Once upon a time New York City’s Empire State Building was the envy of the world, the tallest skyscraper then constructed dwarfed all other man made objects. Fast forward to today and news from Azerbaijan. The filthy rich former Soviet Union outpost intends on using oil revenues to catapult itself into the modern age with a range of ambitious projects, including erecting the world’s tallest building.
Tentatively labeled Azerbaijan Tower, the planned 1050 meter plus tall building will look out over a country no longer tied so much to its ancient history, nor the shadowy years under Soviet rule, but one branded with the indelible mark of oil money. In a effort akin to the Dubai buildup, Azerbaijan’s industrial elite seem intent on being the next best monument to excess and eccentricity. At least news from their mirrors what so often happens when money flows like water to poor places.
The people once known as the Scythians, are witness today to a sort of history going around and coming around. 20 years ago Azerbaijan was about as remote and forgotten a place on Earth as there was, and today Baku, the capital, is all the talk when it comes to progress. Aside the 21st Century equivalent to the Empire State Building, plans for an Island miracle on the Caspian and even a Formula I racetrack are in the works there.
Ibrahim Ibrahimov, the brains behind these and other projects, told Reuters that “American, Turkish, Arab and Chinese investors have demonstrated interest in the projects which is expected to cost some US$100 billion.” Slated to host this year’s Eurovision Contest, Azerbaijan officials should take care not to tarnish the resurgence of Baku as a world capital. News from there also reveals negative PR in the form of reports of forced evictions in Baku to make way for construction. Citizens being thrown to the wind will do little to stamp Baku as a new age emerging metropolis.
We leave you with images from Azerbaijan’s fascinating people, in this case a wedding dance from one of our previous articles.