Think the Gonur Civilization, Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Khorezmshahs. Think fine jewelry, fine carpets. Think endless, perfectly flat deserts. Think oil, gas and marble, some delicious kebab and a pot of chai aside. Think hospitality and endless red tape or army checkpoints. Think yurts and imposing Niyazov era palaces. Welcome to Turkmenistan.

For pictures from Turkmenistan, click here.