Dashoguz (Dashhovuz) is the regional capital and has a population of about 160 000 people. The name of the city has undergone a number of changes of spelling. It was once known as Tashauz, the name Dashhovuz briefly held sway until a presidential declaration in 1999 announced that city and region would both be named Dashoguz.
The first evidence of a settlement here dates from the early 19th century. Later, as part of the Khanate of Khiva, its role included that of assuring that local Turkmen tribes remained in line. The modern town dates from the Soviet period. Its construction began in earnest along the southern side of the Shabat Canal in the 1920s. As standard creation of the Soviet Union, Dashogus is a sprawling industrial city with a neat and typical soviet-style center.
The center of Dashoguz itself consists of an enormous boulevard, lined with concrete buildings that are separated by empty lots. Despite this most travelers end up spending a night here, as it’s a useful stopover between Ashgabat and Uzbekistan. The city mostly serves tourists as a transport hub and a convenient base for exploring the region, rather than as a tourist destination in its own right. For some local color, head to the excellent Bai Bazaar, where you can buy pretty much anything. With wide and rather empty streets and expanses of run-down Soviet apartment blocks in the town center, Dashoguz can feel a somewhat desolate place.
The Bai Bazaar, officially known as the Dayhan (Peasant) Bazaar, offers everything that a good central bazaar should. It is located off Gurbansoltan Eje street, a couple of blocks north of the Shabat Canal. Accessing the bazaar through the finely carved wooden doors on the western side, the small bar on your left sells locally produced Concord beer. This remarkable liquid is produced by a Dashoguz entrepreneur using home-brew kits imported from Britain.
If you are staying at the Hotel Uzboy, you might check out Ak Bazaar over the road. The main, domed building is virtually deserted, save for a shop making wedding dresses. The bazaar itself is round the back: a shrine to car parts, with rows of radial tires, headlights and shock absorbers. There is an out-of-town market, the Shor Bazaar, just to the east of the town gate on the Konye-Urgench road, but it is not really worth the trip out.
Museum of Bagshies
Museum of Bagshies (traditional Turkmen singers, who accompany their sung and spoken tales with dutar playing) sits along Turkmenbashy Shayoly, on the ground floor of a residential apartment block.
The Bagshies museum has two main rooms, offering photo-based displays of the most renowned 20th-century singers of Dashoguz Region, including detailed ‘family trees’ linking the bagshies of different generations by their teacher-pupil relationships. There is also a display of Turkmen musical instruments, and a bright mural of Ashyk Aydyn Pir, patron of singers and musicians, who is depicted wearing a long pink coat.
Glory Museum was opened on the Victory Day in 1984 to honor the veterans of the Great Patriotic War. The main exhibit of the museum is dedicated to local war heroes, centered around the busts of four such Heroes of the Soviet Union. One of them is Saparmurat Hojayev, who survived the war to become a teacher. His civilian suit, replete with dozens of medals, is preserved in a glass case. His wheelchair is also on display as the fighting claimed one of his legs.
Behind the Glory, Museum stands a tiled column topped with a Soviet star. An eternal flame burns in front of it. There is a dedication to those killed in the building of Soviet power, and inscriptions recording the names of some of those on the Bolshevik side who lost their lives during the Civil War.
How to get to Dashoguz
Dashogus airport is located 14 km south of the city. There are daily flights from Ashgabat to Dashogus that take about 50 minutes but make sure to book early as this is a very popular route. Despite the relatively large number of flights, all on Boeing 717 aircraft, it can be fiendishly difficult to get a ticket. Arrive early for your flight as there are many stories of overbookings. Turkmenistan Airlines also flies to Turkmenbashi and Mary from Dashoguz. As you enter the terminal building from your plane, your passport will be checked by border guards for the appropriate restricted zone permit.
The Dashoguz train station is on Woksal street, about 600 m east of Gurbansoltan street.
One slow train per day travels from Dashoguz to Konye-Urgench taking four hours and leaving at 7.05 am daily and another train to Ashgabat at 11.15 am daily (platskartny/kupe ) taking 20 hours. The rail line to Ashgabat was built on sand without foundation, forcing trains to crawl at very slow speeds. There is a rail line to Turkmenabat but a lack of demand has suspended services and currently trains from Turkmenabat only go as far as Gazachak.
Bus / Taxi
The Dashoguz bus station is near the Bai Bazaar, in the northern section of the city.
Buses go from Dashoguz to Konye-Urgench (3M, two hours) and Ashgabat (30M, nine hours). Buses for Turkmenabat are not always available so you need to check prior. Shared taxis leave from outside the train station.
Page updated 20.4.2022