Trans Eurasia travel

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Customs regulations

In Turkmenistan official regulations state that you need permission to export any carpet over 6 sq m , though trying to export a smaller one without an export licence is also likely to be problematic. In all cases it’s best to take your carpet to the Carpet Museum in Ashgabat, where there is a bureau that will value and tax your purchase, and provide an export licence. This can take up to a few days. There are several fees to pay.

One certifies that the carpet is not antique, which usually costs US$10 to US$30, while a second is an export fee that costs around US$50 per square metre. As with all government taxes on foreigners, these are paid in US dollars. When you buy a carpet at a state shop, these fees will be included in the price, but double check before handing over your money. Those in a hurry are best advised to buy from one of the many government shops in Ashgabat, where all carpets come complete with an export licence. Despite being more expensive than purchases made at Tolkuchka Bazaar, this still works out as very good value. Antiques are difficult to impossible to export. If you are transiting through the country carrying antiques bought in Iran, Uzbekistan or elsewhere, make sure to list those items on your customs form when you enter the country.

Anything that looks remotely old, used or scrubby could be considered an antique.