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Much of the city was destroyed by the 1948 Ashgabat earthquake but has since seen extensive renovation under President Niyazov's urban renewal project.) in Persian.Before 1991, the city was usually spelled Ashkhabad in English, a transliteration of the Russian form.After exiting the Soviet Union, the city gained many high-rise residential buildings.Modern construction techniques allow high-rise development (mainly 12 storeys) with relatively good protection against earthquakes.Following Niyazov's death in 2006, Soviet-era street names were restored, though in the years since, many of them have been replaced with names honoring Turkmen scholars, poets, military heroes, and figures from art and culture.According to estimates of the 2012 Turkmen census the Turkmen form 85% of the city's population.The community of the Bahá'í Faith in Turkmenistan was largely based in Ashgabat.Soviet rule was established in Ashgabat in December 1917.
Some Turkmen scholars insist that the name goes back to the Parthian era, 3rd century BC, deriving from the name of the founder of the Parthian Empire, Arsaces I of Parthia, in Persian Ashk-Abad (the city of Ashk/Arsaces).In 1908, the first Bahá'í House of Worship was built in Askhabat.It was badly damaged in the 1948 earthquake and finally demolished in 1963.However, in July 1918, a coalition of Mensheviks, Social Revolutionaries, and Tsarist former officers of the Imperial Russian Army revolted against the Bolshevik rule emanating from Tashkent and established the Ashkhabad Executive Committee.After receiving some support (but even more promises) from General Malleson, the British withdrew in April 1919 and the Tashkent Soviet resumed control of the city.
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