Turkmenistan Capital Claims Guinness Record For Most Marble Buildings

Ashgabat University, Turkmenistan
Neil Melville-Kenny, Flickr

The capital of Turkmenistan has been recognized by Guinness for having the highest density of white marble buildings in the world. Ashgabat boasts 543 new buildings clad with over 48 million square feet of marble, according to Guinness.

The former Soviet satellite state underwent a dramatic architectural transformation after independence under the leadership of the authoritarian “President for Life” Saparmurat Niyazov, who died in 2006. Concrete soviet blocks were razed and replaced with marble-clad government buildings and housing complexes in a garish display of Turkmenistan’s immense natural gas wealth.

Niyazov’s successor, Gurganguly Berdymukhamedov, attached himself to the record by adding the honorific “Distinguished Architect of Turkmenistan” to his current list of titles.

The Guinness website says that if laid out flat there would be over 10 square feet of marble for every 50 square feet of land in the city. In 2013 Turkmenistan was ranked the fifth most miserable country in the world.

This isn’t the first time that the closed-off country has won itself a new record. It previously won the record for the world’s tallest unsupported flagpole (a record now held by Tajikistan), the largest architectural star and the largest indoor Ferris wheel. Its other conspicuous projects include a $1 billion resort complex on the deserted shores of the Caspian Sea.

Fly ‘Guinness Class’ From The UK To Dublin

guinneas airGuinness has unveiled plans to craft its own jet service, naturally dubbed Guinness Class. The private planes will fly from the UK to Dublin every Friday and Saturday evening.

The cabin crew will all be “expertly trained in the art of pouring the perfect pint at altitude,” a release promises. On board, patrons will enjoy “great Guinness and exquisite stout themed food.”

Think this sounds like you? (Let’s face it, it sounds pretty good for most beer lovers.) Every Friday and Saturday evening during the nine-week “test period,” Guinness drinkers in pubs across the UK get the chance to win a trip on the jets to Dublin before being chauffeured back to their own beds before sunrise.

We’d love to test this out for ourselves. If you end up lucky enough to win a flight, let us know about your experience!


Photo of the Day – 51 Irish coffees for St. Patrick’s Day

Irish coffee photo of the day
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! If you’re celebrating today in America, you’re probably planning to drink green beer or a nice pint of Guinness, but why not warm up with an Irish coffee, spiked with whiskey (Irish, of course)? In today’s Photo of the Day, Flickr user jrodmanjr snapped these 51 coffees in action at San Francisco‘s Buena Vista Cafe, which claims to have brought the drink to the United States from Ireland’s Shannon Airport and holds the Guinness World Record for most Irish coffees served. A fun photo bonus: another Flickr user caught the same coffees (and jrodmanjr) at the Buena Vista.

Take any pics of your favorite beverages while traveling? Upload them to the Gadling Flickr pool and we may use it as a future Photo of the Day.

Holiday Inn opens NYC hotel made entirely of key cards

As part of an effort to build buzz around the relaunch of 1200 Holiday Inn hotels this month, the lodging chain has opened a very special hotel in New York. It’s not your average hotel though. It’s made entirely of hotel key cards.

The “Key Card Hotel” was built by Guinness World Record holder Byran Berg, who first broke the record for “World’s Tallest House of Freestanding Playing Cards” in 1992 at the tender age of 17. Since then, he’s broken the record 10 times. Now he’s created a life-size (though small at 400 square feet) hotel made of key cards. Visitors can’t actually stay in the “hotel” (and would you really want to sleep on a bed of plastic?), but they can come marvel at Berg’s creation, which is made of 200,000 cards and weighs two tons, tour the lobby, guest room, and bathroom, and learn about the Holiday Inn’s “Keys to Change” promotion and the many improvements that will be taking place at the brand’s properties. By the end of 2010, over 3000 hotels in the chain will be updated, at a cost of $1 billion, making it the “largest relaunch in the history of the hospitality industry”.

As part of the promotion, guests can enter to win free nights at one of the relaunched Holiday Inn or Holiday Inn Express locations around the world. One grand prize winner will also receive a 3-day, 2-night trip to any Holiday Inn hotel in the world, including round-trip air transportation. To enter, just sign up on the promotion’s website.

The Key Card Hotel will be open at New York’s South Street Seaport from now until September 21. During the promotion, Berg will also create a 9-foot tall replica of the Statue of Liberty using playing cards in the lobby. The online contest runs until October 22nd.