From a small village to a white marble coated pearl: Ashkhabad marks its 140th year

From a small village to a white marble coated pearl: Ashkhabad marks its 140th year

During a recent working trip to the capital of Turkmenistan president Berdimuhamedov suggested to mark the 140th anniversary of the foundation of Ashkhabad this year. We will try to remember how the city looked like 140 years ago…

Ashkhabad arose in the territory of the former settled village Askhabat. Then, in 1881, along a streamlet of Askhabat there were about 800 white houses. At first in the old part of Ashkhabad roads were narrow and twisting. After the lapse of many years the city was started to be design in the European style, roads became spacious and more extended.

In those days streets were called basically in honour of famous military leaders of that time and one of the first appeared streets was Kuropatkinsky (nowadays the avenue of Mahtumkuli). And the street Levashchevsky (now Azady Street) was overflowed by crowds of people, on it all day long scurried about caravans of vehicles with the goods; people went towards initial Russian and Teke markets.

Gradually the trading-service system of the city developed – the first drugstore on July 18, 1885 was opened. Before its occurrence in Ashkhabad medicines were distributed only in military infirmaries and hospitals.

Prompt progress was promoted by transformation of Ashkhabad into the centre of trade with neighbouring Iran. The countries of Central Asia and Russia maintained commercial relations with Iran through the capital of Turkmenistan.

In the Soviet period Abdulla Ahmedov who held the post of the main architect of the capital, played an important role in development and accomplishment of the city. By his projects many buildings in which the basic tendencies of architecture of Turkmenistan of that epoch were most brightly showed, had been constructed.

Now Ashkhabad boasts with multi-storeyed white marble cladded houses, highways by which tens thousands of cars run a day, and many drugstores which work round the clock. And those who consider modern Ashkhabad as a sparkling white pearl are absolutely right.