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Where is Ashgabat?

Ashgabat is the capital and the largest city of Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan is located in Central Asia with neighbouring Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to the North and the East of the country, Afghanistan and Iran located to the South and the Caspian Sea to its West. Ashgabat is situated between the Karakum desert and the Kopet Dag mountain range, just north of the Iranian border.

Ashgabat has a total area of 440 square km.

Language: Turkmen

Currency: Turkmenistan manta

Population: Estimates of Ashgabat’s population range from between 700,000 to 1 million people.

Sister cities

Athens, Greece

Albuquerque, United States

Ankara, Turkey

Kiev, Ukraine

Ashgabat Asian indoor and Martial Arts Games September 17th - September 27th 2017



Ashgabat was founded in 1881 as a Russian military fort and has developed from a small village into the largest industrial, scientific and cultural centre of the country. The city was under the rule of the Soviet Union from for 1917 until the country’s independence in 1991. During Soviet rule the city vastly expanded in population size and industrialisation, but an earthquake measuring around 7.3 on the Richter Scale in 1948 killed a vast percentage of the population.

Following independence the city has begun to modernise with high-rise building a common feature of the landscape of Ashgabat. Additionally,  the Guinness Book of Records lists Ashgabat as the city as having the highest concentration of white marble buildings in the world.

Ashgabat’s predominant industries are cotton textiles and metal work. Many of the Government institutions are based in the city and alongside administrative jobs, provide a large percentage of the employment of the local population.

Ashgabat is in the Guinness Book of Records as the city as having the highest concentration of white marble buildings in the world
Ashgabat is in the Guinness Book of Records as the city as having the highest concentration of white marble buildings in the world ©Getty Images


Currently one of the main sporting venues in Ashgabat is the Olympic Stadium, which has not staged an Olympic Games, but is being extended from its current 30,000 capacity to a 60,000 arena, due to be completed by 2017.

The Stadium is the focal point of the Olympic Complex which also includes other key sporting facilities. They include Ashgabat Stadium, a 20,000 multi-purpose sporting venue, water and winter sports complexes and an ice hockey rink.

Turkmenistan first appeared at the Olympic Games in 1996 but is yet to earn an Olympic medal of any colour. However the country have won three gold, seven silvers and 10 bronze medals at the Asian Games since their first appearance in 1994.

Their sambo star Gulbadam Bahamuratova won the first gold medal of the Asian Beach Games in 2014, while the country have also received four  silvers and seven bronze medals in their history at the Games.


Annual average temperature +16°C

Average temperature in January +2°C

Average temperature in August +29°C

Annual average precipitation 27.5cm

5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games 2017

The 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games were held in Ashgabat from 17th-27th September 2017. Ashgabat were named hosts of the Games in Kuwait in December 2010. In addition to 45 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) of the OCA, 17 NOCs from Oceania were allowed to participate at the Games, including Australia and New Zealand.

All competition at the Games took place in the newly constructed Olympic Village and saw sports from indoor athletics, track cycling and swimming in addition to the likes of chess, muay thai, sambo and kurash.

A total of 19 sports were pencilled in to be held during the Games but the OCA President Sheikh Fahad Al-Sabah has said that additional sports may be added in order to promote the Olympic sports movement in Turkmenistan.

The state-of-the-art Olympic Complex is designed to make Ashgabat a major sporting destination
The state-of-the-art Olympic Complex is designed to make Ashgabat a major sporting destination ©Polimeks

Venues for 5th Asian Indoor and martial Arts Games 2017

The Olympic Village hosted competitions for around 11 days, with state-of-the-art venues being built, including an indoor athletics facility, tennis facilities and an aquatic centre. The Olympic Complex included a Paralympic Rehabilitation Medical Centre, a large indoor arena with a capacity of 15,000 and a smaller indoor arena which will have 5,000 seats. Additionally a velodrome was built at the site and can host around 6,000 people.

The overall cost of the Olympic Village totalled around $5 billion (£3 billion/€4.5 billon) with construction carried out by Turkish company Polimeks.

Aside from the Complex the hosts also built shopping centres, hotels, restaurants, cafes, shops, consumer services and a car park, to ensure a first class experience for both athletes and fans. The Athletes’ Village itself has 12,000 beds while an 800-room luxury media hotel was also built in readiness for the Games.

Officials in Turkmenistan believe that the Olympic Complex being built for the Games will host future international competitions and could help the country secure events like the Asian Games.

“Turkmenistan is a fast-growing, developing country and the Government pays great attention to sport,” said Azat Murdov, secretary general of the National Olympic Committee of Turkmenistan.

“After 2017 we have a vision to host big events, like the Asian Games and the Youth Olympic Games, the final destination for us is the Olympic Games. But first we have to gain experience.”

Batyr Orazov, chairman of the State Committee of Turkmenistan for Sport has also claimed that, “this has been a much-anticipated project as everybody looks ahead to the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in 2017”.

“But this development will serve for much longer than these Games – we hope to host many future international sporting events here. The building of Ashgabat’s Olympic Complex is just the beginning for hosting international sport in Turkmenistan.”