News / Asia

World’s Tallest Flagpole Flies World's Largest Flag in Tajikistan

James Brooke

Rising 165 meters in the air, the world’s tallest flagpole landed Tajikistan in the Guinness Book of World Records last month, just in time for the nation’s 20th anniversary of independence.

David Chambers, an American, built the tubular steel pole. “We always tell the client when we are building these massive poles, we are not building them for Guinness World Records," he said. "We are building them for the nation and for the people.”

Chambers gears up to take VOA on a 54-story climb to the top.

He explains that the pole sections were built in Dubai, transported by sea to Iran, then shipped by truck - through Iran, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan - to this landlocked nation.

After climbing more than 500 rungs on steel ladders, we emerge from a hatch to a small platform, so high it has its own weather station. “We are standing on the top of the world’s tallest flagpole right now,” noted Chambers.

Flying from the flagpole is a mighty flag of Tajikistan - weighing 350 kilograms, 1,800 square meters in size.  Chambers is also submitting this to Guinness to earn the ranking for the largest flag flown from a pole anywhere.

Putting Tajikstan on the map

Down on the ground, many Tajiks say they love their new national landmark.

Barbee Mahmoud, a student from the eastern Pamir mountains, says the pole is a national morale booster.

He says the massive pole and flag are helping to put Tajikstan on the map.

But others argue that the pole is an extravagance for one of Central Asia’s poorest countries. The $3.5 million spent on the pole and flags was part of $210 million spent on Independence Day projects. That is equal to 10 percent of the entire annual budget of Central Asia’s poorest nation.

Zafar Abdullayev is a blogger. He notes that big spotlights will keep the flag brighhtly lit all winter long - right when most of Tajikistan will be suffering from electricity rationing.

Muhiddin Kabiri, an opposition politician, contends the Tajik flagpole project is the result of a national inferiority complex.

He says some people who are short wear high heels to compensate for their height.  Kabiri suggests that, if the human-rights policies and politics of Tajikistan’s authoritarian government dull the country's international stature, it has to polish its image with an attraction like the world's tallest flagpole.  

Chambers has heard such criticisms before. The pole he built here topped one he built for Azerbaijan last year in Baku.  

The Azeri president evidently was so annoyed about being overtaken in the flagpole department that he skipped a regional meeting in Tajikistan last month.

More monumental flagpoles to come

With world leaders entranced by erecting flagpoles as tall as skyscrapers, Chambers says orders keep coming to his Dubai-based company, Trident Support.

“We also build stately flagpoles - under 100 meters - in other countries, such as south Africa, Angola, India - places like that. Inshallah, I would love to go back and build one in America some day," Chambers said. "I will build my own if no one else wants to do it.  That will be my swan song - the world’s tallest flagpole, built in Dave Chambers' backyard.”

But the United States may have to wait its turn.  Next in line for Trident’s monumental flag poles are Nigeria, Malaysia, and Russia - for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs