Ashgabat (Turkmen: Aşgabat, Persian: عشق آباد, Russian: Ашхабад, also Ashkhabad in transliteration from Russian (literally, Persian meaning: "City of Love") 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 ethnic minorities of Russians, Armenians, and Azeris. It is 250 km from the second largest city in Iran, Mashhad. 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.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", where the English word "abode" is etymologically "ābād"), and hence loosely translates as "the city of love" or "the city that love built". 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.