A huge gilded statue of the Turkmen-bred shepherd dog known as Alabai has been unveiled in the capital by Turkmenistan’s president in an elaborate ceremony.
The dog, a Central Asian shepherd is a symbol of national pride in the reclusive authoritarian Communist nation.
Depicted standing proudly on a plinth, the status is in the capital of Ashgabat in a busy traffic circle.
In the ceremony to unveil the statue, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov waved to onlookers who clapped enthusiastically as reported by the state television.
There was also footage of a child holding a real Alabai puppy and a balloon release.
At the base of the statue is a continuously playing video of the dogs running through grass or the desert and playing with children.
Along with horses, dogs are considered part of the country’s national heritage and are widely used by the many traditional herders in the country of 6 million people.
Turkmenistan’s president has written a book an a poem about the Alabai dog and in 2017 a puppy was gifted to Russian president Vladimir Putin.