Trans Eurasia travel

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The largest village on the road from Ashgabat to Dashoguz, Erbent lies 157km north of the Dashoguz Gate into Ashgabat. As with most of the desert settlements in the Kara Kum, Erbent is surrounded by sand dunes; the result of over-grazing. Some Turkmen travel agencies organise day trips here from Ashgabat, offering the visitor a packaged but still pretty authentic taste of desert life. Activities typically include displays of felt rug making, the baking of bread in a tamdyr, and camel-milking.  Two-day visits, including an overnight stay in a yurt, are also sometimes available.

Erbent is somewhat chaotic settlement of single-storey buildings, many with adjucent yurts, its economy focused on pastoralism. An obelisk in the centre of the village featuring a relief of a Turkmen lady whose head is held low in grief, (commemorates the deaths of 11 men in 1931 at the hands of the basmachi, Central Asian opponents of Soviet power. The inscription on the obelisk records that they made their sacrifice to secure the triumph of socialism, the realisation of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the collectivisation of agriculture.