Balkan Region

40°0′N 55°0′E / 40.000°N 55.000°E / 40.000; 55.000

Balkan welaýat
From the top, Yangykala Canyon, Entrance to Türkmenbaşy, Discoverers Monument in Balkanabat
Balkan region in Turkmenistan
Balkan region in Turkmenistan
Country Turkmenistan
 • Total139,270 km2 (53,770 sq mi)
 (2022 census)
 • Total529,895
 • Density3.8/km2 (9.9/sq mi)

Balkan Region (Turkmen: Balkan welaýaty, Балкан велаяты) is the westernmost of the five regions of Turkmenistan. Clockwise from north it borders Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan (north); two provinces of Turkmenistan (east), Iran (south), and the Caspian Sea (west). The capital city is Balkanabat, formerly known as Nebit Dag. The region's boundaries are identical to those of the former Krasnovodsk Oblast', a Soviet-era province of the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic. This oblast was liquidated and restored repeatedly in the 20th century, concluding with its abolition in 1988. However, the administrative boundaries of the region were restored in 1991 when Balkan Region was established.

The province covers 139,270 square kilometers and counts 529,895 residents (2022 estimate).[1] A large minority of these are nomadic herding families.[2] Its population density of 3.8 persons per square kilometer is the lowest in Turkmenistan.

Other cities include: Bereket, Türkmenbaşy, Gumdag, Serdar, Hazar, Etrek, and Esenguly.

Balkan Region has significant hydrocarbon reserves, which in 2019 accounted for 13.9% of Turkmenistan's natural gas production and 93.1% of its petroleum production.[3] It also generated 15.4% of the country's electric power.[3] Due to the very low water supply, agriculture is negligible, and only 4.5% of Turkmenistan's arable lands are within the province.

Off its Caspian shores, the Balkan Region includes the island of Ogurja Ada, the most important island in Turkmenistan and one of the largest in the Caspian Sea.


Loading terminal of the Garabogaz urea (carbamide) plant in Balkan Province, Turkmenistan

One conjecture holds that Balkan comes from Bal akan meaning “where the honey flows”, possibly relating to the locally rich petroleum sources. However, Atanyyazow explains,

This name is derived from the Balkan word meaning "mountain" in ancient Turkic languages (Khasanov, p. 47) - compare the Balkan mountains in Bulgaria. In the Turkic language, it is also used to mean "mountain", "mountain-top mountains" (1 Uretsko-Russian. Sl. M, 1931, p. 110). In the dictionaries of Budagovyts and Gadlovyts, it also occurs in the same sense. This ancient name, which existed in the early 11th century, is interpreted by local elders as "honey flowing"...[4]

Administrative subdivisions


Balkan Province (Balkan welaýaty) is subdivided into 6 districts (etrap, plural etraplar):[5][6]

  1. Bereket (previously Gazanjyk)
  2. Esenguly (previously Hasan-Kuli)
  3. Etrek (previously Gyzyletrek)
  4. Gyzylarbat (from 1999 to 2022 called Serdar)
  5. Magtymguly (previously Garry Gala)
  6. Türkmenbaşy

In addition, part of the city of Turkmenbashy is subdivided into a borough with district status and thus a presidentially appointed mayor.

  1. Awaza etraby

The former Kenar Borough (Kenar etraby) of the city of Turkmenbashy was abolished effective 9 November 2022.[7][8][9][6][10][11][12]


As of January 1, 2017, the province included 10 cities (города or şäherler), 13 towns (посёлки or şäherçeler), 33 rural or village councils (сельские советы or geňeşlikler), and 112 villages (села, сельские населенные пункты or obalar).[6] Two cities, Gumdag and Hazar, were downgraded to town status in November 2022, reducing the number of cities to eight and increasing the number of towns by two. The town of Garagöl was annexed by the town of Hazar, bringing the number of towns to 14.[12]

In the list below, cities with "district status" are bolded:

Railway station in Bereket city, October 2013.
Wall of Yangy Kala Canyon in Balkan Province, Turkmenistan


From 2017 to 2019, Balkan Province produced these volumes of industrial products:[13]

2017 2018 2019
million kwh
5,106.3 4,757.6 3,474.3
Oil (including gas condensate)
thousand tonnes
10,237.9 10,120.9 9,146.4
Natural gas
billion m3
10.5 10.5 9.7
thousand tonnes
1,828.1 1,830.1 1,707.6
thousand tonnes
551.6 567.9 477.4
Diesel fuel
thousand tonnes
1,897 1,182 1,745
Bunker oil
thousand tonnes
623 854.5 674
Sodium sulfate
thousand tonnes
3.1 1.5 0.3
thousand tonnes
888.2 731.2 402.6
Building bricks
6.2 6.8 9.7
thousand tonnes
94.1 94.2 94.3

Turkmenistan's largest petroleum refinery is in the city of Turkmenbashy (viz.).

The Balkan Cement Plant in Jebel was built in 2011 by Turkish firm Polimeks and has a design capacity of one million tons per year.[14][15][16]

The Kiyanly Polymer Factory (Turkmen: Gyýanly Polimer Zawody), inaugurated October 17, 2018, features design capacity to produce 381 thousand tonnes of polyethylene and 81 thousand tonnes of polypropylene per year. Built at a cost of $3.4 billion by LG International, Hyundai Engineering, Toyo Engineering, and Gap Inşaat (a subsidiary of Çalık Holding), the plant cracks methane and ethane for production of polymers.[17] In the first ten months of 2019, however, the factory produced only 67,900 tonnes of polyethylene and 12,700 tonnes of polypropylene.[18]

The $1.3 billion Garabogaz urea (carbamide) plant, built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and GAP İnşaat, was inaugurated on September 18, 2018, with a design capacity of 1.16 million tonnes of urea per year.[19] Between January and October 2019, the Garabogaz plant produced approximately 392,000 tonnes of urea, of which 261,000 tonnes was exported.[20]

Three factories produce iodine in Turkmenistan, all in Balkan Province: one each in Balkanabat, Hazar, and Bereket. The Bereket plant is designed to produce 150 tonnes per year of iodine. Following planned renovations and upgrades, the Balkanabat and Hazar plants will have design capacities of 250 tonnes and 300 tonnes of iodine, respectively, plus 2400 tonnes and 4500 tonnes of bromine, respectively, per year.[21] Total production of iodine in 2019 was 681.4 tonnes.[22]


The M37 highway begins at the Turkmenbashi International Seaport and leads eastward 1200 kilometers in the direction of Ashgabat, Mary, Türkmenabat, and the border with Uzbekistan. A network of paved roads connects major population centers, including the P-15, P-16, P-17, P-18, and P-20 highways. Passenger and car ferry service is available between the seaport in Turkmenbashy and Baku. A major airport is located in Turkmenbashy, and smaller airports are located in Balkanabat, Etrek, Garabogaz, Hazar, and Jebel. A military airfield is located at Ýangyja.

The Trans-Caspian Railway begins in Turkmenbashy and extends eastward to Uzbekistan via Ashgabat, Mary, and Turkmenabat. The International North–South Transport Corridor passes through Balkan Province and intersects the Trans-Caspian Railway at Bereket, which features a large locomotive depot and repair works.

In addition to the seaport at Turkmenbashy, smaller vessel-loading facilities are found at Garabogaz (urea) and Gyýanly (polymers). Turkmenbashi International Seaport operates oil-loading terminals at Alaja, Ekerem, and Kenar, and Dragon Oil loads oil at the port of Hazar.

See also


  1. ^ "Turkmenistan: Regions, Major Cities & Towns - Population Statistics, Maps, Charts, Weather and Web Information". Retrieved 2024-01-16.
  2. ^ Statistical Yearbook of Turkmenistan 2000-2004, National Institute of State Statistics and Information of Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, 2005.
  3. ^ a b Türkmenistanyň Ýyllyk Statistik Neşiri 2019 Ýyl (in Turkmen, Russian, and English). Ashgabat: State Committee of Statistics of Turkmenistan. 2020. p. 42.
  4. ^ Atanyyazov, S. (1970). Türkmenistanyň Toponymyk Sözlügi (in Turkmen). Ashgabat: Ylym. p. 42.
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ a b c "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.
  7. ^ According to Türkmenistanyň dolandyryş-çäk birlikleriniň Sanawy Turkmenbashy until November 2022 was divided into the city of Turkmenbashy proper and the Awaza borough, which consists of the Awaza National Resort Zone plus an administrative center and bedroom community a short distance away as well as the city airport. However, parliamentary and presidential decrees established Kenar borough (Kenar etraby) and that name is attested in these statutes, though it was omitted from the official list of administrative subdivisions. The portion of the city of Turkmenbashy not in Awaza borough was thus referred to as the Kenar borough (Kenar etraby), after the former village of Kenar that was annexed by Turkmenbashy city.
  8. ^ "Балканский велаят: административно-территориальные изменения". 27 May 2016. Archived from the original on 8 July 2018. Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  9. ^ "ПОСТАНОВЛЕНИЕ МЕДЖЛИСА ТУРКМЕНИСТАНА Об административно-территориальных вопросах Балканского велаята". 27 May 2016.
  10. ^ "Расширенное совещание по дальнейшему развитию Национальной туристической зоны «Аваза»" (in Russian). «Туркменистан: золотой век». 31 July 2013.
  11. ^ "Türkmenistanyň Prezidenti "Awaza" milli syýahatçylyk zolagyny mundan beýläk-de ösdürmek boýunça giňişleýin maslahat geçirdi" (in Turkmen). "Türkmenistan: Altyn asyr". 31 July 2013.
  12. ^ a b "Постановление Меджлиса Милли Генгеша Туркменистана" (in Russian). Электронная газета «Золотой век». 10 November 2022.
  13. ^ Türkmenistanyň Ýyllyk Statistik Neşiri 2019 Ýyl (in Turkmen, Russian, and English). Ashgabat: State Committee of Statistics of Turkmenistan. 2020. p. 46.
  14. ^ "На западе Туркменистана построен крупнейший в стране цементный завод" (in Russian). 12 October 2011.
  15. ^ Saeedi, Tariq (26 November 2019). "2020 год может быть поворотным для Туркменистана – Часть 2" (in Russian). News Central Asia.
  16. ^ "Jebel Cement Factory Balkanabat – 2011" (in English, Russian, and Turkish). Polimeks. Retrieved 18 April 2021.
  17. ^ "Полимерный завод в Киянлы добавляет новые возможности в индустриально-экономический микс Туркменистана" (in Russian). News Central Asia. October 18, 2018.
  18. ^ "С начала 2019 г. на ГХК в пос. Киянлы произведено 67,9 тыс. т полиэтилена" (in Russian). November 14, 2019.
  19. ^ "Страсти по каспийскому карбамиду" (in Russian). KORABEL.RU. August 20, 2019.
  20. ^ "Завод «Гарабогазкарбамид» экспортировал с начала года более 261 тысяч тонн удобрений" (in Russian). Turkmenportal. November 13, 2019.
  21. ^ "На западе Туркменистана открыли новый завод по производству йода" (in Russian). SNG Today. 1 July 2019.
  22. ^ Türkmenistanyň Ýyllyk Statistik Neşiri 2019 Ýyl (in Turkmen, Russian, and English). Ashgabat: State Committee of Statistics of Turkmenistan. 2020. p. 29.


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