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Museum of Turkmen National Values

The Independence Monument is home to a Museum of Turkmen National Values, open daily 09.00-17.30, with a lunch break 12.30-14.00. The admission fee is a heavy US$10, with another charge to take photographs. The entrance is on the south side of the monument. The ground floor features elegant display cases offering Turkmen-language descriptions of the achievements of post-independence Turkmenistan, plus some displays on Turkmen history, focusing on the many states identified in Ruhnama as having been founded by Turkmens. The unlabelled displays of pottery from Margush are much less interesting than the exhibits at the National Museum. A display case of copies of Ruhnama features different language versions of the book, open at the page setting out the national oath. The only English-language labelling in the museum is the texts of various key pieces of post-independence legislation, such as a presidential resolution of February 14 1994 on the provision to the people of Turkmenistan of free salt.

A marble staircase with glass balustrades takes you to the first floor. There is a display of coins from ancient times to the present day. This is the only place you are likely to see the post-independence 1 tenne piece, its value 100th of a manat. A collection of coins of the world includes such rarities as a British 2p piece from 1979. There are displays of silver jewellery destined for women and horses, and actual-size replicas of the gold bull- and wolf-head sculptures found at Altyn Depe. A display of modern jewellery features glittering jewelled Niyazov lapel badges and miniature models of the Neutrality Arch. There is a display case of watches decorated with the president's head in profile, and a collection of Turkmenistan's post-independence medals, which include the Orders of Neutrality, Turkmenbashy and Gurbansoltan Eje.