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ASHGABAT, August 11 (Itar-Tass) - Turkmenistan will mark the Melon Day on Sunday. Every Turkmen family has been honouring a melon with the national holiday on the second Sunday of August since 1994.
As a thousand years ago this sunny fruit was traditionally honoured together with other national symbols of the Central Asian republic - Akhalteke horse and hand-woven carpet.
Multiple fairs and market venues will lure guests with golden melon mountains inviting them to taste sweet and fragrant fruit grown in Turkmenistan’s five regions.
“There are no equals to melons grown in Kunya-Urgench (northwestern Turkmenistan) either in the East or in the West,” said Ibn Battutah, the greatest medieval Arab traveller.
Zahiruddin Muhammad Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire, who came from an area on the banks of the Amu Darya River, Central Asia’s major river, described a melon as “an aroma and taste of the Fatherland.”
Local melon breeders and growers say 400 melons of the world’s 1,600 melon varieties are Turkmenistan’s elite sorts. At present, over 200 melon sorts are harvested in the country. Grown in a dry, hot climate and on clay soil Turkmenistan’s melons are known for their delicious taste, aroma and high sugariness. Thus, a sugar degree in Turkmenistan’s most famous melon sorts - Vakharman, Gulyabi and Kary Gyz - ranges between 17-19 percent. Any attempts to breed Turkmenistan’s melons in different weather conditions have failed so far.
Turkmenistan is known for the world’s best sun-dried melon that preserves tastiness of fresh fruit. Melon seed oil is also in high demand. It is cleaned out from market shelves as soon as it goes on sale.
On the eve of the Melon Day different melon-related competitions, whose winners would be awarded on Sunday, had taken place. Festivities will end with concerts in parks and on squares of Ashgabat and other cities and towns.