Ahal Region

Ahal welaýaty
From the top, Darvaza Gas Crater, Ruins of Seýit Jemaladdin Mosque
Ahal region in Turkmenistan
Ahal region in Turkmenistan
Country Turkmenistan
 • Total97,160 km2 (37,510 sq mi)
 (2022 census)
 • Total886,845
 • Density9.1/km2 (24/sq mi)

Ahal Region (Turkmen: Ahal welaýaty; from Persian: آخال, romanizedAxāl, also Russian: Ахалский велаят) is one of five provinces of Turkmenistan. It is in the south-center of the country, bordering Iran and Afghanistan along the Kopet Dag Range. Its area is 97,160 km2 (37,510 sq mi) and population 886,845 (2022 census).[1][2]


In 2000, Ahal Region accounted for 14% of Turkmenistan's population, 11% of the total number of employed, 23% of agricultural production (by value), and 31% of the country's total industrial production.[3]

Ahal's agriculture is irrigated by the Karakum Canal, which stretches all the way across the province from east to west, tracking Turkmenistan's southern border. Another water source is the Tejen River, which flows north from Afghanistan in the southeast corner of the province, passing through two large reservoirs south of the city of Tejen.

Ahal is known for the Battle of Geok Tepe of 1881, today the site of the imposing Saparmurat Hajji Mosque, and for the Bäherden underground warm lake (in the Kov Ata karst cave),[4][5] both west of Ashgabat.

The administrative centre of Ahal Province is Arkadag, a $1.5 billion mostly greenfield development just west of the city limit of Ashgabat, Turkmenistan's capital city.[6][7][8][9][10] The city was named in honor of former President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, whose official nickname is Arkadag.[6][11] The capital until 20 December 2022 was Änew (or Anau), a city on the south-eastern outskirts of Ashgabat. One other notable city is Tejen in the south-east near the border with Mary Province. Turkmenistan's largest city, Ashgabat, is surrounded by Ahal Province, but as the national capital it enjoys status equal to that of a province and is outside Ahal Province's jurisdiction.


From antiquity through the early 1800s, the area was populated by Persian-speaking peoples. Nisa, since 2013 located within the city limits of Ashgabat, was likely founded in the third century BCE and was the first capital of the Parthian Empire. The area just north of the Kopet Dag mountains forms an oasis due to runoff from the mountains and was thus part of the Silk Road caravan route from roughly 2000 BCE until around 1500 CE.

Turkmen period

British Lieutenant Colonel H.C. Stuart reported in 1881 that the Ahal branch of the Teke tribe of the Turkmen ethnic group arrived in the area around 1830 and established several semi-nomadic villages (auls) between what is now the city of Gyzylarbat and village of Gäwers, inclusive.[12] The Ahal area was formally part of Persia but de facto autonomous under Turkoman tribal control until Russian forces defeated the Teke army at the Battle of Geok Tepe in January 1881.

Soviet period

Originally named Ashgabat oblasty in Turkmen (Russian: Ашхабадская область, Cyrillic Turkmen Ашгабат областы), the future Ahal Province was initially formed on 21 November 1939, abolished on 25 May 1959, and reconstituted on 27 December 1973.[13] In 1977 Ashgabat oblasty was awarded the Order of Lenin.[13]

Independent Turkmenistan

On 14 December 1992, the People's Council (Turkmen: Maslahaty) adopted Law No. 783-ХП, “On the Order of Deciding Issues of Administrative-Territorial Structure of Turkmenistan”, and Resolution XM-6.[14] These statutes changed the Russian word oblast' (область), rendered in Turkmen Cyrillic as област, to the Persian loan word welaýat in reference to provinces. The resolution renamed Ashgabat oblasty (Russian: Ашгабатская область, Turkmen Сyrillic: Ашгабат областы) to Ahal welaýaty.[15] Anau was designated the capital of Ahal. The capital was moved to the new city of Arkadag on 20 December 2022.[6]


Ataniyazov wrote,

The meaning of the name is not clear. Khiva historians Munis and Agahi write that the name means "drainage ditch" and it was so named because the Ahal lands were swampy and suitable for rice cultivation (MITT, II, p. 359)...Vambery, on the other hand, writes that the word is derived from the word ak [white] and the addition of -al (Vambery, p. 264).[16]

Administrative subdivisions

A camel roams the Karakum Desert in Ahal Province


Effective January 5, 2018, Ahal Province (Ahal welaýaty) is subdivided into 7 districts (etrap, plural etraplar):[17][18][19]

  1. Ak bugdaý (formerly Gäwers)
  2. Babadaýhan (formerly Kirov)
  3. Bäherden (formerly Baharly)
  4. Gökdepe
  5. Kaka
  6. Sarahs
  7. Tejen


As of 9 November 2022, the province included 9 cities (города or şäherler), 9 towns (посёлки or şäherçeler), 82 rural or village councils (сельские советы or geňeşlikler), and 231 villages (села, сельские населенные пункты or obalar).[19][20]

As of May 2013 Ruhabat District and the city of Abadan (today called Büzmeýin), until then in Ahal Province, were incorporated into the city of Ashgabat and abolished as separate municipalities. In January 2018, the Babadaýhan District of Ahal Province was re-established, and the Kaka, Tejen, Sarahs Districts were reaffirmed. Baharly's former name, Bäherden, was restored in the same decree, and the Altyn Asyr District was abolished.

On 9 November 2022 the new city of Arkadag was formally incorporated as the new capital city of Ahal and was accorded district status.[20]



A Claas-brand combine harvests wheat in Ahal Province
A mixed flock of goats and sheep grazes on a hillside in Ahal Province

Ahal produces wheat and cotton. Cotton grown in Ahal is ginned at mills in Akdepe, Gökdepe, Kaka, and Tejen, and spun into cotton yarn at mills in Ashgabat, Gökdepe, and Kaka. Textile complexes are found in Ashgabat, Akdepe (Bäherden), Gökdepe, and Kaka.[21]

Cotton seed is crushed for extraction of oil and meal at the Ahal Vegetable Oil Enterprise plant near Ovadandepe.[22] It was opened on 17 May 2010 with a design capacity to process 96,000 tons of cotton seed per year, with daily production of 50 tons of cottonseed oil, 10 tons of margarine, 140 tons of cottonseed meal and 70 tons of soybean hulls.[23]

Ahal Province: area and production of selected crops, 2017-2019[24]
area, thousand hectares production, thousand tonnes
2017 2018 2019 2017 2018 2019
Cereals and legumes 240.8 216.0 219.6 491.1 345.4 504.6
Cotton 120.0 120.0 120.0 246.7 232.1 222.5
Vegetables 7.6 7.0 7.1 227.4 223.1 233.5


On June 28, 2019, a $1.7 billion factory for producing gasoline out of natural gas was commissioned in Ovadandepe, Gökdepe District. Built by Rönesans and Kawasaki using technology from Haldor Topsoe, the factory has a design capacity of 600,000 tonnes of gasoline, 12,000 tonnes of Diesel fuel, and 115,000 tonnes of liquefied petroleum gas per year, produced from 1.7 billion cubic meters of natural gas.[25][26][27][28][29]

In 2019, Turkmenistan produced 5.1 million standard square meters (4mm thickness) of sheet glass, all of it in Ahal.[30] A $375 million float glass and glass container plant built by Tepe Inşaat of Turkey was opened February 14, 2018, in Ovadandepe north of Ashgabat.[31][32][33] It replaced a Soviet-era glass factory located in central Ashgabat. In 2019, the value of Turkmenistan's glass exports as reported by trading partners was $9.5 million.[34]

A steel smelter, Türkmen Demir Önümleri Döwlet Kärhanasy (English: Turkmen Iron Products State Enterprise), operating on scrap metal is located at kilometer 22 on the Ashgabat-Dashoguz Automobile Highway near Ovadandepe. It produces mainly rebar and channel iron.[35][36][37]

The $240 million Tejen urea (carbamide) plant, inaugurated on March 18, 2005, has a design capacity of 350,000 tonnes of urea per year.[38]

The Baherden Cement Plant, put into operation in 2005, has a design capacity of one million tons of cement per year.[39] In 2019 the Baherden plant reportedly was operating at 64% of capacity. The Kelete Cement Plant has a design capacity of one million tons per year, but as of 2019 was producing at 8.1% of that level.[40]

The Derweze State Electrical Power Station (Turkmen: Derweze Döwlet Elektrik Stansiýasy), a 504.4 megawatt power plant built by Çalık Enerji in 2015, is located near Ovadandepe.[41][42] The Ahal State Power Station (Turkmen: Ahal Döwlet Elektrik Stansiýasy), located about 9 kilometers NE of Anau, with design capacity of 650 megawatts, was constructed in 2010 to power the city of Ashgabat and expanded in 2013 and 2014 to power the Olympic Village.[43][44][45][46]

Ahal Province: Production of selected industrial products, 2017-2019[47]
2017 2018 2019
million kwh
5,100.3 5,219.7 4,936.4
Gas condensate
thousand tonnes
71.2 50.0 53.4
Natural gas
billion m3
11.7 10.9 10.9
thousand tonnes
- - 74.5
Mineral fertilizer
thousand tonnes (NPK basis)
89.2 92.8 81.8
thousand tonnes
1,131.3 984.6 733.3
Sheet glass (4 mm standard thickness)
million m2
- 4.4 5.1
36.4 38.2 31.6
Cotton lint
thousand tonnes
60.7 33.6 60.8
Cotton yarn
thousand tonnes
20.0 19.6 21.6
Cotton fabric
million m2
25.9 23.8 31.8

Government installations

The Ovadandepe Prison is located approximately 30 kilometers NNW of G. Orazow adyndaky oba, the seat of the Ovadandepe Rural Council (Turkmen: Owadandepe geňeşligi). The National Space Agency's ground station for communicating with the TurkmenÄlem-52E satellite is located approximately 6 kilometers north of the Ashgabat city limit off the P-1 highway.[48]


Partner regions

Ahal Region cooperates with:

See also


  1. ^ Statistical Yearbook of Turkmenistan 2000–2004, National Institute of State Statistics and Information of Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, 2005.
  2. ^ "Turkmenistan: Regions, Major Cities & Towns - Population Statistics, Maps, Charts, Weather and Web Information". www.citypopulation.de. Retrieved 2024-01-16.
  3. ^ Social-economic situation of Turkmenistan in 2000, National Institute of State Statistics and Information of Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, 2001, pp. 129-130 (in Russian).
  4. ^ Baharden warm lake Archived November 21, 2008, at the Wayback Machine in Kov Ata cave.
  5. ^ Turkmenistan: an official guide Archived October 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine (downloadable Word file).
  6. ^ a b c "Постановление Меджлиса Милли Генгеша Туркменистана об отнесении к категории города нового современного административного центра Ахалского велаята и присвоении ему наименования" (in Russian). Электронная газета «Золотой век». 21 December 2022.
  7. ^ "В Масштабной Программе Развития Регионов--Приоритеты Социальной Политики". Нейтральный Туркменистан. 1 November 2018.
  8. ^ "Глава государства рассмотрел проект нового административного центра Ахалского велаята" (in Russian). Государственное информационное агентство Туркменистана. 31 October 2018.
  9. ^ "Ahal welaýatynda sebitiň Aşgabatdan pes oturmaýan täze paýtagty gurlar" (in Turkmen). Chronicles of Turkmenistan. 1 November 2018.
  10. ^ Rickleton, Chris (25 December 2022). "Turkmenistan Builds New $1.5 Billion City, Far Removed From Grinding Poverty". RFE/RL.
  11. ^ Meredow, Begenç (26 December 2022). "Образец славного будущего страны" (in Russian). Нейтральный туркменистан.
  12. ^ The Country of the Turkomans. London: Oguz Press and the Royal Geographical Society. 1977. ISBN 0-905820-01-0., Chapter 11, Stuart, Lt. Col. H.C., The Country of the Tekke Turkomans, and the Tejend and Murghab Rivers, lecture delivered in 1881.
  13. ^ a b Туркменская Советская Социалистическая Республика: Энциклопедический справочник (in Russian). Ashkhabad: Издательство Чувашского обкома КПСС. 1984. p. 478.
  14. ^ "Türkmenistanyň Halk Maslahatynyň Çözgüdi HM-6 Türkmenistanda administratiw-territorial düzümleriň statusyny bellemek hakynda" (PDF) (in Turkmen). Parliament of Turkmenistan. 14 December 1992.
  15. ^ "Turkmenistan Geoname Changes / Central Government Sole Authority for Geographic Names". OpenStreetMap. Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  16. ^ Atanyyazov, S. (1970). Türkmenistanyň Toponymyk Sözlügi (in Turkmen). Ashgabat: Ylym. p. 34.
  17. ^ Türkmenistanyň Mejlisi (2010–2018). "Türkmenistanyň dolandyryş-çäk birlikleriniň Sanawy". Türkmenistanyş Mejlisiniň Karary. Ashgabat.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link) This document is reproduced online at https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Districts_in_Turkmenistan.
  18. ^ "Парламент Туркменистана внёс изменения в административно-территориальное деление Ахалского велаята". 5 January 2018.
  19. ^ a b "Административно-территориальное деление Туркменистана по регионам по состоянию на 1 января 2017 года". Archived from the original on 2018-07-08. Retrieved 2018-07-08.
  20. ^ a b "Постановление Меджлиса Милли Генгеша Туркменистана" (in Russian). Электронная газета «Золотой век». 10 November 2022.
  21. ^ "MINISTRY OF TEXTILE INDUSTRY OF TURKMENISTAN / Companies". Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  22. ^ "«Ahal» ösümlik ýagy kärhanasy açyldy" (in Turkmen). RFE/RL. 18 May 2010.
  23. ^ "Великие свершения великой эпохи - 2010 год" (in Russian). «Туркменистан: золотой век». 21 February 2012.
  24. ^ Türkmenistanyň Ýyllyk Statistik Neşiri 2019 Ýyl (in Turkmen, Russian, and English). Ashgabat: State Committee of Statistics of Turkmenistan. 2020. p. 67.
  25. ^ "Kawasaki Launches World's Largest GTG Plant in Turkmenistan". June 28, 2019.
  26. ^ "Gas-To-Gasoline (GTG) Plant Completed, Turkmenistan | Renaissance Heavy Industries". July 1, 2019.
  27. ^ Ravn, Svend (June 28, 2019). "World's only natural gas-to-gasoline plant in operation in Turkmenistan".
  28. ^ Uesaka, Yoshifumi (November 6, 2014). "Kawasaki Heavy to build world's 1st gas-to-gasoline plant in Turkmenistan". Nikkei Asia.
  29. ^ Aliyeva, Jeila (August 31, 2020). "Turkmenistan and Japan review gasoline production plant construction in Akhal region". NeftegazRU.com.
  30. ^ Türkmenistanyň Ýyllyk Statistik Neşiri 2019 Ýyl (in Turkmen, Russian, and English). Ashgabat: State Committee of Statistics of Turkmenistan. 2020. p. 30.
  31. ^ Morris, Greg (February 16, 2018). "$375 million glass plant opens in Turkmenistan". Glass International.
  32. ^ "Tepe İnşaat Constructs the Most Modern Glass Complex of Central Asia in Turkmenistan". Tepe İnşaat. February 14, 2018.
  34. ^ "UN Comtrade Database". Database search on HS Code 70 "Glass and glassware", Trading partner "Turkmenistan", Reporters "All"
  35. ^ "Металлургический завод". Turkmenportal. October 17, 2012.
  36. ^ "Новый металлургический завод будет введен в Овадандепе". Turkmenportal. December 20, 2018.
  38. ^ "В Туркменистане сдан в эксплуатацию Тедженский карбамидный завод" (in Russian). Turkmenistan.ru.
  39. ^ "Бахарденский цементный завод увеличил темп роста производства на 100,44%" (in Russian). Turkmenportal. 21 August 2020.
  40. ^ Saeedi, Tariq (26 November 2019). "2020 год может быть поворотным для Туркменистана – Часть 2" (in Russian). News Central Asia.
  41. ^ "Derweze Basit Çevrim Elektrik Santrali" (in Turkish). Çalık Enerji. Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  42. ^ ""Türkmenenergo" döwlet elektroenergetika korporasiýasy" (in Turkmen). Ministry of Energy (Turkmenistan). 14 February 2016. Archived from the original on 11 April 2021. Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  43. ^ "Turkmenistan has increased its electricity exports by 1.5 times". Orient. October 1, 2020. Archived from the original on April 29, 2021. Retrieved April 11, 2021.
  44. ^ "Ambassador Allan Mustard visits the largest GE-supplied gas turbine power plant in Turkmenistan". U.S. Embassy Ashgabat. May 29, 2015.
  45. ^ Hasanov, Huseyn (September 17, 2019). "Turkmen power stations using GE technology". Trend.
  46. ^ ""Türkmenenergo" döwlet elektroenergetika korporasiýasy" (in Turkmen). Ministry of Energy (Turkmenistan). 14 February 2016. Archived from the original on 11 April 2021. Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  47. ^ Türkmenistanyň Ýyllyk Statistik Neşiri 2019 Ýyl (in Turkmen, Russian, and English). Ashgabat: State Committee of Statistics of Turkmenistan. 2020. p. 45.
  48. ^ OpenStreetMap
  49. ^ "Интернет портал СНГ. 7.4. Соглашения между регионом государства – участника СНГ и регионом государства – участника СНГ (Российская Федерация)". Archived from the original on 2016-06-09.

External links

Media related to Ahal Province at Wikimedia Commons

38°30′N 59°0′E / 38.500°N 59.000°E / 38.500; 59.000

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