NEW YORK — At first glance Zaq Landsberg looks like your typical millennial just navigating through life while living in the hip neighborhood of Williamsburg.
But don’t let appearances fool you — the 30-year-old sculptor is the founder and president of a sovereign nation 2,200 miles away called Zaqistan.
“If you think of a photograph of North America at night I’m pretty sure Zaqistan is the darkest spot,” Landsberg told PIX11 News.
“It’s 50 miles past the last gas station and then 15 miles on dirt roads after that, then 2 miles hiking through the desert after that.”
Landsberg bought the remote piece of land in Utah for $610 on eBay back in 2005 during what he described as a grim time for the US government.
“Politically it was a pretty dark time,” Landsberg said. “Katrina just happened, we were in the thick of the Bush years and I just thought I could run a country better than these clowns.”
“So instead of thinking I could, I decided I should,” Landsberg said.
According to Landsberg, Zaqistan is a de facto sovereign nation.
“The US doesn’t recognize my sovereignty but they’re not stopping me from building stuff out there,” he said.
Measuring in size of about two acres, Zaqistan isn’t exactly easy to locate. The land itself is legit though, with its own flag and official looking passports. It’s a nation that’s slowly being recognized — at least by curious tourists.
“I’ve been getting a lot of emails from around the world, from people who want to know how to get a Visa, what the business requirements licenses are and it’s kind a like all over the map,” Landsberg said.
Landsberg said he doesn’t want to reduce the property and his ownership to an art project or a joke, but just like other countries, building takes time.
Zaqistan is actively accepting applications for citizenship and passports, with 400 Zaqistanis already approved.