Exploring Tourism in Turkmenistan
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Places to Visit Details

Polekhatum Bridge


Head south from Serakhs, beyond the turning for Yarty Gumbez. After 38km, turn to the right along a gravel track. After 25km, you reach a checkpoint along a fence marking the controlled border zone with Iran. Getting beyond here requires special permission from the Turkmen Border Guards, over and above the restricted zone permit needed for Serakhs District as a whole. This additional permission is rarely given. If you do get it, the track reaches the Tejen River, which marks the line of the border, after another 14km.

Across the river near this point is an attractive stone bridge of five arches, which gently slopes to a peak in the centre of its span. The bridge, now unused, is covered by grass. This is the Polckhatum Bridge, which was reconstructed in tsarist times. A popular local legend surrounding its origins is based around the bridge's name, meaning 'Wealthy Woman'. The woman is said to have made her fortune by taxing all those who wished to cross her bridge. One day, Alexander the Great arrived, at the head of his army. He refused to pay the toll, and to spite the woman forded the river just to the north of her bridge. It is indeed believed by historians that Alexander crossed the Tejen River somewhere near this point, in 350BC.

A couple of kilometres to the south of the Polekhatum Bridge is the Dostluk Dam. This earth dam, whose name means 'friendship', was a joint project of the Turkmen and Iranian governments, inaugurated by the two presidents in 2005. The dam aims to regulate the flow of the Tejen River, and provide irrigation and drinking water for both sides. The lake behind the dam is set to extend to a length of 37km.

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