Sunday, 3 August 2008

Neutrality Arch, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

They don’t get much more egocentric than the former self-declared President For Life of Turkmenistan, Saparmurat Niyazov.
Given that this is the man who declared a public holiday for melons and named one of the months of the year after his mother, it comes as no surprise to learn that he went on many a building spree.
Niyazov pledged to bring the wonders of the world to his country, and has been using oil and gas revenues to create palaces for horses, and a colossal ice-skating rink in one of the hottest places on earth.
The most puffed-up, ridiculous piece of the lot, however, is the Neutrality Arch in the capital, Ashgabat. The tallest building in the city by a long chalk, it was built in honour of Turkmenistan’s policy of staying out of any international arguments. It is topped by a highly comical, gold-plated statue of Niyazov, which rotates so that it is always facing the sun, shining light upon the city.
Fortunately for Turkmen suffering from Niyazov’s grotesque human rights abuses, and unfortunately for journalists needing wacky dictator stories, Niyazov has now passed away.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's quite funny that the Neutrality Arch looks like a Rocket as well, he he he.

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