Turkmenistan is a country in Central Asia. It is bordered by the Caspian Sea and largely covered by the Karakun desert. The country is bordered on much of its north eastern side by Uzbekistan, south eastern side by Afghanistan, and southern side by Iran.
There are however, a host of other facts about the country that you would find interesting which a number of people do not know. For instance, what response are you most likely to get when you make a request? When is too much direct eye contact considered flirtatious? What is one thing women are forbidden to do especially in the rural areas? And why must you not snap your fingers and then hit your two hands together several times?
Find the answers to all these and many more in the following 11 interesting facts about Turkmenistan.
President: Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow
Government: Unitary Presidential Republic
Currency: Turkmen Manat
Population: 5,171,943 (2014 Estimate)
Interesting Facts About Turkmenistan
1. General Greeting
In greetings between men and men, between women and women, and between men and women, handshake prominently features. A kiss on the cheek also features when those greeting are very familiar. But religiously inclined men and/or women do not touch anyone of the opposite sex.
2. Communication Style
Communication style is more direct only in business. But when it comes to among friends and family, communication tends to be indirect. This is because saving is very important to them. For example, you hardly get a direct NO to a request. Wow! Interesting, not so?
3. Minimize Eye Contact With Women
Direct eye contact is acceptable and even expected during conversations. But this is not so when talking with a person of the opposite sex. Too much eye contact when in conversation with persons of the opposite sex is considered flirtatious.
4. Punctuality Vs Lateness
Turkmen people value and appreciate punctuality in business meetings. But when it comes to social life, people hardly think they are wasting your time when they arrive late. The interesting part is that being 15 to 30 minutes late is usual for parties and other social outings.
5. Schedules and No Schedules
If you choose to board a bus, you should know this: they have no schedules. They depart only when they are full. And that could take as long and/or as short as you can guess. But domestic planes and trains tend to run according to schedule.
6. Women’s Roles
Women hold jobs. But the jobs they hold are usually not the high echelon types. Also, women are expected to be more reserved when it comes to relationships. Even more interesting is that women are expected to be modest and keep some distance from non-relative men.
7. Smoking and Drinking
Smoking in public is seen somehow as a taboo for women in many areas. This is because only prostitutes do so. Drinking in public is also looked down upon. So if you are a women visitor, you need to have these in mind.
8. No Smoking for Foreign Women
As a foreign woman, the society could condone your drinking in public. Here is the interesting part: even as a foreign woman, the society does not condone your smoking in public. That is how bad smoking in public is seen by the people of Turkmen.
9. No PDA Allowed
Turkmen find public display of affection distasteful. This is so even if the people involved are a married couple. In fact, in many areas, people would consider those involved in PDA rude. So, learn to keep a lid on your affection…till you are in private.
10. Don’t Snap and Hit Hands
When in Turkmenistan, one thing you must never do is to snap and then hit your hands repeatedly. This gesture is viewed as a taboo. The gesture is taken to mean a sign for copulation. So keep this in mind if you ever visit the country. Interesting!
11. No Snacking Along Streets
Snacking is not a popular practice in the country, especially in the rural areas. But this does not mean that it is received well even in the cities. Snacking in this case is eating while walking along the street. Avoid it in Turkmenistan; they consider it strange.