Just outside the center of Ashgabat you will find the Serdar Heath Walk or the Stairs of Health – another of the special ideas of former President Saparmurat Niyazov. The path begins with a statue of the Turkmenbashi, meant to cheer and motivate those walking this long and difficulty journey. The stair construction consists of two walking routes, built along the Kopet Dag mountains that are on both sides of the Turkmen-Iranian border. One route is 8 km long while the other is a full 37 km. The highest point on the health path is marked by a large Turkmen flag.
Allegedly, during his reign, Niyazov ordered that both ministers and parliamentarians walk the route at least once a year. The same was true of the rest of the population. However, it quickly turned out that it was extremely hard to complete 37 km in extreme heat without the possibility of shade. Therefore, a number of trees have since been planted along the route to avoid gambling with the health of the Turkmen. Those who have health concerns or are not in the best shape, please be advised that the Stairs of Health are quite gruesome!