November 19, 1998 |
With a burst of flags and gleaming glass, a hodgepodge of turrets and candy-colored eaves rises from the barren hillside like a postmodern version of Dorothy's Emerald City. Outside, the compound's gates are guarded by police in camouflage. Inside, a five-story yurt coated in mirrors is ringed by pastel townhouses and new lawns studded with sculptures. Some depict Mongolian-looking shepherds and warriors. Others are based on chess pieces: kings, queens, knights, pawns.