Google Maps user discovers ‘dictator’s palace’ hidden in mountain range

Google Maps users believe they have spotted what could be a ‘dictator’s palace’ hidden in an ex-Soviet base in the mountains.

They noticed the ‘James Bond-style’ complex, which they say has a checkpoint to enter and is surrounded by fencing, in western Turkmenistan.

A Reddit user shared an image of the site on a forum, saying: “Clearly whatever happens there, someone wants it secret.”

The user thought it belonged to the country’s president Gurbangluy Berdimuhamedow as he “absolutely loves” the building’s materials.

And it “has barely any parking space” which means “it is not meant for tourists or large groups of people", the online sleuth claimed.

It had been turned from an “abandoned ex-soviet building to huge luxury complex” in just 10 months between 2016 and 2017, the post said.

The Google user added: “Conclusion: someone wanted a luxury building complex built very fast in an authoritarian nation.

“Those who wanted it, built it in the mountains where the people couldn't see it.

“They clearly had privacy and security as a top priority. Not something anyone could just do.”

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The “only person” with the power and money “to do such a thing” was the nation’s president, while locals “probably know not to drive into a military base”, the commentator added.

Another user agreed as there was no other “plausible reason” for it, adding: “Has a swimming pool, basketball court… it’s clearly a luxury compound belonging to someone.

“And that fence and security gate are serious business. Some real James Bond stuff.”

And one said: “Interesting. I love this stuff. North Korea has a few too.”

But other users disagreed.

One said they think it might be a conference centre as it has 40 car spaces, a football field and a basketball court.

While another posted that it was within walking distance of a town, with no security at the turn off for the road.

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