Ashgabat (Turkmen: Aşgabat; Ашгабат, pronounced [ɑʃʁɑˈbɑt], Persian: عشق آباد; Russian: Ашхабад), formerly named Poltoratsk (Russian: Полтора́цк, IPA: [pəltɐˈratsk]) between 1919 and 1927, is the capital and the largest city of Turkmenistan. It is situated between the Karakum Desert and the Kopet Dag mountain range in Central Asia. It is also near the Iran-Turkmenistan border.
The city was founded in 1881 on the basis of an Ahal Teke tribal village, and made the capital of the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic in 1924.
Baghdad (; Arabic: بَغْدَاد [baɣˈdaːd] (listen)) is the capital of Iraq and one of the largest cities in the Arab world. Located along the Tigris, near the ruins of the Akkadian city of Babylon and the ancient Iranian capital of Ctesiphon, Baghdad was founded in the 8th century and became the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate. Within a short time, Baghdad evolved into a significant cultural, commercial, and intellectual center of the Muslim world. This, in addition to housing several key academic institutions, including the House of Wisdom, as well as hosting a multiethnic and multireligious environment, garnered the city a worldwide reputation as the "Centre of Learning".
Baghdad was the largest city in the world for much of the Abbasid era during the Islamic Golden Age, peaking at a population of more than a million. The city was largely destroyed at the hands of the Mongol Empire in 1258, resulting in a decline that would linger through many centuries due to frequent plagues and multiple successive empires.
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