Turkmenistan Geography

What is the terrain and geography like in Turkmenistan?


Situated in central Asia, Turkmenistan lies north of the Kopet Dag Mountain Range, between the Caspian Sea and the Amu Darya River. The country has borders with Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan on the north and northeast and with Iran and Afghanistan on the south and southeast. Turkmenistan has an area of 488,100 square kilometers or 188,417 square miles.

The most significant geographic feature is the Kara Kum Desert. One of the world's largest deserts, it covers 350,000 square kilometers, or 80% of the country's total land area. The Repetek Sandy Desert Biosphere Reserve near Charjew (Turkmenabad), which was set up in 1928, monitors the unique desert flora and fauna found in the Kara Kum.

The Kopet Dag Mountain Range, to the south, forms a 2,000-meter-high natural border between Iran and Turkmenistan. The stark slopes are home to a number of endangered species, including leopards and mountain sheep. Most of the mountains are inaccessible, as they fall within restricted border areas.

Cities, towns, and farms are confined to the Amu Darya (historic Oxus) River Valley and to the narrow strip of arable land along the Iranian and Afghan borders.

The Silk Road ran from the central regions of China through Turkmenistan to the Mediterranean coast during ancient times and the Middle Ages. The caravans carried silk, tea, china, and lacquerware to the European markets. Significant ruins related to these trade routes are located outside the present-day cities of Mary (Merv) and Dashoguz.

Geography - note

landlocked; the western and central low-lying desolate portions of the country make up the great Garagum (Kara-Kum) desert, which occupies over 80% of the country; eastern part is plateau

Turkmenistan Use of Natural Resources

Geographic Location Asia
Total Area 188,455 Square Miles
488,100 Square Kilometers
Land Area 181,440 Square Miles
469,930 Square Kilometers
Water Area 7,015 Square Miles
18,170 Square Kilometers
Land Boundaries 2,321 Miles
3,736 Kilometers
Irrigated Land 7,687 Square Miles
19,910 Square Kilometers
Border Countries Afghanistan 744 km, Iran 992 km, Kazakhstan 379 km, Uzbekistan 1,621 km
Geographic Coordinates 40 00 N, 60 00 E
Terrain flat-to-rolling sandy desert with dunes rising to mountains in the south; low mountains along border with Iran; borders Caspian Sea in west
Highest Point 3,139 Meters
Highest Point Location Gora Ayribaba 3,139 m
Lowest Point -81 Meters
Natural Resources petroleum, natural gas, coal, sulfur, salt
Time Zone UTC+5 (10 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
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