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.
Dushanbe (Tajik: Душанбе, IPA: [duʃæmˈbe]; significance Monday in Persian) is the capital and largest city of Tajikistan. As of January 2020, Dushanbe had a population of 863,400 and as of 2010 that population was largely Tajik. Until 1929, the town was known in Russian as Dyushambe (Russian: Дюшамбе, Dyushambe), and from 1929 to 1961 as Stalinabad (Tajik: Сталинобод, Stalinobod), after Joseph Stalin. Dushanbe is located in the Gissar valley, bounded by the Gissar Range in the north and east and the Babatag, Aktau, Rangontau and Karatau mountains in the south, and has an altitude of 750--900 m. The town is divided into four districts, all named after historical figures: Ismail Samani, Avicenna, Ferdowsi, and Shah Mansur.
In ancient times, what is currently or is near modern Dushanbe was settled by different empires and individuals, including Mousterian tool-users, various neolithic cultures, the Achaemenid Empire, Greco-Bactria, the Kushan Empire, and the Hephalites. In the Middle Ages, more settlements started near modern-day Dushanbe such as Hulbuk and its famous palace. In the 17th century to the early 20th, Dushanbe started to grow into a market village controlled at times by the Beg of Hisor, Balkh, and eventually Bukhara. Soon after the Russian invasion in 1922, the city was made the capital of the Tajik Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic in 1924, which initiated Dushanbe's development and rapid population growth that lasted until the Tajik Civil War. Following the war, the city became capital of an independent Tajikistan and continued its growth and development into a modern city which now is home to many international conventions.
Dushanbe's modern culture had its beginnings in the 1920s, where Soviet music, cinema, theatre, sculpture, film, and sports all started.
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