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Aşgabat, Ашхабад
Poltoratsk (1919-1927)
Satellite view
Ashgabat is located in Turkmenistan
Satellite view
Coordinates: 37°56′N 58°22′E / 37.933°N 58.367°E / 37.933; 58.367Coordinates: 37°56′N 58°22′E / 37.933°N 58.367°E / 37.933; 58.367
Country Flag of Turkmenistan.svg Turkmenistan
Province Ahal Province
founded 1818
 - Mayor Azat Bilishov
Population (2009)
 - Total 909,000
Area code(s) 12

Ashgabat (Turkmen: Aşgabat, Persian: عشق آباد, Russian: Ашхабад, also Ashkhabad in transliteration from Russian (literally: "Lovely City") or formerly Poltoratsk between 1919–1927) is the capital and largest city of Turkmenistan, a country in Central Asia. It has a population of 695,300 (2001 census estimate), 2009 estimates around 1 million people in Ashgabat, and is situated between the Kara Kum desert and the Kopet Dag mountain range. Ashgabat has a primarily Turkmen population, with minorities of ethnic Russians, Armenians, and Azeris. It is 250 km from the second largest city in Iran, Mashhad.



Turkmenistan Parliament Building

Ashgabat is Aşgabat in Turkmen, Ашхабад (Ashkhabad) in Russian, and عشق‌آباد (UniPers: Ešq-âbâd) in Persian. From 1919 until 1927, the city was renamed Poltoratsk after a local revolutionary. Before 1991, the city was usually spelled Ashkhabad in English, a transliteration of the Russian form, which was itself from the original Persian form. It has also been variously spelled Ashkhabat and Ashgabad.

Ashgabat Exhibition Center

Ashgabat derives from the a folk etymology suggests that the name is a dialect version of the Persian word of عشق (eshq meaning "love") and Persian آباد (ābād meaning "inhabited place" or "city", etymologically "abode"), and hence loosely translates as "the city of love" or "the city that love built".[1]


View of the Ashgabat skyline from the Ashgabat city park

Ashgabat is a relatively young city, growing out of a village of the same name established by Russians in 1818. It is not far from the site of Nisa, the ancient capital of the Parthians, and it grew on the ruins of the Silk Road city of Konjikala, which was first mentioned as a wine-producing village in 2nd century BCE and was leveled by an earthquake in 1st century BCE (a precursor of the 1948 Ashgabat earthquake). Konjikala was rebuilt because of its advantageous location on the Silk Road and it flourished until its destruction by Mongols in the 13th century CE. After that it survived as a small village until the Russians took over in the 19th century.[2][3]

In 1869, Russian soldiers built a fortress on a hill near the village, and this added security soon attracted merchants and craftsmen to the area. Ashgabat remained a part of Persia until 1881, when it was ceded to Tsarist Russia under the terms of Akhal Treaty. Russia chose to develop Ashgabat as a regional center due to its proximity to the border of British-influenced Persia. It was regarded as a pleasant town with European style buildings, shops and hotels. In 1908, the first Bahá'í House of Worship was built in Ashgabat. It was badly damaged in the 1948 earthquake and finally demolished in 1963.[4]

The Ertugrul Gazi Mosque in Ashgabat named after Ertuğrul, the founder of the Ottoman Empire.
Independence and Peace monument

Soviet rule was established in Ashgabat in December 1917. However in July 1918 a coalition of Mensheviks, Social Revolutionaries and Tsarist former officers of the Imperial Russian Army revolted against the Bolshevik rule emanating from Tashkent and established the Ashkhabad Executive Committee. After receiving some support (but even more promises) from General Malleson, the British withdrew in April 1919, and the Tashkent Soviet resumed control of the city and in July 1919, when the city was renamed Poltoratsk (Полторацк) after a local revolutionary.[5] The name Ashgabat was restored in 1927 after the establishment of Turkmen SSR as a Soviet republic, though it was usually known by the Russian form Ashkhabad (Russian: Ашхабад). From this period onward, the city experienced rapid growth and industrialisation, although this was severely disrupted by a major earthquake on October 6, 1948. An estimated 7.3 on the Richter scale, the earthquake killed 110-176,000[6][7][8] (2/3 of the population of the city), although the official number announced by Soviet news was only 40,000.[9]

Ashgabat milestones:[10]

  • 1882-1918 – administrative center of Russia's Transcaspian Region
  • 1918-1925 – administrative center of the Turkmen Oblast in Turkestan ASSR
  • since February 1925 – capital of Turkmen SSR
  • since October 1991 – capital of independent Turkmenistan


Ashgabat National Museum of History

Ashgabat is primarily a government and administrative center. The principal industries are cotton textiles and metal working. It is a major stop on the Trans-Caspian railway. Every Sunday, the Tolkuchka Bazaar in the suburbs thrives, selling a massive range of commodities.


The city is served by Ashgabat Airport. Turkmenistan Airlines has its headquarters in the city.[11]


Climate chart (explanation)
average max. and min. temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm
source: World Meteorological Organization

The Kopet-Dag mountain range is about 25 kilometres (16 mi) to the south, and Ashgabat's northern boundary touches the Kara-Kum desert. Because of this location, Ashgabat has an arid climate with hot and dry summers and mild and short winters. The average high temperature in July is 38 °C (100 °F) for long periods of time. The highest temperature on record is 45 °C (113 °F). Nighttime temperatures in the summer are warm, with an average minimum temperature in the summer of 22 °C (72 °F). Average winter high temperatures range from 10 to 12 °C (50 to 54 °F), and average lows in the winter of -1 to 1 °C (30 to 34 °F); temperatures as low as −16 °C (3.2 °F) have been recorded in December. Snow is rare. Annual precipitation is only 193 mm (7.6 in); March and April are the wettest months.[12]

Notable buildings

Ak Bugday Museum

Museums include the Turkmen Fine Arts Museum and Turkmen Carpet Museum, noted for their impressive collection of woven carpets as well as a Turkmen history museum and the Ashgabat National Museum of History, which displays artifacts dating back to the Parthian and Persian civilizations. The Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan is an important institute of higher learning. Large mosques include the Azadi Mosque (which resembles the Blue Mosque in Istanbul), the Khezrety Omar Mosque, and the futuristic Iranian Mosque. Ashgabat is also home to the Arch of Neutrality, which is a large tripod on which there is a golden statue of former President Saparmurat Niyazov (also known as Turkmenbashi, or leader of all Turkmen). This statue rotates in order to always face the sun during daylight hours. It is said to be made of pure gold.

Notable universities include the Turkmen Polytechnic Institute.


Sister cities


  1. ^ Folk etymology of the name Ashgabat, Iraj Bashiri, 1999.
  2. ^ Konjikala: the Silk Road precursor of Ashgabat
  3. ^ Konjikala, in: MaryLee Knowlton, Turkmenistan, Marshall Cavendish, 2006, pp. 40-41, ISBN 0761420142, ISBN 9780761420149 (viewable on Google Books).
  4. ^ Baha’i House of Worship in Ashgabat
  5. ^ Ashgabat on Big Soviet Encyclopedia Online (Russian)
  6. ^ US Geological Survey
  7. ^ Britannica Online
  8. ^ State News Agency of Turkmenistan
  9. ^ Ashkhabad earthquake on BBC, 6 October 2003 (Russian)
  10. ^ Independent Neutral Turkmenistan: 10 Glorious Years of the Epoch of Turkmenbashi the Great, Ashgabat, 2001, pp. 39-40 (Russian)
  11. ^ "Directory: World Airlines." Flight International. 30 March-5 April 2004. [1].
  12. ^ Historical Weather for Ashgabat, Turkmenistan., Last accessed December 18, 2008.

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel


Ashgabat (Turkmen: Aşgabat, also Ashkabat, Ashkhabad, Ashgabad, etc) is the capital of Turkmenistan.


The Neutrality Arch. The tallest structure in the capital, it was erected by former president-for-life Saparmurat Niyazov to commemorate Turkmenistan's official neutrality. It features ornate inscriptions and a glass elevator. Atop the monument is a gold-plated statue of Niyazov which rotates 360 degrees over 24 hours so as to always face the sun. The tripod design was inspired by a traditional Turkmen trivet. Construction of the arch was completed in 1998.

  • Ashgabat Flagpole The tallest freestanding flagpole in the world.


The Yimpas Shopping Center: A western country like supermarket where you can buy all necessary stuff like food, drink, soap, toothbrush, cosmetics etc. Probably the only one in the whole city. The shopping center has a nice food court in the second floor where you can get all kinds of kebabs for reasonable prices. You can also rent pool tables, play table tennis or go bowling there.

  • Hotel Nissa, Atabaeva Street, 18B, Tel: (+993-12) 22-10-25, Fax:(+993-12) 22-10-23, email: Apparently owned by family of Saparmurat Niyazov, this is a four-star hotel with air conditioning, swimming pool, pool bar, sauna, Turkish sauna, gym, jacuzzi. This is about the "best" quality hotel you'll find in Ashgabat (think somewhat run-down and a bit overpriced for its features), about a 10 minute walk from the war memorial and book shop. The restaurant has decent Italian food. Expect to come across lots of foreign workers, and women of dubious persuasion at the hotel bar. Some English is, however, spoken.
  • Hotel President, Новоарчабильское шоссе 54, Tel: +993 (12) 400000, Fax 993 (12) 40 00 41 und 993 (12) 40 02 22, E-Mail:
  • Hotel Sheraton Grand Turkmen (Гостиница "Грант Туркмен Отель"), ul. Georogly 7 (ул. Героглы, 7), 744000 Ашхабад, Tel: +993 12 51-05-55; Fax +993 12 511251, E-mail:
  • Hotel Sheraton Ak Altyn, Magtumguly ave 141/1, Tel: +993 12 36 37 00 und +993 12 363701, Fax +993 12 363543 und +993 12 36 34 94, E-Mail:
  • Hotel Azatlyk, Tel: +993 12 48 87 00, Fax +993 12 48 81 55, E-Mail:
  • Hotel Ahal, Tel: +993 12 48 87 37, Fax +993 12 48 01 92, E-Mail:
  • Hotel Nebitchi, Tel: +993 12 489360, Fax +993 12 489312
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

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Proper noun


  1. The capital of Turkmenistan.



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