Upon disembarking in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan’s marble-clad capital, photographer Ikuru Kuwajima couldn’t help making comparisons to Astana, the capital of another resource-rich Central Asian nation. “I was mesmerized by the vast districts of marble-coated white buildings and some bizarre futuristic tall buildings springing up around the center of the city.”
“It was like Astana, the new capital of oil-rich Kazakhstan, in its artificialness,” Kuwajima added. “But, Ashgabat is larger, making me wonder if Ashgabat actually inspired the Kazakh capital, or vice versa.”
Kuwajima, a Japanese national based in Almaty, proceeded to cross Turkmenistan with his panoramic, 35mm-film camera last fall and brought back these images, along with a few vignettes for EurasiaNet.org.
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Ikuru Kuwajima is a freelance photojournalist based in Almaty.