Minsk (Belarusian: Мінск/Менск [mʲinsk], Russian: Минск) is the capital and the largest city of Belarus, located on the Svislač and the Niamiha rivers. As the capital, Minsk has a special administrative status in Belarus and is the administrative centre of Minsk Region (voblasć) and Minsk District (rajon). As of January 2018, its population was 1,982,444, (not including suburbs), making Minsk the 11th most populous city in Europe. Minsk is the administrative capital of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and seat of its Executive Secretary.
The earliest historical references to Minsk date to the 11th century (1067), when it was noted as a provincial city within the Principality of Polotsk.
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.
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