The three-legged arch, which became known locally as "The Tripod", was 75 metres (246 ft) tall and was built in 1998 on the orders of Turkmenistan's President Saparmurat Niyazov to commemorate the country's official position of neutrality. It cost $12 million to construct. The monument was topped by a 12-metre (39 ft) tall gold-plated statue of Niyazov which rotated to always face the sun. The arch was located in central Ashgabat where it dominated the skyline, being taller than the nearby Presidential Palace. The statue was illuminated at night. The arch featured a panoramic viewing platform which was a popular attraction for visitors.
Parts of this article (those related to removal) are outdated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(August 2011)
On 18 January 2010 Niyazov's successor as president, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, signed a decree to begin work on dismantling and moving the arch. There were reports that the arch would be dismantled as early as 2008, but the president did not approve the move until 2010. The dismantling was officially said to be a move to improve urban design in Ashgabat but is seen as part of Berdimuhamedow's campaign to remove the excesses of the personality cult that Niyazov had created in his two decades at the head of one of the world's most authoritarian regimes. Niyazov also named cities and airports after himself, ordered the building of an ice palace and a 40-metre (130 ft) tall pyramid, but the gold-plated statue has been described as the most notorious symbol of his legacy.
Berdimuhamedow has replaced the arch with a 95-metre (312 ft) tall "Monument to Neutrality" which is located in the suburbs. The president appointed Turkish construction firm Polimeks to carry out the demolition of the arch and the construction of the new monument. The removal of Niyazov's golden statue was completed on 26 August 2010, although it then became part of the new Monument to Neutrality. However the statue no longer rotates.