Around the World in Analogue: Turkmenistan

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The Central Asian country of Turkmenistan is among the least visited by tourists because of stringent visa policy. It is nevertheless packed with history, culture and landmarks worth getting acquainted with, and this is exactly what community member Jaclyn (@lomographer_to_be) was able to do during a visit about four years ago.

In this edition of Around the World in Analogue, we're taking a look at Jaclyn's visit to Turkmenistan, especially its capital Ashgabat which is home to impressive marble mosques and buildings as well as outstanding monuments and landmarks. Let's get into it!

Credits: Jaclyn

Name: Jaclyn
LomoHome: @lomographer_to_be
Social Media: lomographer_to_be (Instagram)
Camera: Lomo LC-A+
Film: Fujifilm Superia 400 and Fujicolor 100
Location: Turkmenistan

Around four years ago, I had the chance to visit one of the most inaccessible countries in the world, Turkmenistan. Located in Central Asia, Turkmenistan is a country covered by desert next to the Caspian Sea. The country houses an incredible number of archeological ruins and monuments of the Silk Road, making it the dream place for history fanatics.

However, due to political reasons, the country is not open to the world and it is difficult to obtain a visitor visa. I obtained a visitor visa through a travel agency in Hong Kong, and we visited Turkmenistan as a group. Although our visit was pre-approved, it still took us an hour to process through Turkmenistan customs at the airport before being granted entry into the country, and no photos were allowed in any parts of the airport.

It was indeed a memorable trip with my Lomo LC-A+ as I got to capture the rare scenery of this mysterious country under the extreme temperature of 40°C.

Credits: Jaclyn

I spent one and a half week travelling to different cities in this closed country, learning about the history and culture there. I visited the lavish golden statues and white marble buildings in Ashgabat, the ruins of the city of Merv in Mary, as well as the seashore retreat and Russian Orthodox Church in Turkmenbashi.

I also had the opportunity to interact with local people despite the language barrier, as well as ride on the well-known Akhal-Teke horses. The experience with the Turkmen was unforgettable! Since they rarely see people from other countries, the locals were very curious about our group wherever we went.

Credits: Jaclyn

Of course, we could not communicate because of the language barrier, but they were welcoming and very excited to see us. The most interesting part is that they loved taking photos with us. All the Turkmens we met at the ferris wheel and the museums asked to take selfies with us, and it was indeed a very special experience.

The reason why I chose to visit Turkmenistan is that I have always been interested in learning more about different cultures. Turkmenistan is one of the least visited countries in the world (less than 9,000 visitors per year!), and there isn't a lot of information about this country on the internet. Therefore, when I encountered the opportunity, I decided to visit this mysterious country.

Credits: Jaclyn

The most notable tourist attraction in Turkmenistan is the Darvaza gas crater, which is also known as the Gates to Hell. It is a collapsed natural gas field which has been burning since the 1970s. I stayed overnight at a tent next to this gas crater to record its day and night view with my film camera.

The breath-taking scenery of the ever-burning fire in the 70-metre-wide crater is definitely one of my most unforgettable travel moments.


We'd like to thank Jaclyn for sharing her images and stories with us! To keep in touch, visit her LomoHome or Instagram Page.

Want to take us Around the World in Analogue? Drop a line to aj.bajo@lomography.com with the subject Around the World in Analogue and share your unforgettable travels with the rest of the community! Read the guidelines here.

written by sylvann on 2023-06-27 #culture #people #places #around-the-world #lomo-lc-a #turkmenistan #around-the-world-in-analogue #ashgabat #lomographer_to_be #jaclyn-fong

Mentioned Product

Lomo LC-A+

Lomo LC-A+

Be an analogue photography pro with the Lomo LC-A family. Get the signature ‘35mm Lomographic look’ with shadowy vignettes, eye-popping colors and saturation.The Lomo LC-A is the Russian classic with customizable aperture settings. The Lomo LC-A+ has awesome added tricks like multiple exposure capabilities, extended ISO range up to 1600 and a cable release thread!

6 Comments

  1. rolfmg
    rolfmg ·

    Can't agree more!

  2. sylvann
    sylvann ·

    It piqued my interest, too, @klawe and @rolfmg !

  3. rolfmg
    rolfmg ·

    @klawe that is true, if one has time, there may be other means/ways of transport less expensive though(for instance via BKK, to be combined with a South East Asia trip); but it may have some unpredictable "pot-holes".

  4. rolfmg
    rolfmg ·

    @klawe I would volunteer for that job....

  5. sylvann
    sylvann ·

    Ahaha Klaus I had to google translate this, I am not even sure they'd approve my visa but if given the opportunity this would be the trip of a lifetime for me, too! 😂 @klawe

  6. polaroidlove
    polaroidlove ·

    Wow, great photos!

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