July 01, 2003

Turkish Delight?

aksu, turkey – The multi-colored onion domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral tower over a foaming Mediterranean shoreline … sated Russian-speaking vacationers amble past the Bolshoi Theatre and sink into poolside chairs after the latest gastric blow-out. Welcome to the Kremlin Palace theme hotel, located outside the Turkish resort of Antalya. It is a staggering bricks-and-mortar testament to the meeting of big business, package tourism, architectural extravagance and Russophilia.

Built by Turkey’s giant MNG Holding, the 110,000- square-meter complex comprises copies of Moscow’s most famous buildings, reproduced in such painstaking detail that arriving visitors may well need a stiff vodka.

“My aim was to create a living postcard of Russia,” said Mehmet Gunal, the man behind it all. “I was so shaken when I saw the perfection of the Moscow Kremlin that I decided to build it here.”

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