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|Turkmen: Balkanabat şäheri|
|• Mayor||Balkan Gulmamedov|
|Elevation||17 m (56 ft)|
Balkanabat (Turkmen: Balkanabat şäheri), formerly Nebit-Dag and Neftedag, is the capital city of Balkan Province, the largest province in the Turkmenistan. It lies at the foot of the Balkan Daglary mountain range. Balkanabat is about 450 km west of Ashgabat and 160 km east of the port city of Turkmenbashi. The city has an airport with scheduled daily flights to Ashgabat.
Name and history
The town was founded in 1933 as Neftedag, meaning "Oil Mountain" (from Russian neft, "oil", and Turkmen dag, "mountain"), as a settlement along one of the stations of Trans-Caspian Railway. In 1946, when it was transformed into a city, it was renamed "Nebit-Dag", also meaning "Oil Mountain" but this time using the Turkmen word nebit.
A large monument in the far western end of the city, "Pioneers" (Russian: Первопроходцы), also called "Desert Explorers", depicts a camel, Ivan Gubkin and peers, struggling to hike through the windy Karakum Desert while prospecting for petroleum. Nebit Dag was renamed to Balkanabat (Balkan from the name of the Balkan mountains (not to be confused with the Balkan mountains in Bulgaria), abat – meaning “peaceful” in Turkmen and/or “city” in Persian) in 2001 by the decree of former President of Turkmenistan Saparmurat Niyazov.
Balkanabat's history is very much linked with the use of deposits in Goturdepe, Barsagelmes and Nebitdag. Since the Second World War, the country required significant oil and gas supplies. The first colonists had to live in unbelievable conditions in tents, tilt carts, without power and even without water.
The city adjoins a "Health Path", a concrete circuit hike path to give a moderate hike along the mountainside. It was opened in 2004 in the template of that of Ashgabat. The city has five bazaars (markets) Gök, Jennet, Gündogar, Bereket and bazaar on 5th microregion. There is the large hotel "Nebitçi", a theatre, museums, restaurants and parks. The north side of town has the large park Saparmyrat Türkmenbaşy Seýilgähi. This features trees, tennis courts, a life-size chess board and many benches.
In the 2000s, the city underwent street improvement, construction of large housing facilities and amenities. Overseen by Presidential-level long-term planning massive housing construction continues. The buildings of the State Drama Theater, the Museum of History and Local Lore, a diagnostic center, a wedding palace, a Balkanabat Railway Station building, a Balkan Regional Library, a stadium for 10,000 seats, a multi-profile market and other social and cultural facilities were built in the city.
In January 2022, an earthquake hit neighbouring country Afghanistan but it was also felt here.
In 2011 the population was estimated to be 120,800 residents, 80% of them Turkmen (mainly Yomud tribe), 15% Russians, 3% Kazakhs, 2% Azerbaijanis, 10% others, including Lezgins, Armenians, Uzbeks, Tatars, and Jews.
|Climate data for Balkanabat|
|Average high °C (°F)||7.9
|Daily mean °C (°F)||3.2
|Average low °C (°F)||−0.6
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||11
|Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)||6||5||7||6||4||2||2||1||2||4||5||7||51|
|Average relative humidity (%)||68||63||56||50||43||38||41||34||34||46||58||70||50|
Industry, economy and transport
The representative office of the Russian company Tatneft in the form of a branch is located in Balkanabat.
The city is served by branches of national banks.
The city is connected to other cities by Turkmenistan Airlines, rail, and bus. While there is no official cab company, private citizens operate shared cabs. Almost any vehicle will pick up passengers. If the driver already has passengers, he will agree to take new passengers if they are headed in a similar direction to the other passengers. The city layout is a grid of apartment blocks called kvartal (quarters). The main streets are Magtymguly, Pervomayskiy and Gurbansoltan eje şaýoly.
The Balkanabat Airport terminal was opened in October 2004. It has a design capacity of 200 passengers per hour. At present Turkmenistan Airlines offers no scheduled service in or out of this airport.
Balkanabat sits on the Trans-Caspian Railway running east–west, connecting the capital, Ashgabat, with the Balkan Region. The railway offers both passenger and freight transport. Balkanabat Railway Station is the city's main rail station.
Internet access services and cable TV are provided by the operator Turkmentelecom. There is one internet cafe in the city.
Turkmenpochta is the official national postal operator of Turkmenistan. It currently operates through 4 postal offices in city.
Balkanabat was the home to the Polytechnic Institute, which was an extension of the Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas in Moscow during the Soviet days.
The city has an Oil and Gas Industry School, which operates as a branch of the International Oil and Gas University. The school trains students in such specialties as geology, drilling of oil and gas wells, development and operation of oil and gas fields, chemical technology of oil and gas processing, construction, operation of oil and gas storage, and oil and gas pipeline operation.
High school graduates may receive secondary-specialized education in the following vocational schools: Balkanabat Medical School, Special School of Arts, Financial and Economic Secondary Vocational School, and Oil Secondary Vocational School of the Turkmennebit State Concern.
The Main mosque of the Balkan Region with 3000 seats operates in the city. 4 minarets, 63 m each, rise above the two-story building of the mosque.
A giant yurt "Türkmeniň ak öýi" for famous events was built in the city. The complex includes a concert hall for 3,000 seats with additional buildings, as well as a special room for a Sadaqah of the same capacity.
- Gulshat Orazmuhammedova (born 1974), a Turkmen statesman
The daily state newspaper Balkan published in Balkanabat.
Twin towns and sister cities
- Zonn, Igor S.; Kosarev, Aleksey N.; Glantz, Michael H.; Kostianoy, Andrey G. (2010-05-26). The Caspian Sea Encyclopedia. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 70. ISBN 9783642115240.
- Mayhew, Bradley; Bloom, Greg (2007). Central Asia. Lonely Planet Publications. p. 420. ISBN 9781741046144.
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