TURKMENISTAN – TURKMENISTAN – TÜRKMENISTAN

Najveci tepih na svetu-The largest carpet in the world

Najveci tepih na svetu-The largest carpet in the world

Pijaca u Turkmenbasiju-A market in the city of Turkmenbasy

Pijaca u Turkmenbasiju-A market in the city of Turkmenbasy

Pogled na glavni grad-A view of the capital

Pogled na glavni grad-A view of the capital

Predsednik cita svoju knjigu-The President reading his book

Predsednik cita svoju knjigu-The President reading his book

Predsednik je voleo konje-The President loved horses

Predsednik je voleo konje-The President loved horses

Predsednik na vrhu rakete-The President on the top of the rocket

Predsednik na vrhu rakete-The President on the top of the rocket

Predsednikove slike se svuda nalaze - President's pictures are everywhere

Predsednikove slike se svuda nalaze – President’s pictures are everywhere

Predsednikove slike se svuda nalaze-President's pictures are everywhere

Predsednikove slike se svuda nalaze-President’s pictures are everywhere

Rezidencijalni apartmani u glavnom gradu-Residential apartment buildings in Ashgabat

Rezidencijalni apartmani u glavnom gradu-Residential apartment buildings in Ashgabat

Spomenik predsednikovoj knjizi-A monument to Ruhnama, the President`s book

Spomenik predsednikovoj knjizi-A monument to Ruhnama, the President`s book

Stambena zgrada u unutrasnjosti-A residential building in the countryside

Stambena zgrada u unutrasnjosti-A residential building in the countryside

Stanica u Turkmenbasiju-A railway station in Turkmenbasy

Stanica u Turkmenbasiju-A railway station in Turkmenbasy

Vrteska u Turkmenbasiju-A merry-go-round in Turkmenbasy

Vrteska u Turkmenbasiju-A merry-go-round in Turkmenbasy

Zlatna sreca u osmehu-Golden happiness in his smile

Zlatna sreca u osmehu-Golden happiness in his smile

Jedna od najlepsih dzamija na svetu-Kipchak Mosque

Jedna od najlepsih dzamija na svetu-Kipchak Mosque

Jedna od pozlacenih statua predsednika - One of the gold-plated statues of the President

Jedna od pozlacenih statua predsednika – One of the gold-plated statues of the President

Jedna od pozlacenih statua predsednika-One of the gold-plated statues of the President

Jedna od pozlacenih statua predsednika-One of the gold-plated statues of the President

Mladenci ispred spomenika nezavisnosti i miru-Newly weds in front of the Independence and Peace monument

Mladenci ispred spomenika nezavisnosti i miru-Newly weds in front of the Independence and Peace monument

Molitva na svetom mestu-A prayer in a holy place

Molitva na svetom mestu-A prayer in a holy place

Turkmenistan je jedina zemlja čije vlasti su nekoliko puta odbijale da mi
izdaju ulaznu vizu, ali sam posle više od godinu dana upornosti ipak uspeo
da je dobijem, sve vreme se pitajući u čemu je razlog. Postalo mi je pomalo
jasno kada sam došao u nju, a što je izgledalo kao ulazak u futuristički
film iz šezdesetih godina XX veka: bele mermerne palate do kojih vode aleje
najlepšeg cveća. Međutim, nešto je odmah nedostajalo: ljudi, koji bi trebalo
da se pojave u belim togama kao u nekom od tih filmova. Ali njih nije bilo.
Ulice i trgovi bez ljudi i uobičajene gradske vreve delovali su sablasno.
Uglavnom je prisutna policija ili vojska koja čuva državne zgrade, a poneki
prolaznik koji se pojavi u potpunom je neskladu sa ambijentom. Umesto u
beloj togi, obučen je kao Rus iz vremena komunizma. Nepoverenje pojavom
retkog stranca sa kamerom na ogromnim trgovima svakako je veliko, kao i
stalna upozorenja da se ne sme fotografisati ništa što ima zastavu i državna
obeležja. A ona se nalaze svuda, kao i ogromne slike najvećeg i najdražeg
narodnog vođe, svevidećeg Velikog Brata: njegovi zlatni spomenici, portreti,
biste, sve do spomenika neslućenih razmera na centralnom gradskom trgu. Sa
njegovog vrha, raširenih ruku, pozdravlja svoj narod ogromna zlatna statua
oca nacije i prvog predsednika Turkmenbašija. Nikako nisam mogao da se
probudim iz sna i uverim se da tako nešto zaista još negde postoji, osim u
Severnoj Koreji. Jedino što pomalo ukazuje na Orijent jesu grupice žena u
tradicionalnoj odeći, koje stalno čiste ulice, predvođene zapovednicom grupe
odevenom u građanski komplet.
Na Orijent ukazuju i mnoge predsednikove slike sa tepihom u pozadini, jer je
Turkmenistan poznat kao proizvođač najboljih tepiha. U Muzeju tepiha može se
videti najveći primerak na svetu, koji je ušao u Ginisovu knjigu rekorda, a
predsednikovu sliku video sam u zlatnom ramu, pored ostalog, i u kabini
aviona.
Posetio sam Turkmenbaši, grad na obali Kaspijskog mora, koji se u sovjetsko
vreme zvao Krasnovodsk. Veoma je dosadan i beživotan grad, iako se duž obale
grade ogromni mermerni hoteli, kojima mnogo nedostaje da bi počeli da žive.
Inače, kompleks petrohemijske industrije najveći je koji se može zamisliti,
veći i od onih u zemljama Zaliva. Stanovnici ove zemlje, koji često imaju
zlatne prednje zube, ponosni su na to sterilno bogatstvo, pa bi i oni da
pokažu svoju malu, ličnu imovinu, makar i onu intraoralnu, iako im je veoma
teško izmamiti osmeh.
Glavni grad Ašhabad, što u prevodu sa persijskog znači Grad ljubavi, često
ostavlja bez daha, i to onda kad ne znate da li ste možda zalutali u novi
Stari Rim ili neki grad budućnosti. U njemu se ne vide tehnološka čuda,
električni vozovi iznad zemlje i gužva na ulicama, već je sve u belom
mermeru i čistim linijama, kojima su izvedene poslovne i stambene zgrade,
univerziteti, avenije, kolonade i gradski parkovi sa spomenicima u cvetnom
okruženju. Nigde nisam video tako čiste javne površine, a skoro da ne
postoji ništa što je bačeno na ulicu. Džamija pored koje je mauzolej
predsednika Turkmenbašija i njegove porodice, najveća je, kažu, u Aziji, a
onda verovatno i u svetu, a mogu slobodno reći i najlepša. Na njenim
minaretima nisu Alahove, već predsednikove reči. Ipak, najveći kuriozitet je
predsednikova knjiga Ruhnama, kojoj je, zbog njenog značaja, podignut veliki
spomenik u centru grada iz koga se uveče, uz prigodno osvetljenje, sa
zvučnika mogu slušati predsednikove poruke narodu.
U ovu zemlju se teško ulazi jer je vlast, ipak, u strahu da nekontrolisani
strani uticaji mogu negativno delovati na planirani razvoj koji rukovodstvo
zemlje čvrsto drži u svojim rukama. Zemlja je prebogata, a narod siromašan.
On i dalje odlazi na jedno malo sveto mesto izvan grada ili do ruševina
antičkog grada Nisa, gde izvodi skromni obred, a magija tog mesta mu, kažu,
pomaže da se želja ostvari.
Tu sam se, ipak, najbolje osećao.

Maj 2010.
___________________________________________________________

Turkmenistan is the only country whose officials refused me a visa several
times, but I managed to get it eventually after one year of persistence; I
kept asking myself along the way what the reason for the refusal could be. I
sort of guessed it once I entered the country – it was like I entered a
futuristic film from the 1960s: white marble palaces and paths with most
beautiful flower beds leading you to them. However, something was
immediately amiss: people, who were supposed to appear in white robes like
in one of those films, were nowhere to be seen. Streets and squares without
people and the usual city bustle appear spooky. It is mostly police or the
army guarding state buildings and a rare passer-by who is at odds with such
surroundings. Instead of a white robe, they were dressed like people from
the Soviet communist era. Mistrust toward a foreigner roaming  huge city
squares with a camera is certainly conspicuous, as are constant warnings
that photographing anything with a flag or state insignia is not allowed.
Yet, they are everywhere. So are the huge pictures of the greatest and most
beloved national leader, the all-seeing Big Brother: his golden monuments,
portraits, sculptures and even a monument of unthinkable dimensions on the
city’s central square. From the top of the monument a gigantic golden statue
of the father of the nation, the first President Turkmenbashi is greeting
the nation with widespread arms. I just could not wake up from this dream
and accept that something like this exists anywhere else apart from North
Korea. The only thing reminding me of the Orient here were small groups of
women in traditional clothes, constantly cleaning the streets, led by the
group commander clad in civilian clothes.
Reminiscent of the Orient are also the many President’s pictures with
carpets in the background, as Turkmenistan is famous for manufacturing the
best carpets. In the Carpet Museum you can see the world’s biggest carpet
which is in the Guinness Book of Records. Amongst other places, I saw the
President’s photo, in a golden frame, in the airplane cabin.
I visited Turkmenbashi, a city on the Caspian Sea, which used to be called
Krasnovodsk in the Soviet era. It is a very boring and lifeless city, even
though along the coast hotels are being built out of marble; they need a lot
more in order to come to life.
The petrochemical industry complex is as huge as you can imagine, bigger
than even those in the Gulf countries. Locals of this country, who often
have front golden teeth, are proud of this sterile wealth, so they feel
compelled to show off their own little fortune albeit it is in their mouths;
yet it is very difficult to get them to smile.
The capital Ashgabat, which in Persian means The City of Love, can often
leave you speechless, when you wonder if you have perhaps strayed into a new
Ancient Rome or a city from the future. Here you cannot see the wonders of
new technology, electrical trains above ground or crowds in the street, yet
everything is in white marble and clean lines, buildings both commercial and
residential, universities, avenues, colonnades, and city parks with
monuments surrounded by flowers. I have never seen public space so clean,
there is virtually nothing thrown on street pavements. Next to the President
Turkmenbashi’s Mausoleum is a mosque that is said to be the biggest in Asia
and then probably in the world; I can honestly say that it is the most
beautiful one as well. On its minarets, it is not Allah’s words that you can
see, they are the Presdient’s words.
Yet the biggest curiosity of all is the President’s book Ruhnama, which is
so significant that it has a monument of its own in the city centre, from
which, in the evening and with appropriate lighting, you can listen to the
President’s messages to his people.
It is difficult to get into this country because the officials are afraid
that uncontrolled foreign  influences can negatively affect the pre-planned
development; its reins are held tightly in the hands of government. The
country is only too rich, while the population is poor. People still go to
one small sacred place outside the city, or the ruins of the ancient city of
Nisa, where they perform a simple ritual; the magic of this place helps your
wishes come true, they say.
This is where I felt the best.

May 2010

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