The Bajgiran border crossing from Iran into Turkmenistan is on top of a little mountain pass. After crossing you get a first glimpse on the gleaming white city of Ashgabat (‘City of love’) in the desert below. The city is quite unreal; walking through you’ll go from boulevard to boulevard lined with insane gold domed buildings and policemen standing guard on every corner.

One of the elements of the personality cult surrounding Turkmenbashi is his book, the Ruhnama ('Book of the soul'). It is his version of Turkmenistan's history and outlines traditional Turkmen values. Knowledge of the Ruhnama is allegedly necessary to pass everything from college entrance exams to driving tests.
Another park with another statue of Turkmenbashi in front of a statue of the famous Akhal-Teke horses of Turkmenistan.
Turkmenbashi reshaped Ashgabat and filled it with these gleaming white buildings, bulldozing entire neighbourhoods if necessary.
There were also all sorts of commemorating structures build to celebrate the anniversaries of Turkmenistan's independence. This is the entrance to Turkmenbashi's World of Fairytales (a theme park). Unfortunately it was closed when I was there.
Independence Park
The memmorial build for the 15 year anniversary of indepenence. Nicknamed the 'Plunger', for obvious reasons, it houses the museum of Turkmen values.
The eight-pointed star is visible everywhere; on the flag, at the base of structures and even on traffic lights.
A shopping centre in the middle of the Independence park; which is also the tallest fountain in the world, housing a nice restaurant on the top floor.
The view from the restaurant on the new neighbourhood of Berzengi. Mind you these are all residential buildings...
View from the restaurant the other way; here in the distance on the left some normal concrete sovjet appartment blocks are visible. Most of them had fences around them though; sort of signalling that they were up for renovation soon!
The mother and brother of Turkmenbashi where killed in the big earthquake of 1948, which flatted most of the city and killed 110,000 people. This is the earthquake memorial (the golden baby on top is Turkmenbashi himself). The golden dome of the palace of Turkmenbashi is visible to the right; this is one of the few pictures I managed to take of it since there were policemen telling me off all the time.