Turkmenistan unveiled a new eco-friendly city, Arkadag, on Thursday.
The $5 billion “green” city was named after the country’s former president Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, who led the country for more than 15 years before stepping down and allowing his son Serdar to take over.
Officials are calling it “the city of the future”.
Arkadag, meaning “protector” in Turkmen, was revealed on the former president’s 66th birthday. The local media gave the former president that unofficial title while he was in office. He did not attend the opening ceremony which was hosted by his son because he was doing his Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.
With an initial budget of $1.5 billion, construction for the development began in 2019. “Green” technology The first phase of the project was $3.3 billion and now that it has been shown to the public, the government announced future plans for expansion.
The city is located 30 kilometers (18 miles) south of the capital, Ashgabat. It features all-white buildings and every apartment is seven stories, a lucky number in the Central Asian country. Up to 73,000 residents will be able to live in the city and only electric vehicles will be allowed in the new development as part of the new green initiative.
Houses in the new development will feature “smart” technology that can be powered by the owners’ cell phones and solar panels on every home to maximize energy. Public transportation will also be strictly electric vehicles. Arkadag will use urban transport that meets the most stringent environmental standards and operates on the basis of digital technologies.
Referred to as the first “smart city” in the country, a huge, gold statue of the former president on his Guinness award-winning horse to commemorate him and his commitment to Turkmenistan is displayed in the center of the city. The city features 336 social, cultural, and miscellaneous facilities for its residents. This project represents a significant step in the transition towards eco-friendly technology and if this is a success, other cities around the world may follow.
President Serdar Berdimuhamedow oversaw the opening ceremony where participants dressed in traditional Turkmen garbs and sang patriotic songs. The crowd shouted “Glory to the protector!” as the inauguration commenced and it was unveiled. Several foreign leaders and diplomats attended, such as the president of Turkey, Tayyip Erdogan, who also gifted a brand new electric car to the city.
Many have expressed their disdain for the country’s elaborate spending on the new green development. The majority of Turkmenistan’s citizens live in poverty despite the country having a vast amount of natural resources such as natural gas.
“Just when you think the Berdymukhammedovs have hit rock bottom, here they surprise you again” said journalist David Cancarini on Twitter.
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