The impoverished Central Asian nation of Tajikistan is celebrating its second decade of independence after the fall of Soviet Union in a costly show of pomp that has drawn criticism over the barely affordable expense.
More than 10,000 soldiers paraded Friday through a central square in the capital, Dushanbe, ahead of a festive performance by 20,000 students.
The highlight of the day was the unfurling of a national flag stretching 2,011 meters (1.3 miles) and weighing 860 kilograms (nearly 1,900 pounds).
That comes only weeks after the unveiling of the world's tallest flagpole, which is estimated to have cost more than $3.5 million to create.
Government officials say more than $210 million have been spent on construction to mark the anniversary. That is equivalent to more than one-tenth of the country's annual budget.