10/7/11 (AEIN) Turkmenistan conducted ceremonies on Thursday to mark the anniversary of the powerful 1948 earthquake which caused massive destruction and loss of life. Churches and mosques held prayers for the victims, state media reported Friday.
The Central Asian nation's President, several other high-ranking officials and citizens placed flowers at a memorial complex located in Kipchak. The President spoke about the earthquake and remembering those who passed away.
Although little-known in other parts of the world, the quake destroyed much of Turkmenistan's capitol Ashgabat. It killed approximately 110,000 people, according to NewsWeek. Former Turkmen President Niyazov was among those orphaned by it.
Turkmenistan is one of several countries in Central Asia that became independent as the Soviet Union collapsed. It is a major producer and exporter of natural gas. Although largely desert, it has an 1,100 mile (1,768 km) coastline on the Caspian Sea.