The capital Ashgabat is a surreal cathedral built in the desert, flooded by the reflected light of hundreds of dazzling buildings, covered with more than 4.5 million square meters of white marble, from Italy and Afghanistan.
Visiting the few things that are allowed to visit in Ashgabat, one immediately realizes how the cult of the personality of the current President is celebrated everywhere, who even has an entire area of the national museum dedicated to his work and his presumed heroic deeds.
Photomontages hanging everywhere in the museum portray him on horseback, among school groups, in the desert with rally cars, practicing martial arts or preparing to operate on a patient so as to evoke his training as a dentist. These icons open up disturbing spaces for reflection on the country’s democratic state.
The immense six-lane streets are almost completely deserted and most of the inhabitants work in the ministries or in the President’s secret services. The law imposes very strict codes of conduct, timetables, transit especially on the occasion of the President’s public visits.
You can find the full version of this report on:
OASIS – Environmental culture magazine – n. 219
Living the world – volume published by White Star – National Geographic
Screening – Meeting “Living the world”
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