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A visit to Independence Square gives travelers the opportunity to view many important sites, including the Presidential Palace, the Ruhyyet Palace, and the Ministry of Defense.
© Rini Kools / Shutterstock

Independence Square

Located directly in the centre of Ashgabat is the cannot-be-missed Independence Square, where you'll find some of the most important buildings in the city, all made of marble and gold.

Although Independence Square is full of important landmarks, the dominant building in the precinct is the giant Oguzkahn Palace, the main residence of the President of Turkmenistan. Majestic white and gold fences around the palace prevent visitors from getting too close, but like every other building in Ashgabat, the Oguzkahn palace is a stunning sight to behold.

An aerial view of the impressive Independence Square. © Rini Kools / Shutterstock
An aerial view of the impressive Independence Square. © Rini Kools / Shutterstock

Standing next to the presidential palace is the white, gold, and turquoise Ruhyyet Palace, which is surrounded by lush gardens. This is where most official government work and meetings take place, and sharply dressed guards atop chestnut-coloured horses parole the building, ensuring that all stays orderly.

The equally stunning Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Education, and Palace of Justice are found here as well. Independence Square is also home to the largest flatscreen TV in Central Asia, where messages from the president are broadcasted.

To witness one of Ashgabat's biggest events, come in September, when the square is home to the annual Turkmen Independence Day Parade – the largest military parade in Central Asia – in celebration of freedom from the Soviet Union. The parade kicks off with the Minister of Defence driving through in his white Rolls Royce Phantom to inspect the procession, followed by a grand performance of the national anthem, raising of the flag, and a march by members of every military branch (including a fly-over by military planes).