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Turkmenistan (/tɜrkˈmɛnɪstæn/ or /tɜrkmɛnɪˈstɑːn/, Turkmen: Türkmenistan), also known as Turkmenia (Russian: Туркмения) is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic (Turkmen SSR). Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states. It is bordered by Afghanistan to the southeast, Iran to the south and southwest, Uzbekistan to the east and northeast, Kazakhstan to the north and northwest and the Caspian Sea to the west.
Turkmenistan’s possesses the world’s fourth largest reserves of natural gas resources. Although it is wealthy in natural resources in certain areas, most of the country is covered by the Karakum (Black Sand) Desert.
At 488,100 km², Turkmenistan is slightly smaller than Spain and somewhat larger than the US state of California. Over 80% of the country is covered by the Karakum Desert. The center of the country is dominated by the Turan Depression and the Karakum Desert. The Kopet Dag Range, along the southwestern border, reaches 2,912 m at Kuh-e Rizeh (Mount Rizeh). The Turkmen shore along the Caspian Sea is 1,768 km long.
The major cities include Aşgabat, Türkmenbaşy (formerly Krasnovodsk) and Daşoguz.