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Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
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    (1881- )
    Capital and largest city of Turkmenistan
    Area: 440 km²
    Population: 1,031,992 (2012)
    Name means 'city of love' or 'city of Arsaces'
    Developed on the ruins of Silk Road city Konjikala
    Formerly called Poltoratsk (July 1919-1927)
    It was struck by an earthquake that killed around 110,000, including Saparmurat Niyazov's mother and other family members. (October 6, 1948)
    It suffered from chronic water shortages until the Karakum Canal reached the city. (1962)
    All of its streets (except for nine major highways) were renamed with serial numbers. (July 2003)
    Niyazov had many extravagant public buildings, statues, and monuments built as part of his personality cult, and this trend showed no signs of slowing down under his successor.
    He even banned dogs from the city.
    Soldiers patrolling around the city can be rather anal about what buildings and monuments can be photographed.
    According to legend, it was founded by two lovers who sought refuge from Allah simply for falling in love, causing a spring to spring out from the ground.
    It was where the first true Baha'i community was established. (1884)
    It was the site of the first Baha'i temple in the world. (1908)
    Its main buildings boast Guinness World Records, such as the world's most fountain pools in a public place (2008), the world's largest architectural star (2011), and the world's tallest enclosed Ferris wheel (2012).
    Even the city itself broke the record for having the most white marble buildings in the world. (May 25, 2013)
    Its grandiose buildings can even put Pyongyang to shame.

Credit: Big Lenny

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