Bashar al-Assad Palace Bashar al-Assad Palace

Most architects no doubt dream of designing a structure as grand as a palace. And for architect Kenzō Tange, the famed Pritzker Prize-winning architect responsible for many of Japan’s best known structures, the opportunity to build a palace for the father of current Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad was a hard one to pass up.

The resulting structure sits on a bluff high above the rest of the city, an opulent Mediterranean mansion looming like the impenetrable castle of some feudal lord over his subjects. So just how did Tange get this morally dubious gig?

Read more: Assad’s Lair

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