OFFBEAT NEWS
May 19, 2012 12:00:00 AM
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Turkmenistan, an authoritarian ex-Soviet state with a knack for setting peculiar Guinness World Records, on Friday unveiled the planet's largest Ferris wheel in an enclosed space.

The 47.6-metre (156-foot) structure holds 24 six-seat cabins that spin inside a massive glass and white steel casing decorated with a giant eight-point star.

Called simply The Universe (Alem), the peculiar structure is "the world's largest Ferris wheel in an enclosed architectural design," a Guinness World Records representative announced.

It opened on the Central Asian state's Day of Revival, Unity and Magtymguly Poetry under the watchful eye of President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, who has previously promised to erase his predecessor's odd personality cult.

The gas-rich nation has instead spent vast resources on erecting unusual monuments in honour of the reclusive government, which strictly controls society and permits no independent media or dissent.

Turkmenistan already brags to have the world's "largest star-shaped architectural feature," the tallest flagpole and the longest carpet.

In 2009, it also launched the world's largest cluster of fountains in a public space and announced plans to build Ashgabat's answer to the Eiffel Tower or the Statue of Liberty.

The winner was unveiled on the last Day of Revival, Unity and Magtymguly Poetry: a 185-metre pillar celebrating the constitution that comes adorned with five golden carpet ornaments and has two viewing decks.

AFP

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