Ertogrul Gazy Mosque
Taking Shevchenko Kochesi eastwards from the city centre, you reach on the left-hand side the impressive Turkish-built Ertogrul Gazy Mosque, named in honour ol the Turkic leader who, facing the Mongol advance into Central Asia, took his followers into Asia Minor in the 13th century. His son Osman founded there what would develop into the Ottoman Empire. The mosque takes its inspiration from Ottoman architecture, as a symbol of the ties between Turkmenistan and Turkey, and offers more than a nod towards the design of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. It has a large central dome, around which four half-domes cluster. The corners of the mosque are marked by slender minarets 70m high, each with three encircling exterior galleries. On the northern side of the mosque is a courtyard surrounded by an arched portico, topped with a further series of small domes. The interior is a rich concoction of red and white marble arches, deep-red prayer mats, and a reddish-tinged light achieved through spot lighting and stained-glass windows. There is a striking minbar, or pulpit, with a sharply pointed conical roof decorated in blue and gold designs. The glass-fronted building in front of the mosque houses the Turkmen Council for Religious Affairs and the Turkish Cultural Centre.
Two blocks to the north, across Magytmguly Shayoly, is a large statue of the Turkmen poet Kemine, depicted with the fingers of one hand thrown up, as if grasping for an idea. His head is cocked slightly; another suggestion of a thoughtful, poetical mood.