2018 Büzmeýin was called Abadan, and Bagtyýarlyk was named Ruhabat.

Turkmenistan applies this administrative hierarchy of towns and rural settlements in descending order, but the order can be deceiving since a large village (population over 2,000) is considered to be in a different category due to its size. In the case of established villages (as opposed to greenfield projects that in the West would be called developments) these are often settlements founded during Soviet collectivization of the 1930s, and they remain attached to a former collective farm, now called a daýhan birleşigi (English: peasant association). To reduce administrative overhead, villages are often subordinated to a single, common municipal structure called in Turkmen geňeşlik, from the Turkmen word geňeş "council". This is a direct translation of the original Soviet Russian term for such units, sel'skiy sovet (сельский совет). By statute, specifically the "Law on Council" of 2005 as amended, these councils are autonomous and are elected popularly by secret ballot. A "rural council" can govern a single village or several. The council elects an arçyn from among its members; the arçyn functions as the council chair as well as the town or village manager.

The table below presents uncopyrighted (public domain) data on Turkmenistan's geographic political subdivisions provided by the Turkmen statistical office. As such it should not be edited in order to force it into conformity with OSM categories or administrative levels; it is intended to inform the cartographer as an aid to proper designation and categorization, and represents the point of view of Turkmen statisticians, not geographers or cartographers. Mappers are also strongly advised to consult the authoritative list of political subdivisions at Districts in Turkmenistan, which spells out in great detail the structure of provinces, districts, and municipalities.

Administrative-Territorial Division of Turkmenistan as of January 1, 2017
Provinces (welaýatlar) Districts (etraplar) Boroughs in Cities (etraplar) Cities and Towns (şäherler we şäherçeler) Villages (obalar) Rural Councils (geňeşlikler) Rural populated points (oba ilatly punktlar)
Turkmenistan 47 8[1] 51 60 505 1,718
Ashgabat[1][2] 0 6[1] 1 0 0 0
Ahal 7 0 8 9 89 235
Balkan 6 2 10 13 33 112
Dashoguz 9 0 9 1 134 612
Lebap 14 0 15 23 106 430
Mary 11 0 8 14 143 329
[1] On January 5, 2018, the Turkmen Parliament adopted a law on the territorial division of Ashgabat and Ahal Province.  According to it, Abadan borough was renamed Büzmeýin borough of Ashgabat and the mayors’ offices of Abadan and Ruhabat boroughs were dissolved.  As of that date, Ashgabat has four boroughs: Bagtyýarlyk, Berkararlyk, Büzmeýin and Köpetdag (previously it had six, as indicated in the table above).
[2] Note that Ashgabat by Turkmen law is a city, not a province, but a city "with the legal status of a province". Hence the statisticians associate it with the category of provinces, but it is nonetheless both juridically and in popular conception a city.
Source: State Committee on Statistics of Turkmenistan’s official website: http://www.stat.gov.tm/ru/main/info/administrativno-territorialnoe-delenie/

Proposed admin_level=* Values for Turkmenistan

Please see Turkmenistan: Proposed Administrative Levels

Suggested Place Tags for Administrative Subdivisions

  • welaýat place=province
  • şäher place=city
  • etrap (if one of the six "big" etraps of Ashgabat or Turkmenbashy cities) place=borough
  • şäherçe place=town
  • etrap (if a district of a province or a microdistrict in a city) or etrapça place=district
  • kwartal place=quarter
  • geňeşlik place=village
  • oba (if alone and governed by its own geňeşlik) place=village
  • oba (if part of a larger geňeşlik consisting of multiple communities) place=neighbourhood
  • ýaşaýaş toplumy (literally, "residential complex", i.e., what in the West is called a "development") place=neighbourhood
  • oba ilatly punktlar place=hamlet

The practice of identifying former villages and towns annexed by the city of Ashgabat in 2010 has been to use place=neighbourhood (e.g., the former town of Büzmeýin or former village of Bagyr). These former towns and villages are subordinated to the respective boroughs of the city of Ashgabat and enjoy no autonomy in governance or budgeting.

General Naming Conventions

Turkmen is the official language of Turkmenistan. Russian is spoken by an estimated 18 percent of the population, but with rare exceptions is only found on legacy signage. Dual Turkmen- and English-language signage can be encountered on some official buildings.

The preferred spelling is what is seen on signage, in accordance with OSM guidelines. If, however, a legacy sign is in Cyrillic script (increasingly rare but still encountered), one must be sure to spell the name in accordance with modern Turkmen orthographic rules using the modern Turkmen latinized alphabet.

Obsolete street sign in both Turkmen Cyrillic and Russian Cyrillic.

Where transliteration from the modern Turkmen alphabet is called for, it should be from modern Latinized Turkmen into the standard Latin alphabet, e.g., Aşgabat -> Ashgabat. Mappers should avoid transliterating the Russian version of a name into Latin. Russian Cyrillic versions are themselves transliterations from the original Turkmen, in most cases, and furthermore often diverge from standard Turkmen spelling (e.g., Turkmen Garagum versus the Russian Каракум Karakum). As another example, it is incorrect to spell Ahal welaýat (Ahal Province) as "Akhal velayat", which would be the standard Cyrillic-to-Latin transliteration using the U.S. Board of Geographic Names transliteration scheme. The original Turkmen spelling, Ahal welaýat, is correct, and the English transliteration is Ahal velayat. By the same token, the town of Jebel should be rendered as Jebel, not as Dzhebel, a backformation of Джебель (since the Russian version of the Cyrillic alphabet has no equivalent to the letter "J", though the Turkmen Cyrillic alphabet does).

Transliteration from the Turkmen Cyrillic alphabet to the Turkmen Latin alphabet is relatively straightforward, as there is a one-to-one correspondence between most Turkmen Cyrillic letters and their Latin counterparts. The exceptions are the pairings of Cyrillic я and Latin ýa (as in Янбаш Ýanbaş), plus in some instances Cyrillic ë and Latin ýo (as in ëл ýol).

Many cities and towns in Turkmenistan have undergone changes in spelling of their names since Soviet times. Authoritative spelling, per OSM guidelines, is what is on the official sign for a municipality. Hence, for example, the authoritative spelling of a village just north of Serhetabat is Çemenabat today despite past spellings as varied as Çemenibit and Çemenebit, both of which have appeared on official documents and maps. The town formerly known as Baharly is Bäherden, despite numerous documents and maps referring to it as Baharden. When in doubt, see if a Mapillary or OpenStreetCam ground-level image exists as a reference. A secondary source of authoritative spelling is the official Türkmenistanyň dolandyryş-çäk birliklerininň Sanawy ("List of Administrative-Territorial Units of Turkmenistan", Russian: Перечень административно-территориальных единиц Туркменистана). This list, which includes the names of all municipal as well as provincial and district structures in Turkmenistan as of January 5, 2018, is reproduced in the article Districts in Turkmenistan.

Roads and Streets

Numbered highways in Turkmenistan use a combination of international and legacy Soviet numerations:

  • AH - Asian Highway network
  • Е - European E-road network
  • М - legacy Soviet magistral' road, intended for long-distance transit traffic
  • А - legacy Soviet interregional road, intended for medium-distance inter-republic transit traffic; in the post-Soviet period treated as a national highway
  • Р - legacy Soviet republic-level road, and in the post-Soviet period national highways

The P routes during the Soviet period were usually dirt or gravel roads and were only rarely paved with asphalt or concrete. In the post-Soviet period, many of these routes in Turkmenistan have been paved, though road quality varies considerably.

International Highways

Please consult European route E003, European route E60, European route E121, and M-37 highway (Turkmenistan) in Wikipedia.

Asian Highway (AH) Network

See also the United Nations ESCAP Asian Highway (AH) route reference list at Asian Highway Database, excerpted below.

AH AH Own Route AH Province/ City/Town City/Town
Route Section No./ Design State Name at Name at
No. No. Road Name Standard Name Start Point End Point
AH5 1 M-37/E60 III Lebap Farap (Border of Uzbekistan) Turkmenabat
AH5 2 M-37/E60 III Lebap/Mary Turkmenabat Bayramaly
AH5 3 M-37/E60 III Mary Bayramaly Mary
AH5 4 M-37/E60 III Mary/Ahal Mary Tejen
AH5 5 M-37/E60 II, III Ahal Tejen Ashgabat
AH5 6 M-37/E60 I, III Ahal/Balkan Ashgabat Serdar
AH5 7 M-37/E60, E121 III Balkan Serdar Bereket
AH5 8 M-37/E60, E121 III Balkan Bereket Gumdag
AH5 9 M-37/E60, E121 III Balkan Gumdag Balkanabat
AH5 10 M-37/E60, E121 III Balkan Balkanabat Turkmenbashy (Ferry Terminal)
AH70 1 P-18/E121 Below III Balkan Border of Kazakhstan (Garabogaz) Garabogaz
AH70 2 P-18/E121 III Balkan Garabogaz Turkmenbashy (Ferry Terminal)
AH70 3 /E121 III Balkan Serdar Etrek
AH70 4 /E121 III Balkan Etrek Gudurolum (Border of Iran)
AH75 1 P-7 III Ahal Tejen Sarahs (Border of Iran)
AH77 1 A-388 III Mary Serhetabat (Border of Afghanistan) Galaymor
AH77 2 A-388 III Mary Galaymor Jct. to Tagtabazar
AH77 3 A-388 III Mary Jct. to Tagtabazar Yoloten
AH77 4 A-388 III Mary Yoloten Mary
AH78 1   III Ahal Ashgabat Gaudan Pass (Border of Iran)

European E-road Network

E003 in Turkmenistan begins at the Uzbek border between Uchkuduk and Dashoguz, and proceeds via Ashgabat to terminate at the Gaudan Saddle on the Turkmenistan-Iranian border

E60 in Turkmenistan begins in Turkmenbashy and terminates at the border with Uzbekistan at the Farap border crossing.

E121 in Turkmenistan links Garabogaz border crossing to the border with Iran at Gudriolum via Turkmenbashy and Serdar.

See also WikiProject_Europe/E-road_network.

Legacy Soviet M-road Network

M-37 in Turkmenistan connects the ferry terminal at the city of Turkmenbashy to the Farap border crossing via Ashgabat, Mary, and Turkmenabat.[4] The M-37 is the major arterial highway across Turkmenistan. Wikipedia asserts that the M37 begins at the Garabogaz border crossing rather than at Turkmenbashy, but the Garabogaz-Turkmenbashy route has been designated P-18 in Turkmenistan's motor roads records, and the UN Asian Highway list excerpted above shows M37 as originating/terminating at Turkmenbashy, not Garabogaz. As of 29 September 2018 the M37 route inside Turkmenistan has been tagged ref=M37 and an M37 route relation has been added. It is not clear whether the M route designation is an "international" route designation, since it is a legacy of a defunct country now used by a national government, hence its tagging as ref=* rather than int_ref=*.

National Highways

These routes should usually be tagged as trunk routes highway=trunk. However, some little-used unimproved or primitive routes may deserve lesser categories. It is advisable to consult with local mappers or Mapillary or OpenStreetCam ground-level imagery before changing road classifications.

(As of 21 Sep 2018 bolded route numbers have been tagged with ref=*} and route relations have been entered.)

  • A-338 Mary to Yoloten, also known as Mary-Serhetabat Trassa
  • A-381 Konyeurgench to Dashoguz via Boldumsaz
  • A-388 Yoloten to Serhetabat, also known as Mary-Serhetabat Trassa
  • P-1 Ashgabat to Konyeurgench
  • P-7 Tejen to Sarahs
  • P-8 Sarahs to Serhetabat (not yet mapped; inside the border zone and thus off-limits to foreigners; reportedly a dirt road in poor condition)
  • P-9 Sarahs to Mary via Hanhowuz (Hauzhan) (crosses M37 at Hauz Han)
  • P-15 Serdar to Iranian border via Etrek and Gudriolum (Gudurolum)
  • P-16 Balkanabat to junction with P-15 via Esenguly
  • P-17 from P-20 junction to Hazar via Oglanly and Jebel
  • P-18 Turkmenbashy to Garabogaz border crossing with Kazakhstan
  • P-20 Turkmenbashy to Chagyl
  • P-21 Dashovuzskiy Fish Farm to A381 junction (on old Soviet military maps marked as P-20; unimproved track for much of its length)
  • P-25 Gazojak to Yoloten via Bayramaly
  • P-35 Uzbekistan border to Turkmenabat along south bank of Amu Darya
  • P-36 Keleb to Turkmenabat via Kerki
  • P-37 Kerkiçi to Kelif border crossing with Uzbekistan via Mugry and Koytendag
  • P-38 from junction with P-35 south of Seydi along north bank of Amu Darya, to junction with P-39 via Turkmenabat
  • P-39 Farap to Kerki
  • P-47 Gurbansoltan Eje to Dashoguz
  • P-50 Akdepe to Gurbansoltan Eje
  • P-53 Boldumsaz to Gulable
  • P-89 Kerki to Uzbek border in direction of Karshy
  •  ???? Kerki to Ymamnazar (route number unknown at this time, but route has been tagged highway=trunk and name=Kerki-Ymamnazar ýoly)

Street Naming Conventions

Turkmen Nomenclature

The following Turkmen words denote motorways that in OSM are designated with the highway=* tag:

Modern Turkmen street sign in the Turkmen language using Latinized script. Note that the type of way (köçesi) is in lower case.
  • gara ýol (highway, literally "black road", i.e., what in the United States is called a "blacktop")
  • geçelge (alley, byway) (Note: The Soviet Turkmen term proýezd has been deprecated and should not be used.)
  • köçe (street)
  • şaýol (avenue, boulevard, prospect) (from şa "king, shah" + ýol "road")
  • ýol (road) (Caution: ýol is a generic term essentially meaning "way" or "path" and thus can also be used to name a footpath, such as the Serdar ýoly aka Saglyk ýoly or "Health Walk" in Ashgabat.)

Turkmen grammar, as is the case with all Turkic languages, requires declension of nouns when they are modified by another noun, e.g., the name of the person, locale, or aspect in honor of which a street is named. Hence,

  • Gökdepe gara ýoly
  • Gorkiý geçelgesi
  • Magtymguly köçesi
  • Atamyrat Nyýazow şaýoly
  • Aýlaw ýoly
Legacy street sign in Ashgabat identifying the street using one of the four-digit numbers assigned during the administration of President Niyazov.

Numbered streets, however, remain in the nominative case:

  • 2052 köçe

Russian Nomenclature

Owing to Russian influence between 1881 and 1991, Russian words (and obsolete Russian street names) are commonly used in reference materials and the spoken vernacular. They are, however, increasingly erased from signage. These terms are:

  • бульвар (bul'var, boulevard, from the French)
  • дорога (doroga, road)
  • проезд (proyezd, alley, byway)
  • проспект (prospekt, avenue, boulevard, prospect, from the French)
  • трасса (trassa, track, road, calque from the French tracé)
  • улица (ulitsa, street)
  • шоссе (shosse, highway, calque from the French chaussée)

Russian names for streets should as a rule be recorded using the old_name=* tag, specifically old_name:ru=*. Exceptions to this rule are found where no signage exists, and the Russian name remains in common vernacular usage with no Turkmen variant, such as the Mary-Serhetabat Trassa.

Handling Errors and Discrepancies

Errors abound in signage. It is not uncommon to see the undeclined köçe on signage for named streets, particularly in provincial areas. Spelling is not always uniform, so streets named after the poet Andalyb may be signed Andalyb, Andalyp, or Andalip, all on the same street. In such cases one should be governed by the conventions of Turkmen orthographic rules. Alternative spellings may be entered in OSM using the alt_name=* tag.

It is also common to see a street named after a person with signs indicating both first and last names, only the last name, or first initial and last name, e.g., Döwletmämed Azady, Azady, or D. Azady. Here common sense should probably prevail, and name=* tag should be filled with whichever variant is most common on that street, with the other variants entered using the alt_name=* tag.

Misspelling is not uncommon, so in Täze Zaman one finds both Ebedilik and Ebediýlik. In this case, since the spelling is consistent along two separate sections of street, OSM reflects the actual signage and not the correct spelling (ebedilik means "eternity").

Certain provincial jurisdictions have adopted the odd convention of literally naming streets in honor of a person, e.g., "Döwletmämmed Azady adyndaky köçe", which translates to "Street named in honor of Dowletmammed Azady". Such lengthy official names should be recorded using the official_name:tk=* tag, and the name=* and name:tk=* tags should reflect the shorter and more commonly used form used in the vernacular, "Döwletmämmed Azady köçesi".

In contrast to western street naming conventions, the type of way is never capitalized on signage and should thus be left in lower case, e.g., "Beýik Saparmyrat Türkmenbaşy şaýoly", and not, "...Şaýoly".

Gas Stations

TNO station number 2, located in Ashgabat. The sign displaying fuel types is clearly visible to the left, showing availability at this station of A-95, A-92, and A-80, but not Diesel fuel.
Stationary police checkpoint building on Gurban Soltan Eje in Turkmenistan.
Speed limit gantry with both signage and radar cameras on Gurban Soltan Eje in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.
A 40 kilometer-per-hour sign in a school zone, on Döwletmamed Azady köçesi in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

Turkmenistan has only one domestic petroleum company, the state monopoly concern Türkmennebit, a subsidiary of which, Türkmen Nebit Önümleri (Turkmen Petroleum Products), or TNO, is the sole producer of motor fuels. Hence all Turkmen gas stations should be tagged amenity=fuel and operator=TNO. In addition, all gas stations are numbered, and these numbers are useful as navigational landmarks. The naming convention is as follows, using gas station number 64 as an example:

  • name=Gas Station 64
  • name:en=Gas Station 64
  • name:ru=АЗС 64 (АЗС is a formal contraction of the Russian автозаправочная станция, "automobile refueling station" and is preferred to the slang term "заправка".)
  • name:tk=AÝGS 64 (AÝGS is a formal contraction of the Turkmen awtoulaglara ýangyç guýujy stansiýasy, literally "autotransport fuel pouring station". It is typically included in the signage of each gas station.)
  • ref=64

One may optionally add a location after the number, e.g., the name of the town or, in cities with multiple gas stations, the street it is on. This assists motorists in locating gas stations on routes they are traveling, and is the method by which most locals will identify the station.

Turkmen gas stations typically (but not universally) offer 95-, 92-, and 80-octane gasoline as well as Diesel fuel. If offered at a particular station, these may be indicated by the appropriate tags: fuel:diesel=yes, fuel:octane_80=yes, fuel:octane_92=yes, fuel:octane_95=yes.

Mappers may wish to add the ref=* tag to list the number of the gas station. This may be of future use in rendering maps should it be desired to include the station number.

NOTE: Listing of a fuel type on the sign does not necessarily mean that fuel is available at that station; the existence of a fuel pump for each fuel type is authoritative, not what is written on the sign.

Police Checkpoints

Unlike traffic police in many other countries, who patrol highways in motor vehicles, traffic police in Turkmenistan are generally stationary and often are assigned to a fixed checkpoint on the highway. These checkpoints, which usually feature a permanent building, should be tagged amenity=police and name=PÝGG, the Turkmen contraction of Polisiýanyň Ýol Gözegçilik Gullugy "Police Road Inspection Service", i.e., traffic police bureau.

Border Crossings/Checkpoints

A copyrighted list of border crossings between Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan can be found in Russian here. Ground truth has been collected on the Turkmen-Uzbek crossings at Koneurgench, Dashoguz, and Farap. The only border crossing with Kazakhstan as of 2018 was Garabogaz; ground truth was collected on it in 2016 and 2018. As of 2018 there are four border crossings with Iran (Gudriolum, Bajgyran, Artyk, and Sarahs), and two with Afghanistan (Serhetabat and Ymamnazar). All of Turkmenistan's motor vehicle border crossings were mapped and labeled as of November 2018. These border checkpoints are staffed by personnel of the Turkmen customs, migration, and border services, and they usually also have a bank cashier on duty to exchange money and accept payments for border crossing fees.

The State Border Service of Turkmenistan also operates frontier zone checkpoints some distance from the actual border. These should be tagged military=checkpoint.

Speed Limits

The speed limit on major thoroughfares in urban areas is typically 60 kph. Between municipalities the maximum speed limit is typically 90 kph. School zones, congested areas, and other special zones may feature speed limits of 40 kph or 30 kph. Speed limit signs include overhead gantries, often equipped with radar cameras for issuance of speeding tickets, and roadside signs.

Points of Interest


Please see Ashgabat: Banks. Only the domestic banks listed in that article have branches outside Ashgabat. The Turkmen word şahamça means English:branch or Russian:филиал.


Food service in Turkmenistan falls into a small number of categories:

Entrance to the Şelpeli Toý Mekany, an events venue in Bagyr neighborhood of Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.
  • Çaýhana teahouse, which typically offers a limited menu of prepared traditional Turkmen food in addition to tea. Tag as amenity=fast food and fast_food=cafeteria.
  • Kafe café, from the French via Russian кафе. Tag as amenity=cafe.
  • Naharhana cafeteria, in Turkmen literally "food house" or "meal house", virtually always serving traditional Turkmen food (this word can also refer to a kitchen). Tag as amenity=fast food and fast_food=cafeteria.
  • Restoran restaurant, calque of the French via Russian ресторан. Tag as amenity=restaurant. Fast food "restaurants" or stands such as are found in shopping mall food courts may be tagged as amenity=fast food.
  • Toý Mekany events venue, typically for weddings and baby showers, in Turkmen literally "celebration venue". Tag as amenity=events_venue.

A toý mekany should not be categorized as a restaurant, as it is not a business into which one may simply enter and order a meal. It is, rather, a hall with an affiliated kitchen which must be booked in advance for social events, typically including a sit-down banquet.

Street food outlets in Turkmenistan, such as a hole-in-the-wall döner (kebab) kiosk, are typically unnamed and may be mapped with a point bearing the tag amenity=fast food.

Bars and pubs are self-explanatory.

Cultural Institutions

  • Kinoteatr (abbreviated as k/t) cinema, movie theater amenity=cinema
  • Kitaphana library amenity=library
  • Medeniýet culture
    • ~ Köşgi palace of ~
    • ~ Merkezi cultural center
    • ~ Öýi house of ~
    • These buildings should be tagged as theaters amenity=theatre since they are primarily used for theatrical and musical performances.
  • Muzeý museum tourism=museum
    • Tarih Muzeýi history museum
  • Seýilgäh park leisure=park
  • Teatr theater amenity=theatre
    • Gurjak Teatry puppet ~
    • Drama Teatry drama ~
    • Saz Teatry music ~ or concert hall

Educational Institutions

Educational institutions are patterned after Soviet models, and include:

Kindergarten No. 174 in Ashgabat. The two brass plaques visible on each side of the doorway identify the operator (Ministry of Education) and school district (City of Ashgabat), one in Turkmen, and the other in English.
  • Çagalar Bagy kindergarten, equivalent to and direct translation of Russian детский сад amenity=kindergarten
  • Çagalar Bakja-Bagy day care center and kindergarten, equivalent to Russian ясли-детский сад amenity=kindergarten
  • Konserwatoriý music conservatory, a calque of the French via Russian conservatoire amenity=music_school
  • Orta Mekdep secondary or middle school, direct translation of Russian средняя школа amenity=school
  • Orta Hünar Okuw Mekdebi vocational secondary school, equivalent to Russian средне-специальное училище amenity=school
  • Orta Okuw Mekdebi secondary training school, typically for technical professionals, such as nurses and paramedics amenity=school
  • Okuw Terbiýeçilik Toplumy training complex, usually for pursuit of advanced professional training in a technical discipline (e.g., nursing, oil and gas) amenity=college
  • Institut institute, a calque of the Russian word институт (itself a loan word from German) amenity=university
  • Uniwersitet university, a calque from the Russian word университет (itself a loan word from German) amenity=university

Kindergartens and secondary schools are usually numbered, but some also bear a name in honor of someone, e.g.,

  • 64-njy Ene Kuliýewa adyndaky Orta Mekdep, Ene Kuliyeva Secondary School No. 64

Vocational and specialized secondary schools typically indicate the technical specialty in their names, e.g.,

  • Daşoguz Lukmançylyk Orta Okuw Mekdebi, Dashoguz Medical Training Secondary School

Other specialties or particular features include but are not limited to:

  • internat boarding school
  • medeniýet culture
  • saz music (since this is typically a regular secondary school with an added music program, should be tagged amenity=school)
  • sport sports
  • sungat art
  • ýörite special
  • zehinli çagalaryñ for gifted children
    • aýratyn ~ for especially gifted children
The main building of Magtymguly Turkmen State University in Ashgabat.

Specialized post-secondary institutions typically indicate the major focus of study, such as:

  • Jemagat Hojalygy Instituty Public Utilities Institute
  • Saglygy Dikeldiş Okuw Terbiýeçilik Toplumy Training Complex for Health Restoration
  • Halkara nebit we gaz uniwersiteti International Oil and Gas University

Post-secondary institutions may be named in honor of someone in addition to having a formal designation, such as

  • Magtymguly adyndaky Türkmen Döwlet Uniwersiteti, literally "Turkmen State University named for Magtymguly", normally rendered in English as "Magtymguly Turkmen State University" in much the same way we would refer to Stanford University or Yale University, both of which were also named after individuals. N.B. that in this case, "state university" means "public university", as in the state that is Turkmenistan, and does not bear the same meaning as in the United States (sponsorship by a state of the union, e.g., California State University).
  • Türkmenistanyň Oguzhan adyndaky Inžener-Tehnologiýalar Uniwersiteti, literally "Turkmenistan's Engineer-Technologies University named for Oguzhan", but less clumsily and more precisely rendered in English as "Oguzhan Turkmen Engineering Technologies University".

A list of post-secondary educational institutions in Turkmenistan can be found here in Russian and here in Turkmen.

Government Offices

Normal OSM tagging recommendations apply. The main office of a häkim (governor or mayor, see above) is a häkimlik. The häkimlik of a city should be tagged as the town hall. amenity=townhall

Health Care Facilities

Signage on the hospital officially known as the "Scientific-Clinical Center on Maternal and Child Health".
Sign for the Bagyr branch of Ashgabat City Clinic No. 4. Bagyr is a former village, annexed in 2015 by Ashgabat as a neighborhood.

Please see How to Map Hospitals.

Turkmen health care facilities are patterned after their Soviet forebears:

  • Dermanhana pharmacy or apothecary (chemist's), equivalent to Russian аптека amenity=pharmacy
  • Hassahana hospital (literally, "sickness building"), equivalent to Russian больница amenity=hospital
    • Çagalar ~ children's ~ , equivalent to Russian детская ~ healthcare:speciality=paediatrics
    • Köpugurly ~ general ~ , equivalent to Russian многопрофильная ~ healthcare:speciality=general
    • Tiz Kömek ~ emergency ~, equivalent to Russian ~ неотложной помощи or скорой помощи healthcare:speciality=emergency
  • Saglyk Öýi clinic (literally, "health house"), equivalent to Russian поликлиника amenity=clinic These are outpatient facilities and should not be tagged as hospitals.
  • Tiz Kömek ambulance (literally, "urgent assistance", i.e., "first aid"), equivalent to Russian скорая помощь amenity=ambulance_station

Specialty hospitals may be named merkez "center" prefixed by the specialty, e.g., Onkologiýa Merkezi "Oncology Center". Maternity and pediatric hospitals are often named Ene Mähri "Mother's Love". Dental clinics and hospitals are normally identified by the noun stomatologiýa "stomatology, dentistry", e.g., Stomatologiýa Merkezi.

N.B. Tiz Kömek on a hospital means "Emergency" (Tiz Kömek Hassahanasy is "Emergency Hospital") but Tiz Kömek or Tiz Lukmançylyk Kömegi on a vehicle means "Ambulance". A garage labeled Tiz Kömek should be tagged amenity=ambulance_station.

Private clinics should be tagged as clinics, not as amenity=doctors. The amenity=doctors tag should be applied only to private physicians' offices, which effectively do not exist in Turkmenistan. Private clinics and hospitals, however, though rare do exist, such as the Diamed Clinic in Ashgabat.


According to the 2017 Statistical Yearbook of Turkmenistan, as of 2016 Turkmenistan had 102 hotels, distributed as follows:

Ashgabat city 38
Ahal Provice 4
Balkan Province 35
Dashoguz Province 6
Lebap Province 7
Mary Province 12

The Awaza National Resort Zone of the city of Turkmenbashy accounts for the relatively large number of hotels in Balkan Province. The Turkmen word for hotel is myhmanhana, though the term otel, a calque of French hôtel via Russian, is commonly encountered. As of 2018 two new hotels are planned for Ashgabat, the Garagum Hotel near the airport, and the Hotel Arkadag, between Çandybil şaýoly and Arçabil şayoly. Tag as amenity=hotel.

Retailing and Business

Retail occupancies come in many types, ranging from large, modern shopping malls to traditional open-air markets, from kiosks to multifloor retail buildings. They include:

Entrance to the Ashgabat Shopping Center in Ashgabat. Note the trilingual signage: name of proprietor in English and Turkmen, but hours of operation in Russian and Turkmen.
  • Dükan shop, a loanword from Aramaic via Arabic (should be tagged as shop=*).
    • Azyk Harytlary ~y grocery ~, translation of Russian продуктовый магазин, and depending on size can be tagged as either shop=convenience or shop=supermarket.
    • Gurluşyk Harytlary ~y construction materials ~ should be tagged as either shop=hardware or shop=doityourself.
    • Ofis we Mekdep Harytlary ~y office and school supplies ~ should be tagged as shop=stationery.
  • Gündogar Bazar oriental bazaar, a more traditional market, often at least partially open-air (should be tagged amenity=marketplace).
  • Kärhana enterprise, equivalent to the Russian предприятие, and functionally similar to the English "company". Tag will vary depending on function, and could be shop=*, office=company, or something else.
  • Market grocery store, calque of the English word "market", usually the size of a convenience store unless it is part of a chain; tag as shop=convenience or shop=supermarket.
  • Söwda Merkezi mall, a direct translation of the American term "shopping center" via Russian "торговый центр" (tag as shop=mall).
  • Söwda Alyş Dynç Merkezi another type of mall that includes amusements, such as a cinema and indoor play area for children, as well as a food court, direct translation of Russian торгово-развлекательный центр (tag as shop=mall).
  • Ussahana repair shop, typically not for motor vehicles, however (car repair shops are usually named awtoserwis shop=car_repair). N.B. ussahana is also used for industrial repair shops, such as a railroad locomotive repair shop or teplowoz ussahanasy. There is no specific tag for most repair shops (car repair is an exception), so use the tag for the specific item that can be repaired here plus repair=yes, e.g.,
    • Aýakgap ~sy shoe repair shop shop=shoes coupled with repair=yes.
    • Telewizor ~sy television repair shop shop=electronics coupled with repair=yes.

Major retail chains in Turkmenistan include Kämil Market, Halk Market, and Şazada. Turkmenistan's lone department store, Ýimpaş, was closed in December 2016, so the tag shop=department_store should not be used in this country.

Infrastructure Projects


The government of Turkmenistan plans to upgrade the airport in Kerki (former Atamyrat) in Lebap Province and to build a new airport in Garabogaz (former Bekdash) in Balkan Province. The new Turkmenabat International Airport was completed in February 2018.


"Autobahns" (Motorways)

The Turkmenistan government proposes to build six-lane "autobahns" (Turkmen: awtoban, plural awtobanlar; Russian: автобан), in reality limited-access tollways, connecting Turkmenbashy and Ashgabat, and Ashgabat and Turkmenabat. Each autobahn is to be approximately 600 kilometers long, and to bypass population centers. Construction cost is projected to be $4 million per kilometer. According to press reports, the autobahn construction will involve addition of motels, gas stations, pharmacies, and rest areas. To date (August 2018), the routes of these two autobahns have not been mapped, and locations of subsidiary structures remain unknown to the public. If and when constructed, these "autobahns" should most likely be tagged highway=motorway, based on the descriptions provided so far. Additional details are available from the following news articles:



Major Through Routes

According to the Turkmen Motor Roads State Concern (Türkmen Awtoýollary Döwlet Konserny) the M-37 highway that connects Turkmenbashy to Farap is under renovation planned to be complete by the end of 2019. At that point the entire M-37 road should be a dual carriageway of at least two lanes in each direction, and should mainly be a divided highway. As of August 2018 all bridges had been constructed along the route and roadbed preparation, grading, ballasting, and paving of the additional carriageways were underway.

In addition, Kulyýew köçesi (former 2127 köçe) between the Yzgant turnoff and Gökdepe is under reconstruction. When that is completed, it is anticipated that Kulyýew will become a northern bypass route around both Ashgabat and Gökdepe, facilitating through traffic. Whether the M-37 route number will be reassigned from Gurban Soltan Eje to Kulyýew is uncertain at this time (September 2018).


In October 2018 the Ministry of Construction and Architecture tendered for construction of two hospitals, one general and one for infectious diseases, in Turkmenbashy. As of 2018 an international burn center is under construction on Bekrewe köçesi in Ashgabat.

Natural Gas Pipelines

Turkmenistan's national gas company is Türkmengaz, called in English Turkmengas. Additional gas companies operating in Turkmenistan, all foreign, include China National Petroleum Company, Petronas, Enex, and Areti. Gas condensate is extracted from 30 fields, including the Döwletabat, Şatlyk, Malaý, Kerpiçli, Garaşsyzlygyň 10 ýyllygy, Gazlydepe, Bagaja, Garabil, and Gurrukbil gas plays in the central Karakum Desert.[5] The Galkynyş (Galkynysh in transliteration) gas field is considered the second largest in the world.

The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project (TAPI) is to involve laying of a 56" gas pipeline from somewhere in the Galkynysh gas field south of Yolöten to the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan border near Serhetabat. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, parallel to the gas pipeline, fiber optic cable will be laid and a road will be constructed. Satellite imagery indicates that the feeder pipeline route may run from approximately N 37.14992, E 62.20013 to N 35.38023, E 62.17912, but this has not been confirmed.

Further information is available from these sources:

The East-West gas pipeline was completed in December 2015, but to date (June 2018) has not been mapped.

Line D of the Central Asia–China gas pipeline remains under construction.

New Administrative Center for Ahal Province

In October 2018 the mayor of Ashgabat announced plans to annex additional territory to increase the size of the city. At the end of that month the Cabinet of Ministers reviewed proposals for creation of a new administrative center for Ahal Province, to be located north of the village of Aba Annayew and east of Gökdere ýoly, at approximately N 38.0612, E 58.0566.[6][7] One concludes from this that at some future date, after this new administrative center is constructed, the capital of Ahal Province will be moved to it from Änew (Annau) and that city will be annexed by the city of Ashgabat.

Five different architectural proposals were presented to the Cabinet of Ministers, ranging in land area from 862 to 880 hectares, with enough new housing to accommodate over 67 thousand residents.[6]

Power Stations

Not all gas-fired electrical power stations have been mapped. A new 1.5 gigawatt power plant was commissioned 8 September 2018 outside Mary and has now been mapped.


The main railway operator in Turkmenistan is government-owned Türkmen Demir Ýollary or Turkmen Railroads (literally, "Turkmen Iron Roads"). Some short lines are operated by the state concern Türkmengaz, the national natural gas company.

On December 3, 2014, the north-south rail line connecting Kazakhstan and Iran via Turkmenistan was inaugurated. It passes through Bereket, where it intersects with the main east-west rail line from Turkmenbashy to points east. Much of the line has been mapped but sidings, spurs, and some other affiliated POIs remain works in progress. Total length in Turkmenistan, including sidings, is 825 kilometers.[8]

A new line connecting Kerki with Ymamnazar and crossing the Afghan border to Aqina was inaugurated in 2016. That line has been accurately mapped as far as Ymamnazar based on GPS traces collected just before and after the dedication ceremony. Mapping south of Ymamnazar is approximate and is based on recent satellite imagery, thus could benefit from ground-level validation. Total length inside Turkmenistan of this line is 88 kilometers.[8]

The old rail line from Serhetabat (former Kushka) to Torgundi in Afghanistan was renovated in 2017 and put back into service. That line has also been largely mapped based on updated imagery but could use ground-level validation. The governments of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan intend to extend this line to Herat, where it will connect to a recently constructed rail line between Herat and Iran's Chabahar seaport.

The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan rail line project remains on the drawing board.

See Also

OSM Wiki Article Listing Provinces, Districts, and Municipalities:

OSM Wiki Articles about Provinces of Turkmenistan:

OSM Wiki Articles about Cities of Turkmenistan:

Reference Materials

Вы можете помочь! You can help!

Here are a few things you can do to help improve the Turkmenistan map: Вот некоторые вещи, которые вы можете сделать, чтобы помочь улучшить карту в Туркменистане:

  • Перевести эту статью на русский и туркменский языки.
  • Add missing gas stations and annotate existing ones with their numbers. Добавить отсутствующие заправочные станции и номера существующих станций.
  • Add residential roads NW of Balkanabat using Digital Globe Premium Добавить улицы и дороги на северозападе от Балканабата используя Digital Globe Premium
  • Update street names in Balkanabat to current Turkmen names from the obsolete Russian names.
  • Lots of missing villages and towns around Mary and Bayramaly. Отсутствуют села и городки около Мары и Байрамали.
  • Fair amount of missing towns in the agricultural (green) areas. Mark them with boundary=administrative and the appropriate admin_level (see above), and add their roads using Digital Globe Premium! Отсутствуют многие населенные пункты в сельскохозяйственной (зеленой) территории. Отметьте boundary=administrative и подходящим тэгом admin_level (см. выше) и добавьте улицы и дороги используя Digital Globe Premium!
  • Bus stops and bus routes in major cities! Остановки и маршруты автобусов в крупных городах!
  • Identify using the name=* tag unidentified villages and towns, and update any Soviet-era names to current Turkmen official names.
  • Add information useful to other mappers to the OSM wiki articles about cities and provinces of Turkmenistan.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Ораев, Нурмаммет (1985). “Экономическая География Туркменской ССР”. Магарыф. 
  2. Wikipedia: List of deserts by area
  3. “Город-спутник столицы республики Туркмении - Безмеин переименован в Абадан” (in Russian). RIA Novosti. 08 October 2002. 
  4. The M-37 designation is inherited from the Soviet names of major highways in the USSR (M stood for magistral', meaning "main"). The M-10 connected Moscow and Leningrad, for example.
  5. “"Turkmengas" State Concern”. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 “В Масштабной Программе Развития Регионов--Приоритеты Социальной Политики”. Нейтральный Туркменистан. 1 November 2018. 
  7. “Глава государства рассмотрел проект нового административного центра Ахалского велаята”. 31 October 2018. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 “Развитие железнодорожного транспорта”.