Turkmenistan’s president rides horse in colourful 30th anniversary parade

The country gained independence from Russia in 1991

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Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov celebrated 30 years of his nation’s independence at colourful event held to mark the occasion.

After arriving to the parade site in the capital, Ashgabat, in a white, open-topped car sporting Turkmenistan flags, Mr Berdymukhammedov, 64, mounted a grey horse with golden stirrups. Pictures of the event showed him riding and waving to a crowd of onlookers.

Military equipment including tanks and rocket launchers were displayed, soldiers wearing red and green ceremonial uniforms marched, and supporters wearing purple and pink outfits waved flags and balloons.

The UAE President Sheikh Khalifa sent a message of congratulations to Mr Berdymukhammedov on the anniversary of independence. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, also sent their congratulations.

Turkmenistan gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The government says it has had no coronavirus cases among its population of six million, but experts have disputed the claim.

The country admits very few foreigners and everyone who enters must be immunised against Covid-19.

Ashgabat holds a host of Guinness World Records gained since independence, including the highest density of white marble-clad buildings and the largest architectural star.

In May, the government introduced a new public holiday dedicated to its national dog, the alabai.

The president wrote a 272-page book in 2019 called Turkmen Alabay, about the dog breed, exploring its historical and spiritual connections to his country. The book, one of about 50 he has written during his reign, includes drawings of traditional Turkmen life, as well as images of alabai in nature and with the president himself.

Updated: September 27, 2021, 6:32 PM