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.