Turkmenistan Culture and Cultural Policy

Turkmenistan Culture and Cultural Policy

The cultural scene is oriented towards the needs of maintaining current power structures. The entire cultural landscape is state-organized and centrally controlled. The focus is on folkloric dance and singing events, patriotic performances and mass spectacles. President Niyazov called numerous cultural institutions superfluous and therefore banned them. In addition to playing recorded music at public events and playback singing, ballet, opera, theater, circus and cinema in particular were prohibited. The corresponding buildings were partly looted and mostly destroyed.

President Berdimuhamedow legalized these institutions again, but ordered the content to be based on state guidelines. For example, the cinemas are obliged to focus the films they show on Turkmenistan productions. Due to the limited supply, the “Ashgabat” cinema has shown the film ” Turkmenistan, the paradisiacal land” every evening since it opened in 2011.

The theaters, which were also reopened, received comparable arrangements. Pieces by non-Turkmenistan authors are rarely performed. On the other hand, in the fall of 2012, a book by President Berdimuhamedov entitled “A Good Name Is Inextinguishable” was premiered as a play.

The newly opened circus under President Berdimuhamedow also serves similar goals. The performances focus, among other things, on the Akhal-Teke horses, which President Berdimuhamedow particularly appreciates. A visit by the president to the circus on the occasion of such a performance was accordingly lavishly staged.

According to justinshoes, the Turkmenistan museums also serve primarily to convey some of the traditional Turkmenistan values, the official version of Turkmenistan history and the specifics of Turkmenistan culture. For this reason, exhibitions by artists (including those of Turkmenistan origin) are consistently prevented if their conception of art does not correspond to that of the Turkmenistan government.

The art movements supported include, for example, traditional carpet knotting, jewelry, traditional weaving and knotting and the artistic upgrading of traditional clothing with traditional patterns, as well as the depiction of the Akhal-Teke horses, the president and a glorifying, harmonious depiction of the traditional in painting Life of the population. The range of jewelry, carpets and pictures of Akhal-Teke horses is correspondingly diverse on the Turkmenistan markets.

Turkmenistan Culture

Books and the book market

The contents of the books available in Turkmenistan are also based on ideological guidelines. The government controls the printing of all books and only allows books that are either written by, or dedicated to, the president or that are in line with the government ‘s goals. Accordingly, no works of fiction have been printed since independence. Only in the antiquarian department of a bookstore on Turkmenbashi Street in Ashgabat some novels from the Soviet era are still available. In addition, in the former Tolkutschka Bazaar (and partly still known under this name), which opened in 2011, the Bazaar of the Golden Age (Altyn Asyr Bazar) outside of Ashgabat can be found again and again with dealers who still have individual non-fiction books and novels from the Soviet era. In contrast, there is a large selection of books from the president’s pen, about the life and actions of President Berdimuhamedow and President Niyazov, as well as illustrated books on the Akhal-Tekke horses, traditional Turkmenistan handicrafts or the modern architecture of the capital. In October 2015 one of Berdimuhamedow appeared for the first time to compose poem.

The import of foreign books is subject to strict rules. Since foreign publishers have hardly been able to bring exhibits into the country for the Turkmenistan Book Fair in recent years due to these regulations, they have been taking part in Turkmenistan book fairs less and less since 2009.

World cultural heritage

According to the position of Turkmenistan in the sphere of influence of historical empires as well as along the Silk Road, diverse legacies of bygone times can be found scattered all over the country. Three of the most outstanding of these testimonies – the Achaemenid provincial capital Konye Urganch, the Parthian fortress city of Nissa and the ruined city of Merv – have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Other locations have been submitted for recognition by UNESCO.


The fact that Turkmenistan, the only successor state of the Soviet Union, has not yet been able to win a medal at the Olympic Games should not hide the fact that sport plays an important role in Turkmenistan. In particular, Turkmenistan knows numerous forms of wrestling competition and for each of the forms countless rules and subspecies. Wrestling competitions are just as much a part of folk festivals as they are performed and held at weddings and other festivities.

Partly to compensate for the poor yield at the Olympic Games, the President had the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games hosted in 2017, and the ten-day competition cost an estimated 7-10 billion euros. After the country in the previous games of this kind in the national rankings could not occupy the front seats, it led the scoring in Ashgabat at the end of a wide margin. In terms of national sportiness as proof of national strength and strength, the President celebrated the Games as a success for the Turkmenistan nation. Continuing this thought, he also stages himself as one in numerous sports outstanding athletes.

Football is now considered the most popular sport in the country, but the country has not yet achieved any significant regional or national success.