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Gushgy (1885-1999)
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Location in Turkmenistan
Coordinates: 35°17′N62°21′E / 35.283°N 62.350°E / 35.283; 62.350 Coordinates: 35°17′N62°21′E / 35.283°N 62.350°E / 35.283; 62.350
Country Flag of Turkmenistan.svg Turkmenistan
Province Mary Province
747 m (2,454 ft)
  Total5,200 (approximate)
Time zone UTC+5 (TMT)
Southern Cross of the Russian Empire in Serhetabat, Turkmenistan Southern Cross of the Russian Empire Serhetabat Turkmenistan.jpg
Southern Cross of the Russian Empire in Serhetabat, Turkmenistan

Serhetabat (formerly Guşgy in Turkmen, Ку́шка, Kushka or Kuschka in Russian) is a city and administrative center of Serhetabat District, Mary Province, Turkmenistan, in the valley of the Kushka River. The population was 5,200 in 1991. It is immediately opposite Torghundi, Afghanistan, with which it is connected by a road and a 1,520 mm (4 ft 11+2732 in) gauge railway.



The name of the city is a Turkmen borrowing from Persian 'سرحدآباد', consisted of two words: 'سرحد' (serhet) meaning 'border' and 'آباد' (ābād) meaning 'inhabited place' (thus commonly used as a Persian suffix for naming places, like Khorramabad, a city in Iran, and Aşgabat the capital of Turkmenistan). The name of the city perfectly matches its geographic location right on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan border. A historical part of the Iranian city Karaj shares the same name, Sarhadabad. Gushgy is a Turkmenized form of the Persian-Afghan word kushk, a term referring to mountain forts. In 1885 after taking the Panjdeh oasis Russian troops constructed a fort on the site of present-day Serhetabat and named it for the village of Kush in Afghanistan. [2] The Turkmenistan government changed the name to Serhetabat on 29 December 1999 by Parliamentary Resolution HM-67. [3]


Soviet soldiers returning from Afghanistan. 20 October 1986, Kushka, Turkmen SSR RIAN archive 644463 First stage in the Soviet troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.jpg
Soviet soldiers returning from Afghanistan. 20 October 1986, Kushka, Turkmen SSR

In 1885, Serhetabat and the surrounding region were seized from Afghanistan by Russian forces as a result of the Panjdeh Incident (also referred to as the Battle of Kushka), in which about 600 Afghan soldiers were overwhelmed by over 2500 Russian troops. [4]

The settlement was founded in 1890 as a Russian military outpost. A local rail line branching from Merv (now Mary) on the Central Asian Railway was inaugurated on 1 March 1901, causing some degree of international excitement. [5]

A point south of the city is the southernmost point of Turkmenistan and used to be the southernmost point of the Russian Empire and Soviet Union. [6] A 10-metre stone cross, installed to commemorate the tercentenary of the Romanov Dynasty in 1913, is a memorial to this fact. This cross was one of four erected in 1913, but is the only one still remaining.


The broad gauge railway crosses into Afghanistan at the station, Torghundi being the railhead station on the other side. It was built in 1960.[ citation needed ] In February 2018, the existing rail line between Serhetabat and Torghundi was restored to service. [7] [8] This line is planned to be extended to Herat, where it could potentially connect to a rail line under construction from Khaf, Iran. [9] Serhetabat is the southern end of Turkmenistan highway A-388, which connects the city to Ýolöten, Murgap, and Mary. The nearest airport is at Galaýmor.


Serhetabat has a semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSh), with cool winters and very hot summers. Rainfall is moderate in winter and spring, but summer is extremely dry.

Climate data for Serhetabat
Record high °C (°F)27.1
Average high °C (°F)9.5
Daily mean °C (°F)3.6
Average low °C (°F)−0.8
Record low °C (°F)−33.8
Average precipitation mm (inches)52
Average rainy days7911730.
Average snowy days5620.3000000.11317
Average relative humidity (%)74737162432825253043587150
Mean monthly sunshine hours 1351321562103233713843653142651861362,977
Source 1: [10]
Source 2: NOAA (sun only, 1961–1990) [11]

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Panjdeh incident Armed engagement between the Russian Empire and the Emirate of Afghanistan in 1885

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  1. "Kushka, Turkmenistan". Falling Rain Global Gazetteer. Retrieved 1 February 2013.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. Atanyýazow, Soltanşa (1980). Түркменистаның Географик Атларының Дүшүндиришли Сөзлүги [Explanatory Dictionary of Geographic Names in Turkmenistan]. Ashgabat: Ылым. p. 122.
  3. Turkmenistan Geoname Changes
  4. Clements, Frank. Conflict in Afghanistan: A Historical Encyclopedia. pp 198. Retrieved 2012-09-03.
  5. "Russia's secret railroad: Unknown to the world, 220 miles of rails have been laid". The Deseret News. 1899-04-08.
  6. USSR A Reference Book of Facts and Figures. London: Farleigh Press Ltd. 1956. p. 5 via Internet Archive. The extreme points on the mainland area as follows:{...}South: 35° 08' N. Lat. (south of Kushka)
  7. "TRAIN SERVICE OPENS ON NEW TURKMEN-AFGHAN RAILWAY: SERHETABAT–TORGHUNDI". Turkmenistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. February 24, 2018.
  8. "Torghundi and the railway from Turkmenistan". Andrew Grantham.
  9. Cuenca, Oliver (December 9, 2020). "Iran – Afghanistan railway ready for traffic". International Railway Journal.
  10. "Weather and Climate-The Climate of Serhetabat" (in Russian). Weather and Climate (Погода и климат). Retrieved 18 March 2016.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. "Climate Normals for Kuska". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration . Retrieved 1 February 2013.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)