Azerbaijan Plans World's Tallest Building
Man-made islands hailed as 'new Venice'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Apr 12, 2012 3:55 PM CDT
This is an artist impression of the Khazar Islands complex in Baku.   (AP Photo/ http://The Avesta Company, khazarislands.com)

(Newser) – Azerbaijan's got oil money to burn, and officials want to show off the country's modernity—so they're planning to construct the tallest building on the planet. The Azerbaijan Tower is set to rise nearly 3,450 feet over a collection of 41 artificial islands near the capital, Baku. The Caspian Sea project "will be Venice, new Venice," a project leader tells Reuters. "One million people will live here."

American, Chinese, Arab, and Turkish investors are already interested in the $100 billion project, set for completion between 2020 and 2025, he adds. The area will include five-star hotels and a Formula One race track among islands linked by 150 bridges. But rights groups say the glamor comes at the price of forced evictions throughout Baku.