Step past the giant plaster waterfall taking shape in the foyer, skirt the billiard hall with ornate damask wallpaper, and a splendid ballroom opens up.
“This is the president’s dining room,” a foreman says proudly, pointing out the intricate wood carvings covering each wall.
For the past several years a hulking, multi-domed structure has been rising on the edge of Dushanbe’s Komsomol Lake, wedged between the Ferris wheel and Tajikistan’s poshest hotel, the Hyatt.
Already home to the world’s tallest flagpole and the longest flag, Dushanbe, if all goes to plan, will be home to the world’s largest teahouse by Independence Day this September, breaking (or making) another world record.
For many Tajiks, at least publicly, all these world records are collectively a source of pride.
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