Turkmenistan (Russian: Туркменистан; Turkmen: Түркменистан), formally known as the Republic of Turkmenistan, is a republic of the Union of Soviet Sovereign Republics located in Central Asia. Covered mostly by the Karakum Desert, the republic forms the southernmost portion of the Soviet Union (bordering Afghanistan and Iran). The majority of the population is comprised of Turkmens, who are a Turkic-speaking people with historic connections with its Central Asian neighbors.
The economy of Turkmenistan is dominated by the extraction and refinement of natural gas, with estimates showing that the republic has around 17.5 trillion m3 of natural gas within its borders (making it one of the wealthiest in the world). Tourism has also been growing within Turkmenistan, with coastal cities like Krasnovodsk becoming prime destinations. One of the most noted attractions for tourism is the so-called Door to Hell, which is a natural gas field which has continuously been burning since the 1970s. Half of Turkmenistan's irrigated lands are used for the production of cotton, though cotton production has slightly declined as efforts have been taken to revive the Aral Sea.