Some countries are known for a particular item of clothing. When people travel to Russia, they’ll often want a traditional Russian fur hat as a souvenir. Someone travelling to India may want a lovely Sari as a take-home item, or heading to one of the Gulf States you might have your eye on one of the traditional male headdresses there. Of course, there is a traditional Mao-style suit in North Korea that so many have high on their list of purchases.
Turkmenistan should be known for their Tracksuits! Yes, you heard right. The Turkmen love their tracksuits. If you ever travel to Turkmenistan, you’ll see a large percentage of the population walking around in their Turkmenistan tracksuits and if you’re ever at an event you might just be the only one not wearing one. Even the President himself, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedow, is very often seen wearing one, whether it be while riding a bike, opening a new building or monument in Ashgabat, or just relaxing at the beach resort of Avaza in between his busy schedule.
How can I get a Turkmenistan Tracksuit?
The first thing I’ll tell you is what mistakes not to make. Most, once they realise wearing a Turkmenistan tracksuit is a thing and that they want to be part of it, start looking in the markets. Unfortunately, they just don’t stock them. I don’t know why, since they do sell other clothes, but they just don’t. Don’t bother heading to the Russian Bazaar in the centre of Ashgabat or the Tolkuchka Bazaar on the outskirts of Ashgabat or any other smaller markets. You just won’t find them there, and believe me, we’ve discovered this the hard way.
Where can I get a Turkmenistan Tracksuit
Luckily there is a chain of State-run textiles shops which stock them. The easiest to get to is in the Altyn Assyr centre (which translates to Golden Era) right in the middle of Ashgabat. It is right around the corner from the Russian Bazaar, opposite the Grand Turkmen Hotel, next to the old British Pub, and on any group tour, we’ll either go there together or direct you there during free time. Inside you’ll find multiple shops on the ground and second floor (or is it first floor? whichever floor is above the ground floor in a two-story building) all selling tracksuits, t-shirts, hats, scarves and even bedding and towels all with “Turkmenistan” on them. The tracksuits themselves are released for different events. Some of the different tracksuits have been for the Asian Games, the Year of the Silk Road, The Year of Neutrality, or even just individual departments. I somehow found a Migration Department Chess team Turkmenistan tracksuit.
There is also another store just around the corner from the other mainstay of Ashgabat accommodation, the Ak Altyn (translates to White Gold) Hotel. As you exit the hotel, you turn left then right on to the first street heading south for less than a minute, and you’re there. Quite often, if the central store doesn’t have a particular product, it can often be found here and vice versa. So now you have it. Where you can buy a Turkmenistan tracksuit as your ultimate Turkmenistan souvenir, who knows, maybe you’ll be mistaken for a local!.