Trans Eurasia travel

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Museums

Just beyond the eastern side of the roundabout along Turkmenbashy Shayoly, on the ground floor of a residential apartment block, sits the Museum of Bagshies (traditional Turkmen singers, who accompany their sung and spoken tales with dutar playing; open Mon-Fri 09.00-18.00, with a 13.00-14.00 closure for lunch). It has two main rooms, offering photo-based displays of the most renowned 20th-century singers of Dashoguz Region, including detailed 'family trees' linking the bagshies of different generations by their teacher-pupil relationships. There is a display of Turkmen musical instruments, and a bright mural of Ashyk Aydyn Pir, patron of singers and musicians, who is depicted wearing a long pink coat. A small room to the side features a display of the back pages of the Soviet entertainment magazine Krugozor ('Prospect'), with smiling pictures of the singing stars of the 1960s and 1970s. Among the rows of Soviet stars are a few Western acts who were obviously big in the USSR, such as Abba and a youngjulio Iglesias.

At the north end of Pushkin Kochcsi, which runs off Turkmenbashy Shayoly just to the east of the Diyarbekir Hotel, take the footbridge across the Shabat Canal. The single-storey detached building on your left is the Glory Museum, opened on Victory Day in 1984 to honour the veterans of the Great Patriotic War. The museum is open Monday-Saturday 09.00-18.00. Admission costs 1,000 manat. The main gallery of the museum is devoted to local war heroes, centred around busts of four such Heroes of the Soviet Union. One of them, Saparmurat Hojayev, survived the war to become a teacher. His civilian suit, replete with dozens of medals, is preserved in a glass case. His wheelchair is also on display - the fighting claimed one of his legs. Other rooms focus on Labour Veterans, honoured during the Soviet period for the excellence of their work. There are two rooms of paintings, including a lino-cut in the realist style titled Hot Day 1962, depicting a thirsty agricultural worker. In the museum's entrance hall rests, for some reason, a broken car-rally game.

Behind the Glory Museum stands a tiled obelisk topped with a Soviet star. An eternal flame burns in front. There is a dedication to those killed in the building of Soviet power, and inscriptions recording the names of some of those on the Bolshevik side who lost their lives during the Civil War.


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