Literary Central Asia // Andrei Platonov on the Karakum Desert from Ashgabat to Krasnovodsk, today's Turkmenbashi
I'm traveling to Krasnovodsk. The other writers are all saying in Ashkabad, sitting in baths and drinking cold drinks. I've already lost touch with them...If only you could see the great sparseness of the desert!...I would have never understood the desert I hadn't seen it - books aren't enough. - Andrey Platonov
This quotation appears in the introduction to Platonov's Soul and Other Stories as translated by Robert Chandler (X, 2013 Vintage Edition). Soul is a both a beautiful and hard story hat places largely in the wilds of what is the Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan border and bridges the worlds of Soviet Realism and Sufi spiritualism. Platonov's inspiration for the book came from two stints spent in Turkestan as a Soviet writer covering the region.
Below are a few photos taken between Ashgabat to Turkmenbashi, once known as Krasnovodsk, located on the Caspian Sea.
Sand dunes of the Karakum Desert
The landscape around Yangykala Canyon
A trio of camels
Koryo Tours' October Turkmenistan Tour (29 October - 6 October) follows in the footsteps of some of Andrei Platonov's travels in the region. We highly suggest reading Platonov's book before you go!