Straddling the Silk Road and sitting at the crossroads of historical Greater Persia, the Turkic and Mongol steppe empires, the Islamic world and later the Russian sphere of influence, Turkmenistan’s position in the heart of Eurasia has resulted in a long, fascinating and deeply bloody history as well as excellent looking dumplings. The fabled oasis city of Merv was once the largest metropolis on the planet and effectively the capital of the Muslim world, while parts of the arid Caspian coast area were stateless up into modern times. Formerly part of the USSR, post-Soviet Turkmenistan has the dubious claim to one of the wackiest evil dictators in modern history, is the home of the delicious ishlykly, and is the (latest) homeland of the Turkmen people.
Some notes: at one point about an hour in I say the Caspian is the eastern border of Turkmenistan. I meant western.
Also: doing all the research for this episode was an almost ludicrous amount of work lmao please subscribe.
I know the sound is a little ‘wet’, I'm working on it.
Intro and outro music is from the album Terra Nullius by Spectral Wound.
Above: The region.
Above: Modern Turkmenistan.
Above: Ethnic map of Central Asia. Notice how Turkmenistan is effectively two strips along the rivers.
Above: The good old days (for Persia)
Above: Tocharians = Kushan Empire
Above: Huns and Hephthalites! Bad news for the contemptible seed-eaters!
Above: Suddenly — Gokturks.
Above: The Tang around 650 CE. The westernmost protectorate are up against modern Turkmenistan.
Above: The Seljuks around 1000 CE. The Sultanate of Rum is the shaded part in the west.
Above: Genghis Khan vs the world.
Above: the Russian Empire closing in on the Khiva Khanate.
Above: the Turkmen SSR within the Soviet Union.