The true origin of the name “Balkan” is to be found in the ancient Soghdian and Khwarezmian languages of western Central Asia as well Persian –ancient and modern. In those languages, the term “Barkhan” (whence Turkmeni Balkhan, Uzbek Barkhon and Turkish Balkan are derived) stand for ‘rolling hills’ or even dunes. The name is still preserved in Central Asia in Turkmenistan where there exist the Balkhan/ Balkan Peninsula in the Caspian Sea and the Balkan Province or Balkan Velayat in my Motherland-Turkmenistan.

For a person who looks at a map of Turkmenistan for the first time it presents an uninterrupted desert. It is not surprising. The substantial part of the total territory of Turkmenistan is occupied by Karakum sands. Still the first impression is sure to appear to be false, as not many of the countries can be proud of such a wealth of plant and animals kingdoms, such a variety of landscapes and climatic zones. The nature of Turkmenistan is rich in tens of thousands of types of flora and fauna.
One cannot know nature of Turkmenistan not having visited the Caspian sea-shore. The Caspian sea is the largest in the world self-contained salty sea (lake) which has no connection with the world’s oceans. On the territory of the Caspian sea only one can come across flamingo, pelicans and many other birds who are on the list of endangered species (the Red Book). Special attention of the nature protection service is raid to preserving the populations of valuable sturgeon fishes.
The next attractive spot to visit is restaurant is the State Reserve set up to protect the region’s 280 species of water fowl, marsh birds including flamingos, pelicans, indigenous colonies of seals or turtles. For anybody interested in seeing seals or turtles the reserve headquarters is on Naberezhnaya Street 42, where there is also small Natural History Museum. The desert ecosystems, dry subtropics, and marine shallow bays in the southeastern coast of the Caspian are included into the Khazar nature reserve. It consists of two parts, Essenguly and Krasnovodsk. It was set up in 1968 on an area of 192,300 ha. This nature reserve is included in the list of aquatic and wetland habitats of the international significance that are under protection of the Ramsar International Convention. The Khazar nature reserve provides the habitat for 18 species of mammals and 372 species of birds. Of the bird fauna, nearly a half is waterfowl and near-water birds, which is a specific feature of the Khazar nature reserve (more than 85% of its territory covers the water areas, bays, and sea).



Balkanabat City
Balkanabat – the Center of Balkan Welayat.
Balkanabat is an administrative center of Balkan velayat. It is situated at the Big Bakhan mountain foot and a big industrial and cultural center. It connects with all the towns in Turkmenistan by the railway, automobile and air transports and it is established as a center of the oil output. At an ancient time at the Big Bakhan Mountain foot there was lapping water of Balkan gulf in the Caspian Sea. Later it has disappeared and the Balkankhoja Lake is left only. There was a hill in the middle of the lake Nebitdag (Oil Mountain) and city has got its name from the place where the people putted out oil. In 1931 the first borehole having been drilled and it gave powerful fountain like eruption of oil volcano.
At the seaside of these first boreholes and along the railway line the city has been constructed. It named Nebitdag. Later it was recalled Balkanabat. Balkanabat is one of the finest towns in Turkmenistan. It has clear planned scheme and its streets, squares and parks are as if drawn. The citizens get clean drinking water from the Yazkhan Lake. That’s why the city has turned into a green miracle in the middle of the deserts. Balkanabat is a capital of the oil-industry workers. Numbers of the Turkmen and foreign oil offices and companies are functioning here. There are Oil Department of the Turkmen State Polytechnic Institute, colleges, Science and Research Project Institute in the town.
Many historical and remarkable places one can see out of Balkanabat. To the east of the town archeologists have excavated two cavernous stands of people from the Stone Age – Damjacheshme -1 and Damjacheshme -2 have become standard statues of the Middle East archeology. The scientists established that the people from Damjacheshme having been domesticated goats and dogs twelve thousand years back To the West of Balkanabat there is a Jabel cave, remarkable archeological statue having been made by the people of Pal eolith and Neolith epochs. International resort Mollakara has a wild popular and it has been formed at the salt lake. The lake is and one can lie or sit in its water. Curative and mud water of the lake can treat the decease of the nervous system, digestive organs and gynecological and urine disorders.
Salt lake Mollakara is one of the few lakes formed from umbers of chains of the Uzboi River’s old course. Earlier it having been crosses Karakum desert from the West to the East. This part of the Uzboi River was called Akatama.
Comfortable resort settlement has been constructed on the miracle cape Kheles on the Caspian seashore. Citizens of Balkanabat like to spend their holidays and weekends there. The Big Bal khan Mountains tops are for mountain tourism lovers. A unique Son temple has been discovered by the archeologists on the Arlan top that as if illustrates information of Strabon, “the father of Geography”, about the ancient citizens of the Caspian Sea – massagets: “They say, massagets resemble God, they pray only Son an bring him horses like a scarify thinking that just fast luminaries just keep fast animals”. One more Son temple has been found on the ancient Uzboi River’s bank. That was in Ichanlidepe where numbers of horse skulls and cross-bones having been found.
Balkanabat receives the guests with wide-opened doors of the comfortable hotels and camps. There a Museum of local lore, concert halls and restaurants in the town.

Web Resource: Wikispaces