Man creates new country in Utah desert

23rd Nov 2015
Written by: Dave Owen

Travellers! Welcome to Zaqistan!

What’s the next step after you’ve travelled the world and experienced every culture it has to offer? You create your own country, of course!

Zaq Landsberg is a New York artist and founder of the sovereign nation of Zaqistan, a two-acre piece of land in the middle of the Utah desert. The country is now celebrating its 10th anniversary, having been founded in 2005 when Landsberg bought the land on eBay for $610.

The Republic of Zaqistan

“When I bought the land, it was right after Hurricane Katrina, and it was a pretty dark time, politically, in our country,” he said. “I thought, ‘I can run a country better than these clowns.’ So I started creating something out of nothing in the desert.”

The Republic of Zaqistan was born. Official motto: ‘Something From Nothing.’

Its founder visits his country for a few days every year to create artistic monuments, including a victory arch, a decennial monument, and a bed of plastic flowers. There’s also a border patrol gate and robot guards, so don’t think you can just waltz in. Passports are available to buy on his website.

Zaqistan passports

The country is a remote place. The nearest town is 60 miles away, and there’s no source of water. “It’s pretty harsh,” said Landsberg. “Incredibly hot during the day, cold at night, with gale force winds that come in occasionally. I’ve grown to like it, but it’s about as far away as you can get.”

So far he has spent around $10,000 on improving the nation. “My ultimate goal is for Zaqistan to one day become a legitimate country,” he said.

The local Congressman Ron Bishop doesn’t seem to mind Zaqistan being in his district, so although the USA doesn’t, and likely never will, recognise its sovereignty, the country isn’t likely to attract the ire of the military any time soon.

Bummer, you're leaving Zaqistan

So if you want to visit a country that almost no other traveller has, it’s time to add Zaqistan to your itinerary.

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