Ashgabat əshkhəbät´ [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, with wide boulevards and monumental buildings, many them clad in white marble. The Turkmen Academy of Sciences is in Ashgabat.
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