The State Museum of Turkmenistan (National Museum) was opened in November 1998. It has rich collection of ancient artifacts from all historical and archeological sites of Turkmenistan (more than 500,000 exhibits are displayed here). It has 9 halls, each dedicated to a certain period or theme. The Hall of Ancient History presents a collection of flint tools from the Mesolithic era (50 000 years B.C.), used by primitive people in Western Turkmenistan, along with Neolithic ceramics and ornaments from the first human settlements along the northern slopes of Kopet-Dag.
There are objects made of clay and metal, semi-precious stones, witnessing the high level of development of the early agricultural civilizations of Jeitun, Altyn Depe, Namazga-Depe, Anau Depe etc. The place of honor in this hall is occupied by findings from Margiana, a unique Bronze Age civilization discovered by the archeologists in the Kara-Kum desert to the north of the modern town of Bairam Ali (Ancient Merv), which was a fertile delta of the Murgab River about 3000 years ago.
The highlight in the museum is a remarkable collection of ivory rythons, discovered during excavations at the Old Nisa – residence of Parthian kings from the Arshakid Dynasty. Marble statues, silver items from this fortress are outstanding examples of art closely connected with the Hellenistic traditions. Turkmenistan’s famous handmade carpets of dyed sheep wool are the finest masterpieces of the national art of the Turkmen people. But another important place in Turkmen national art belongs to female dress, and primarily bridal costumes.
The brightest examples of this tradition are embroidered fabrics, and gilded silver jewelry featuring precious stones, stamping and engraving. Special silver ornaments were also made for the famous Akhalteke horses, which played a major role not only in the nation’s history, but as the focus of cult.
The museum is open daily, except Tuesday; from 9 AM till 5 PM. Museum has a souvenir shop too.