Wednesday 29 April 2020

Cultural Learnings of England for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Turkmenistan

Ever since discovering that this blog is more popular in Turkmenistan than in the UK – indeed is currently challenging Norway for the top spot among Nige-following nations – I have been scratching my metaphorical head. What on earth can it mean? Turkmenistan is a sparsely populated central Asian country where only five per cent of the population have access to the internet and where communication with the outside world and its media is firmly discouraged, satellite dishes having been banned in 2015. I would surmise also that most of Turkmenistan's population have little or no English. Still, I extend a cordial welcome to all my readers in that distant Stan – where one of the main cities, I note, is rather charmingly called Mary. Mary was previously called Merv, so that's a great improvement. Once an important oasis on the Silk Road and a 'crossroads of civilisation', Merv – or rather Mary – is now home to the Turkmen State Power Engineering Institute (definitely one for the bucket list) and, er, the world's largest yurt (below). Funny old world.


  1. Borges wrote a mordant little story called "Hakim, the Masked Dyer of Merv." Worth a look. And no, he's not wearing a mask because of COVID-19.

  2. Oh yes – thanks Foose – I'll look it out.
    Tragically, for me, the name Merv immediately conjures up an image of the moustachioed Australian cricketer Merv Hughes.

  3. Update: Turkmenistan has now overtaken Norway to become Nigeness's number one fanbase. The mystery deepens...