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Behavior in Places of Worship

Some places of worship in Turkmenistan may be visited by non-Muslims. Islamic shrines, often found inside cemeteries, may be off-limits to non-Muslim travelers. Those wanting to visit a mosque or shrine should inquire in advance if and when it may be visited. The following general rules concern etiquette for visiting mosques. Be sure to ask a local if there are any specific requirements besides these. It is not acceptable to enter the mosque when others are conducting prayers. Once inside, as with most religious or sacred institutions, speak softly and respectfully, and do not disturb those at prayer.

Dress conservatively. For men this means clean, pressed trousers and long-sleeve shirts; for women, long skirts and long-sleeve blouses with a head cover or scarf. When entering a mosque, shoes should be removed, but not socks. Inside a mosque, visitors should not touch any ceremonial objects or copies of the Quran. Policies prohibit photography in the Turkmenbashi Ruhy Mosque. Loud talking, laughing, eating, or smoking are not acceptable in any place of worship. Finally, never walk in front of someone who is praying, because it invalidates their prayer.