Ashgabat (əshkhəbätˈ) [key], 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. The Turkmen Academy of Sciences is in Ashgabat.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.