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Ten Years of Independence Park

To the south of the Ruhyyet Palace stretches a large expanse of grass, the Ten Years of Independence Park, which eventually rises to a mound on which stands a monument centred around ten Ahal Tekke horses. One for each year. The structure, built by the Turkish construction company, has an eventful history: the first effort was rejected by President Niyazov as the horses were deemed not sufficiently to resemble Ahal Tekkes. The new version depicted more slender steeds, and passed scrutiny. Inevitably, the monument has been named 'forty legs' by the citizens of Ashgabat. South of the monument is a golden statue of President Niyazov.

The strip of parkland continues across Atamurat Niyazov Shayoly; this southern extension, opened in 2002, bearing the title Golden Age Park of Saparmurat Turkmenbashy the Great. It features a curved line of arches from which a curtain of water descends.

Several large government buildings, constructed by the French company Bouygues, surround the Ten Years of Independence Park. Immediately to the south of the Defence Ministry, the rectangular building with a square black dome and a line of white marble-faced columns around its exterior is the Mejlis, Turkmenistan's parliament. The next building to the south is the exhibition centre, completed in 2005; it has a huge portico which is reached by a large staircase. Opposite the park from the Mejlis is the building of the Central Bank, its function made clear by the imitation gold ingot, stamped with President Niyazov's head in silhouette, which dominates the facade. Next to this is the almost equally lavish building of the Dayhan Bank, the state-run agricultural bank.