Mausoleum of the first President of Turkmenistan

Mausoleum of the first President of Turkmenistan was constructed by the first president of Turkmenistan – Saparmurat Niyazov. The mausoleum was made with scriptures from not only the Quran but also the Ruhnama, Niyazov’s own spiritual book.

In the last half-century, there were some presidents who became close to strangeness of Niyazov. He was an exploitive dictator who reigned over the sporadically populated country from 1985 until his death in 2006. The president made a list of weird decrees as banning lip syncing at public concerts, banishing dogs of Ashgabat, outlawing opera, ballet, and circuses. He also restricted beards, the use of makeup by television broadcasters as well as gold teeth. Another thing he did was renaming Turkmen word for bread as gurbansoltan, after his mother.

Saparmurat Niyazov was kind of unusual. Over the years he wrote a book showing the origin of Turkmenistan and named it as the Ruhnama (The Book of the Soul).

He made everyone to read this book, even made compulsory in every school and library. In 2006, he claimed that it wasn’t religious book, saying he talked with God and said anyone who read the Ruhnama three times will be placed in heaven.

He built the Turkmenbashi Rukhi Mosque as the largest mosque in Central Asia in 2004. The mosque can accommodate 10,000 pilgrims, with 7,000 men on the main floor and 3,000 women on the second level. There is a parking area for 400 cars.

The walls of the mosque written by Quran verses and the Ruhnama. There was one quotation on the entry arch to the mosque, saying “The Ruhnama is the holiest book and the Quran is the book of Allah.”

Saparmurat Niyazov wasn’t the type of person who paid attention to complaints. He left his mosque the same it was, splendid in Italian marble and gold, along with the nearby mausoleum, which is a small version of the mosque, built in preparation of his own death. He died in 2006. After two years after the mosque was built, the mosque is surrounded by the words of the Quran and his own Ruhnama book.

The Turkmenbashi Rukhi Mosque or the Gypjak Mosque is located just off the M37 highway in the village of Gypjak, in Saparmurat Niyazov’s hometown and lies about 7 miles northwest of Ashgabat city center, not far from Ashgabat International Airport. The mausoleum is guarded by soldiers and not open to the public.

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