Asia

Turkmenistan unveils bird-shaped airport in Ashgabat

People stand in front of a building of a new five-floor international airport in Ashgabat on September 17, 2016 Image copyright AFP
Image caption The new airport is five floors and was built at a cost of $2.3 bn

Turkmenistan has unveiled a gleaming new international airport with a roof in the shape of a flying falcon.

The design echoes the mascot of its national carrier.

The $2.3 bn (£1.8bn) airport is located in Ashgabat, the capital, and has the capacity to process more than 1,600 passengers an hour.

But few foreigners visit the isolated Central Asian country, known for its autocratic leadership and vast energy reserves.

Just 105,000 tourists visited in 2015, government figures show, and it is difficult to get a visa.

President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov touted his country's "solid transit potential".

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Ashgabat has no shortage of lavish buildings

Ashgabat boasts several other unique structures, including a publishing house in shape of an open book.

The city also has two giant golden statues of both Mr Berdymukhamedov and his late predecessor Saparmyrat Niyazov.

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