Turkmen Carpet Museum

Turkmen Carpet Museum
Established24 October 1994 (1994-10-24)
LocationAshgabat, Turkmenistan
Coordinates37°56′26″N 58°22′40″E / 37.9406°N 58.3779°E / 37.9406; 58.3779
Typenational museum

The Turkmen Carpet Museum or the National Carpet Museum is a national museum, situated on 5 Gorogly Street in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

The museum opened on 24 October 1994.[1] It has the largest collection of Turkmen carpets of any museum.[2] It has a rich collection of Turkmen carpets from the medieval through to the 20th century,[3] including over 1000 carpets from the 18th and 19th centuries.[4][5] Aside from its extensive collection of antique carpets, it has many carpet articles, chuvals, khurjuns, torba etc.[6]

On the first floor of the museum are Tekke and Sarik carpets. The museum is noted for its huge Tekke carpets. One Tekke carpet measures 193m² and weighs a tonne and was made by some 40 people in 1941 to make a curtain for the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.[6][7] Another, made in 2001, is even larger, measuring 301m² and 14 by 21.2 metres and was made to commemorate 10 years of Turkmen independence from the Soviet Union.[8] It is recognised by the Guinness World Records as the largest hand-woven carpet in the world.[7] One carpet, made in 1968, is representative of all the tribes in Turkmenistan, fusing together the different styles to display unity. The museum also has carpets dedicated to President Niyazov.[7] Some of the carpets on display are two-sided, often featuring different design on each side.[9]

Institutional authority

The largest hand-woven carpet in the world at the museum

The carpet museum is also recognized by the Turkmen government as the official authority on Turkmen carpets.[10] Although many carpets are bought from the museum shop or factory,[6] charging M15,000 per square meter of carpet, depending on the carpet quality, many are bought in the extensive Tolkuchka Bazaar on the city outskirts. If anybody in Turkmenistan purchases a carpet and wants to export it, experts from the Carpet Museum must inspect it and issue a receipt confirming that the carpet is not of historical value, to allow it to be exported from Turkmenistan.[10] Usually there are restrictions on exporting carpets older than 30 years old and if it is determined that the carpet has historical value, then a receipt for export will not be given.[11][10] This policy restriction on exporting carpets is not only an obligation for tourists but Turkmen citizens also must have their carpets inspected. This has had a profound impact on entrepreneurs in Turkmenistan who find it difficult to develop their businesses internationally.[12]


  1. ^ "Carpet Museum". Ayan Travel Company. Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved May 10, 2010.
  2. ^ "Museums and Tourist Attractions in Turkmenistan". Embassy of Turkmenistan, Washington, D.C., United States. Archived from the original on October 9, 2006. Retrieved May 13, 2010.
  3. ^ World and Its Peoples: The Middle East, Western Asia, and Northern Africa. Marshall Cavendish. 2006. p. 689. ISBN 0-7614-7571-0.
  4. ^ Hiro, Dilip (2009). Inside Central Asia: A Political and Cultural History of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Iran. Overlook Duckworth. p. 196.
  5. ^ Peoples of Western Asia. Marshall Cavendish. 2006. p. 522. ISBN 0-7614-7677-6.
  6. ^ a b c "Ashghabat - Carpet Museum, Turkmenistan". Odyssei Travel Community, National Geographic Polska. Retrieved May 13, 2010.
  7. ^ a b c Brummel, Paul (2006). Turkmenistan. Bradt Travel Guides. p. 91. ISBN 1-84162-144-7.
  8. ^ Mayhew, Bradley (2007). Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan. Lonely Planet Central Asia. p. 401. ISBN 978-1-74104-614-4.
  9. ^ Carpet Museum, Oriental Express Central Asia
  10. ^ a b c "Taking Carpets out of Turkmenistan". Embassy of the United States, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. Archived from the original on May 27, 2010. Retrieved May 13, 2010.
  11. ^ Escobar, Pepe (2007). Globalistan: An Antidote to the World Is Flat. Nimble Books LLC. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-9788138-2-6.
  12. ^ "Turkmenistan: Native Carpet Weaving An Endangered Tradition". Radio Free Europe. Retrieved May 13, 2010.
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