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Ashgabat (formerly Ashkhabad) Capital of the central Asian republic of Turkmenistan, located 40km (25mi) from the Iranian border. Founded in 1881 as a Russian fortress between the Kara-Kum Desert and the Kopet Dagh Mountains, it was largely rebuilt after a severe earthquake in 1948. The city was known as Poltaratsk from 1919 to 1927. Its present name was adopted after the republic attained independence from the former Soviet Union in 1992. Industries: textiles, carpets, silk, metalware, glass, light machinery. Pop. (1995) 604,700.

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Ashgabat (əshkhəbät´), formerly Ashkhabad, city (1991 pop. 412,200), capital of Turkmenistan, near the border with Iran, on the Trans-Caspian RR. The city has textile, motion picture, and crafts industries. Ashgabat was founded in 1881 as a fortress. From 1919 to 1927 it was named Poltoratsk. An earthquake in 1948 virtually destroyed the city, which stands in a major fault zone. The southern section of the city has been extensively developed since the 1990s, with wide boulevards and monumental buildings. The Turkmen Academy of Sciences is in Ashgabat.