Astana

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Astana formerly known as Akmola (Kazakh: Ақмола / Aqmola, until 1998), Tselinograd and Akmolinsk (Russian: Акмолинск, until 1961), is the capital and second largest city (after Almaty
Almaty
Almaty , also known by its former names Verny and Alma-Ata , is the former capital of Kazakhstan and the nation's largest city, with a population of 1,348,500...

) of Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

, with an officially estimated population of 708,794 as of 1 August 2010. It is located in the north-central portion of Kazakhstan, within Akmola Province
Akmola Province
Akmola Province is a centrally located province of Kazakhstan. Its capital is Kokshetau. The capital of the whole country, Astana, is enclosed in the province, but is politically separate from Akmola Province. The province's population is 748,300; Kokshetau's is 124,000. The area is 146,200...

, though administrated separately from the province as a federal city area.

The current mayor of Astana is Imangali Tasmagambetov
Imangali Tasmagambetov
Imangali Nurgaliuly Tasmagambetov is the current mayor of Astana, Kazakhstan. From December 2004-April 2008 he served as the mayor of Almaty...

. He was appointed on 4 April 2008.

Etymology


The word Astana in Kazakh literally means Capital but the word itself originates from Persian Astane ( means Threshold, border point) (Astana, from the verb Istadan (آستان) to stand (in respect)), and literally means "threshold" (royal or sacred, where people stand in respect or awe), implying where the court is seated (the capital city) or the body of a sacred person is interred (a shrine town). The city of Turkistan in Kazakhstan that hosts the body of the saint Ahmad Yasavi is also called the "astana" as is the city of Mashhad
Mashhad
Mashhad , is the second largest city in Iran and one of the holiest cities in the Shia Muslim world. It is also the only major Iranian city with an Arabic name. It is located east of Tehran, at the center of the Razavi Khorasan Province close to the borders of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. Its...

 in Iran that is the burial place of the 8th Shiite Imam
Imam
An imam is an Islamic leadership position, often the worship leader of a mosque and the Muslim community. Similar to spiritual leaders, the imam is the one who leads Islamic worship services. More often, the community turns to the mosque imam if they have a religious question...

 Reza
Reza
Reza is a male given name used commonly in the Muslim world, it comes from Arabic and it means contentment. It also appears as a surname.-Etymology:Rida is an Islamic concept rooted in the Qur'an and the practices of its founder Muhammad...

. In fact, long before becoming the new capital of Kazakhstan, the city was "an astana," a burial ground of a saint, hence the old name of the city, Ak Mola (Ақмола), "white mausoleum."

In June 2008, a parliamentary proposal was put forward to change the city's name to "Nursultan," in honor of President Nursultan Nazarbayev
Nursultan Nazarbayev
Nursultan Abishuly Nazarbayev has served as the President of Kazakhstan since the nation received its independence in 1991, after the fall of the Soviet Union...

. The idea was rejected by Nazarbayev himself, who said the decision of renaming the city will be for future generations. Despite this, some commentators think that the generic name Astana was deliberately chosen so that it would be renamed in honour of Nazarbayev after his death.

Russian and Soviet eras



A unit of Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

n cossack
Cossack
Cossacks are a group of predominantly East Slavic people who originally were members of democratic, semi-military communities in what is today Ukraine and Southern Russia inhabiting sparsely populated areas and islands in the lower Dnieper and Don basins and who played an important role in the...

s from Omsk
Omsk
-History:The wooden fort of Omsk was erected in 1716 to protect the expanding Russian frontier along the Ishim and the Irtysh rivers against the Kyrgyz nomads of the Steppes...

 founded a huge fortress on the upper Ishim
Ishim River
Ishim River is a river running through Kazakhstan and Russia. Its length is 2,450 km , average discharge is 56,3 m³/s . It is a left tributary of the Irtysh River. The Ishim River is partly navigable in its lower reaches. The upper course of the Ishim passes through Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan...

 in 1824, which later became the town of "Akmolinsk". During the early 20th century, the town became a major railway junction, causing a major economic boom that lasted until the Russian Civil War
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

.

Kazakhstan hosted in the Stalinist era a series of Gulag-like labour camps, in total 11 camps that housed up to hundreds of thousands of internees and their families. Outside Astana, there once stood the ALZHIR camp, a Russian acronym for the Akmolinskii Camp for Wives of Traitors of the Motherland, one of the most notorious in the Gulag
Gulag
The Gulag was the government agency that administered the main Soviet forced labor camp systems. While the camps housed a wide range of convicts, from petty criminals to political prisoners, large numbers were convicted by simplified procedures, such as NKVD troikas and other instruments of...

 archipelago, which was reserved for the spouses of those considered "enemies of the people" by the government under Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

.

In 1961, it was renamed "Tselinograd" ("Virgin Lands City") and made capital of the Soviet Virgin Lands Territory (Tselinny Krai). The city was at the centre of the Virgin Lands Campaign
Virgin Lands Campaign
The Virgin Lands Campaign was an initiative by Nikita Khrushchev to open up vast tracts of unseeded steppe in the northern Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic and the Altay region of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, started in 1954....

 led by Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964...

 in the 1950s, in order to turn the state into a second grain producer for the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. The high portion of Russian immigrants in this area, which later led to ethnic tension, can be traced to the influx of agricultural workers at this time. Additionally, many Russian-Germans were resettled here after being deported under Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 at the beginning of World War II, when Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union.

Independent Kazakhstan


After Kazakhstan gained its independence in 1991, the city and the region were renamed "Aqmola", literally meaning "White Shrine".

In 1995, the city was designated as the future capital of the newly-independent country, and the capital was officially moved from Almaty
Almaty
Almaty , also known by its former names Verny and Alma-Ata , is the former capital of Kazakhstan and the nation's largest city, with a population of 1,348,500...

 on December 10, 1997. The new name, Astana, was bestowed in 1998.

Government officials cited several problems with keeping the capital in Almaty, such as the city's risk of seismic activity, insufficient room for expansion, and proximity to international borders. Additionally, parts of northern Kazakhstan are populated primarily by ethnic Russians, which raised fears of possible irredentist activity. Moving the capital to this area may have been an attempt to anchor it more closely with the rest of the country.

To some Kazakhs, the move remains controversial. Critics cite the city's isolated location in the center of the Kazakh steppe
Kazakh Steppe
The Kazakh Steppe or Kirghiz Steppe ecoregion, of the Palearctic Temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands Biome, is a vast region of open grassland in northern Kazakhstan and adjacent portions of Russia, extending to the east of the Pontic steppe and to the west of the Emin Valley steppe,...

 and the forbidding climate in winter. Financially, some resent the massive expenditure of public funds to build the new government complexes, as well as the continuing cost of airfare and hotel expenses for the many government workers who still live in Almaty.

Geography and climate



Location


Astana is located in central Kazakhstan on the Ishim River
Ishim River
Ishim River is a river running through Kazakhstan and Russia. Its length is 2,450 km , average discharge is 56,3 m³/s . It is a left tributary of the Irtysh River. The Ishim River is partly navigable in its lower reaches. The upper course of the Ishim passes through Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan...

 in a very flat, semi-desert steppe region which covers most of the country's territory. The elevation of Astana is at 347 metres (1,138 ft) above sea level
Above mean sea level
The term above mean sea level refers to the elevation or altitude of any object, relative to the average sea level datum. AMSL is used extensively in radio by engineers to determine the coverage area a station will be able to reach...

. Astana is in a spacious steppe landscape, in the transient area between the north of Kazakhstan and the extremely thinly settled national center, because of the river Ishim. The older boroughs lie north of the river, whilst the new boroughs are located south of the Ishim.

Climate


Climatically, Astana is the second coldest capital in the world, a record formerly held by Canada's capital, Ottawa
Ottawa
Ottawa is the capital of Canada, the second largest city in the Province of Ontario, and the fourth largest city in the country. The city is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario...

, until Astana became the capital (but far behind Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia), with temperatures of -35 °C to -40 °C common in the early winter. The new city is also known to regularly freeze for around six months every year. Overall, Astana has a humid continental climate
Humid continental climate
A humid continental climate is a climatic region typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot summers and cold winters....

 (Köppen climate classification
Köppen climate classification
The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Crimea German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936...

 Dfb), bordering on a semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification
Köppen climate classification
The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Crimea German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936...

 BSk), with exceptionally cold winters and warm summers.

The average annual temperature
Temperature
Temperature is a physical property of matter that quantitatively expresses the common notions of hot and cold. Objects of low temperature are cold, while various degrees of higher temperatures are referred to as warm or hot...

 in Astana is 1.8 °C (35.2 °F). January is the coldest month with an average temperature of -17.3 °C. July is the hottest month with an average temperature of 20.2 °C (68 °F).

Population/Demographics


As of July 1, 2010, Astana has a population density of 958 people per square kilometre and a population of about 705,897, of which Kazakhs
Kazakhs
The Kazakhs are a Turkic people of the northern parts of Central Asia ....

, Russians
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

, Ukrainians
Ukrainians
Ukrainians are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Ukraine, which is the sixth-largest nation in Europe. The Constitution of Ukraine applies the term 'Ukrainians' to all its citizens...

, Tatars
Tatars
Tatars are a Turkic speaking ethnic group , numbering roughly 7 million.The majority of Tatars live in the Russian Federation, with a population of around 5.5 million, about 2 million of which in the republic of Tatarstan.Significant minority populations are found in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan,...

 and Germans
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

 make up 65.2%, 23.8%, 2.9%, 1.7%, 1.5 % respectively. Other ethnic groups make up 4.9% of Astana's population.

In 1999, Astana had a population of 281,000. The ethnic mix was about 30% Kazakh
Kazakhs
The Kazakhs are a Turkic people of the northern parts of Central Asia ....

 and 70% Russian
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

, Ukrainian
Ukrainians
Ukrainians are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Ukraine, which is the sixth-largest nation in Europe. The Constitution of Ukraine applies the term 'Ukrainians' to all its citizens...

 and German
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

.

By 2007, Astana's population has more than doubled since the move, to over 600,000, and it is estimated to top 1 million by 2030. Migrant workers – legal and illegal – have been attracted from across Kazakhstan and neighboring states such as Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, and Astana is a magnet for young professionals seeking to build a career. This has changed the city's demographics, bringing more ethnic Kazakhs to a city that formerly had a Slav majority. Astana's ethnic Kazakh population has risen to some 60%, up from 17% in 1989.

Many argue that a drive to attract ethnic Kazakhs northward was the key factor in shifting the capital, which was officially put down to lack of space for expansion in the former capital, Almaty, and its location in an earthquake zone.

According to preliminary figures, Astana had 700,000 inhabitants in late 2007.
Kazakhstani official statistical service estimates city population 691,529 (1 March 2010). According to the 1999 Census, 40.5% of the population is Russian, 5.7% Ukrainian, 3.0% German, 2.6% Tatar, 1.8% Belorussian and 0.8% Polish
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

. But at 41.8%, Kazakhs outnumbered Russians and were forming the largest ethnic group, while Ingush and Korean each accounted for 0.6%. Others, mostly Uzbeks, accounted for 3.8%.

Economy



Politics and government are the main economic activities in the capital, which also forms a Special Economic Zone
Special Economic Zone
A Special Economic Zone is a geographical region that has economic and other laws that are more free-market-oriented than a country's typical or national laws...

. Since the move, Astana has seen one of the world's greatest building projects, as oil
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

 money has been spent on government buildings, a massive home for the president, a mosque, and numerous parks and monuments. The project is designed to make the town the centre of not only Kazakhstan, but all of Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

.

“Almaty” District


District was created on May 6, 1998 by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Territory of “Almaty” District is 21,054 hectares (52 025 acres or 81.290 sq.miles). Population - 321.400 people. The district has five villages.

“Yesil” District


District was created on Aug. 5, 2008 by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan. It occupies the territory of 31,179 hectares (77 045 acres or 120.382 sq.miles)
Population - approx. 180,000 people.

“Saryarka” District


District was created on May 6, 1998 by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan
The territory of “Saryarka” district is 19,202 hectares (47 449 acres or 74.139 sq.miles). Population - 296,364 people.
Description

North of the railway line, which crosses Astana in an east-west direction, are industrial and poorer residential areas. Between the railway line and the river Ishim is the city center, where at present intense building activity is occurring. To the west and east are more elevated residential areas with parks and the new area of government administration to the south of the Ishim. Here many large building projects are underway; for example, the construction of a diplomat quarter, and a variety of different government buildings. By 2030, these quarters are to be completed. The original plans for the new Astana were drawn up by the late Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa. Astana's current chief planner, Vladimir Laptev, wants to build a Berlin in a Eurasia
Eurasia
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

n style. He has stated that a purely administrative capital such as Canberra
Canberra
Canberra is the capital city of Australia. With a population of over 345,000, it is Australia's largest inland city and the eighth-largest city overall. The city is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory , south-west of Sydney, and north-east of Melbourne...

 is not one of his goals.

Architecture


The old buildings that remained from the Soviet era
Stalinist architecture
Stalinist architecture , also referred to as Stalinist Gothic, or Socialist Classicism, is a term given to architecture of the Soviet Union between 1933, when Boris Iofan's draft for Palace of the Soviets was officially approved, and 1955, when Nikita Khrushchev condemned "excesses" of the past...

 are now being removed and replaced with totally new structures resulting in significant construction work throughout the city. President Nazarbayev has paid particular attention to Astana's architecture; most of the recently completed structures had been accredited to internationally acclaimed architects and designers such as Kisho Kurokawa or Norman Foster.

Bayterek



Bayterek is the most famous landmark in Astana. The legend behind this tower as a symbol is that it represents a poplar
Poplar
Populus is a genus of 25–35 species of deciduous flowering plants in the family Salicaceae, native to most of the Northern Hemisphere. English names variously applied to different species include poplar , aspen, and cottonwood....

 tree, where the magic bird Samuruk laid its egg.
In the sphere on the top of Bayterek there is an imprint of president Nursultan Nazarbayev
Nursultan Nazarbayev
Nursultan Abishuly Nazarbayev has served as the President of Kazakhstan since the nation received its independence in 1991, after the fall of the Soviet Union...

's hand.

In front of the Bayterek Tower in summer 2010, the largest open-air art exhibition ever in Kazakhstan took place: About 2.2 million people saw the international exhibition of United Buddy Bears
United Buddy Bears
Buddy Bears are a series of painted, life-size fibreglass bear sculptures originally developed in Berlin, Germany. The first Buddy Bear was created by the German businesspeople Klaus and Eva Herlitz, in cooperation with the sculptor Roman Strobl in 2001....

.

Palace of Peace and Reconciliation (Pyramid of Peace)



The pyramid has been conceived and designed by architect Sir Norman Foster and engineers Buro Happold
Buro Happold
Buro Happold is a professional services firm providing engineering consultancy, design, planning, project management and consulting services for all aspects of buildings, infrastructure and the environment, with its head office in Bath, Somerset...

 and inaugurated in September 2006. It contains accommodations for different religions: Judaism, Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, Christianity, Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, Taoism
Taoism
Taoism refers to a philosophical or religious tradition in which the basic concept is to establish harmony with the Tao , which is the mechanism of everything that exists...

 and other faiths. It also houses a 1,500- seat opera house, a national museum of culture, a new “university of civilization”, a library and a research center for Kazakhstan’s ethnic and geographical groups. This diversity is unified within the pure form of a pyramid, 62 meters high with a 62 x 62-meter base. The building is conceived as a global center for religious understanding, the renunciation of violence and the promotion of faith and human equality. The Pyramid of Peace expresses the spirit of Kazakhstan, where cultures, traditions and representatives of various nationalities coexist in peace, harmony and accord. Bathed in the golden and pale blue glow of the glass (colors taken from the Kazakhstan flag), 200 delegates from the world’s main religions and faiths will meet every three years in a circular chamber — based on the United Nations Security Council meeting room in New York. ; Height: 77 m (252.62 ft), total area: 25,500 sq.m.; Accommodates: Opera Hall for 1,500 seats, The Museum of National History, The Research Center of World Religions, Library of Spiritual Religious Literature, Exhibition and conference rooms

Kazakhstan Central Concert Hall


The Concert Hall has been conceived and designed by Italian architect Manfredi Nicoletti
Manfredi Nicoletti
Manfredi Nicoletti is an Italian architect.- Biography :Born in Rieti, Nicoletti began his artistic and intellectual career very young in the studio of Giacomo Balla. In Rome he studied under Pier Luigi Nervi and graduated in architecture in 1954...

 as a result of an International Competition and inaugurated by president Nursultan Nazarbayev
Nursultan Nazarbayev
Nursultan Abishuly Nazarbayev has served as the President of Kazakhstan since the nation received its independence in 1991, after the fall of the Soviet Union...

 in December 2009.
The building shape is reminiscent of the petals of a flower. These "petals" create an imposing envelope which encloses and protects all the functions from the extreme climatic conditions of Astana.
It houses one of world’s biggest Concert Halls for classical music with a total of 3,500 seats in vineyard conformation, two small music, cinema and conference halls with 400 and 200 seats each, restaurants, bars and a lobby of about 3000sqm. The main music hall has been designed to adapt to all kind of performances such as classical, pop and traditional music concerts, theatre, ballet, conferences and cinema, by means of a special false ceiling design and a system of acoustic curtains.
The building is approximately 200m long and rises up to 40m high for a total of 55.000sqm.
The structure of the external wall (the “petals”) are reinforced concrete. The external cladding is done with blue back-painted transparent glass panels inspired by the colour of the Kazakhstan flag.

The Islamic Center


The Islamic Center was built in 2005 and was sponsored by the Emir of Qatar
Hamad bin Khalifa
Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani is the ruling Emir of the State of Qatar since 1995.Sheikh Hamad was the appointed Heir Apparent of Qatar between 1977 and 1995 and at the same time Minister of Defense. In the early 1980s he led the Supreme Planning Council, which sets the Qatar's basic economic...

. It consists of a mosque
Mosque
A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French , from Portuguese , from Spanish , and from Berber , ultimately originating in — . The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration...

, madrasah
Madrasah
Madrasah is the Arabic word for any type of educational institution, whether secular or religious...

, and a library. The mosque has 4 minarets
Minarets
Minarets may refer to:*Minarets, an architectural feature of Islamic mosques*Minarets, California, a former town in California*Minarets , mountain peaks in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California*Minarets , a song by Dave Matthews...

, 63 meters each, and has a capacity of 5,000 people. The height of the mosque's dome is 43 meters.

Ak Orda Presidential Palace


Ak Orda (Kazakh
Kazakh language
Kazakh is a Turkic language which belongs to the Kipchak branch of the Turkic languages, closely related to Nogai and Karakalpak....

, "the white horde") is the official workplace of the President of Kazakhstan. Ak Orda Presidential Palace was built in 2004 of monolithic concrete as a five-story building. The lining was performed using 20–40 cm thick Italian marble. The height of the building is 80 meters and the total area is 36,720 square meters.
Ak Orda includes a yurt
Yurt
A yurt is a portable, bent wood-framed dwelling structure traditionally used by Turkic nomads in the steppes of Central Asia. The structure comprises a crown or compression wheel usually steam bent, supported by roof ribs which are bent down at the end where they meet the lattice wall...

-like hall designed of marble and granite, a marble hall for summits and official visits by foreign-country representatives, and a golden hall for negotiations and private discussions between the head of the state and the leaders of other countries.

Khan Shatyry


In December 2006, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev
Nursultan Nazarbayev
Nursultan Abishuly Nazarbayev has served as the President of Kazakhstan since the nation received its independence in 1991, after the fall of the Soviet Union...

 unveiled plans to build Khan Shatyry, a "giant, transparent tent", over an area of the city. The project was completed in July 2010. The tent is 150 meters high, and like the pyramid was designed by the British team of Norman Foster
Norman Foster, Baron Foster of Thames Bank
Norman Robert Foster, Baron Foster of Thames Bank, OM is a British architect whose company maintains an international design practice, Foster + Partners....

 and Buro Happold
Buro Happold
Buro Happold is a professional services firm providing engineering consultancy, design, planning, project management and consulting services for all aspects of buildings, infrastructure and the environment, with its head office in Bath, Somerset...


Transport Tower



Transport Tower is one of the tallest buildings in Kazakhstan, standing 150 meters high, its 34 stories completed in 2003. The building houses various governmental agencies and organizations, namely the Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications.

Sightseeing


In the centre of town, the Avenue of the Republic acts as the main hub of activity. It is bordered by many stores, coffee houses, restaurants, night clubs and some casinos. Notable among these are the:
  • Modern governmental quarter
  • Ishim River
    Ishim River
    Ishim River is a river running through Kazakhstan and Russia. Its length is 2,450 km , average discharge is 56,3 m³/s . It is a left tributary of the Irtysh River. The Ishim River is partly navigable in its lower reaches. The upper course of the Ishim passes through Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan...

     waterfront
  • "Oceanarium
    Oceanarium
    An oceanarium can be either a marine mammal park, such as Marineland of Florida, or a large-scale aquarium, such as the Lisbon Oceanarium, presenting an ocean habitat with marine animals, especially large ocean dwellers such as sharks.- Marine mammal parks :...

    "
  • Astana Central National Mosque
  • Islamic Center
  • Roman Catholic Cathedral (see Roman Catholicism in Kazakhstan
    Roman Catholicism in Kazakhstan
    The Roman Catholic Church in Kazakhstan is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope and Curia in Rome.-Demographics:...

    )
  • Market hall
  • Bayterek
    Bayterek
    Bayterek , is a monument and observation tower in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. A tourist attraction popular with foreign visitors and native Kazakhs alike, it is a common symbol of the city, epitomizing its elevation in 1997 to the status of capital of the country.- Design :The monument is...

     Tower
  • [REVision Park] Cinema in English: Every Tuesday at 8pm, 24 Turan St. Sary Arka Shopping Mall (3d Floor)., Revision Park is a new project of Language Leader http://languageleader.kz/ and KinoPark Multiplex cinemas.

Museums

  • Presidential Center of Culture
  • Kabanbay Batyr Mausoleum
  • Atameken Ethnic Memorial Complex: dedicated to a map of Kazakhstan. Ata-meken means ‘fatherland’.
  • The S. Seifullin Museum
  • Museum of the First President
    Nursultan Nazarbayev
    Nursultan Abishuly Nazarbayev has served as the President of Kazakhstan since the nation received its independence in 1991, after the fall of the Soviet Union...

     of the Republic of Kazakhstan

Theatres

  • The Gorky
    Maxim Gorky
    Alexei Maximovich Peshkov , primarily known as Maxim Gorky , was a Russian and Soviet author, a founder of the Socialist Realism literary method and a political activist.-Early years:...

     Russian Drama Theatre
  • The Kalibek Kuanyshbaev Kazakh Theatre: named after a Kazakh theatre actor
  • The K. Bajseitova
    Kulyash Baiseitova
    Kulyash Baiseitova was a Soviet Kazakh opera singer.She was one of the 13 original recipients of the award of People's Artist of the USSR in 1936....

     National Opera and Ballet Theatre

Monuments

  • Monument Otan Korgaushylar
  • Memorial to the victims of political repressions
  • Memorial to Kazakhstan People who Perished in the Afghan War
  • Central Square with fountain and sculpture composition
  • Monument to Kenesary Khan

Architectural monuments

  • Church of Constantine and Yelena
  • 19th-century buildings
  • Green Mosque Fence

Sport


Astana is home to FC Astana
FC Lokomotiv Astana
FC Astana is a Kazakh football club based at the Astana Arena.-History:The club formed as the result of a merger between FC Alma-Ata and Megasport in the beginning of 2009. Later they moved to newly build Astana Arena. The club has benefited from a high salary role which has enabled them to...

 and FC Astana-64, of which the latter won the national championship in 2000, 2001 and 2006. The city is also home to the Astana Tigers
Astana Tigers
BK Astana Tigers is a Kazakhstani basketball club based in the Kazakhstani capital, Astana. The team competes in the First Division of the Kazakhstani National League, having already won 6 championships...

 basketball team who successfully took the 2004/2005 season title, as well as Barys Astana
Barys Astana
Hockey Club Barys is a professional ice hockey team based in Astana, Kazakhstan. They compete in the Chernyshev Division of the Kontinental Hockey League.-History:...

 of the Kontinental Hockey League
Kontinental Hockey League
The Kontinental Hockey League is an international professional ice hockey league in Eurasia founded in 2008. As of 2009, it is ranked as the strongest hockey league in Europe....

. In addition, is a professional cycling team
Cycling team
A cycling team is a group of cyclists who join a team or are acquired and train together to compete in bicycle races whether recreational or professional - and the supporting personnel...

. They participated in the 2007 Tour de France
2007 Tour de France
The 2007 Tour de France, the 94th running of the race, took place from 7 July to 29 July 2007. The Tour began with a prologue in London, and ended with the traditional finish in Paris. Along the way, the route also passed through Belgium and Spain...

 wearing uniforms in Kazakhstani national colors, but were excluded during the race after the failed test of Alexander Vinokourov
Alexander Vinokourov
Alexander Nikolaevich Vinokourov, also written Alexandre Vinokourov, is an ethnically Russian Kazakhstani professional road bicycle racer who currently competes with the UCI ProTeam Astana...

 for illegal doping
Doping
Doping is generally the practice of adding impurities to something.* Doping is a term for the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sport or blood doping, often to improve athletic performance....

 practises, and was banned from the 2008 race. Astana returned to the Tour de France
2009 Tour de France
The 2009 Tour de France was the 96th edition of the Tour de France, one of cycling's Grand Tours. It started on 4 July in the principality of Monaco with a individual time trial which included a section of the Circuit de Monaco...

 in 2009 and won the overall Team Classification, with Alberto Contador
Alberto Contador
Alberto Contador Velasco is a Spanish professional road bicycle racer for UCI ProTeam . He was the winner of the 2007 Tour de France with the team. With the Astana team he has won the 2008 Giro d'Italia, the 2008 Vuelta a España, the 2009 Tour de France, the 2010 Tour de France and won 2011 Giro...

 and Lance Armstrong
Lance Armstrong
Lance Edward Armstrong is an American former professional road racing cyclist who won the Tour de France a record seven consecutive times, after having survived testicular cancer. He is also the founder and chairman of the Lance Armstrong Foundation for cancer research and support...

 finishing first and third respectively. In 2010 Contador again won the Tour de France
2010 Tour de France
The 2010 Tour de France was the 97th edition of the Tour de France cycle race, one of cycling's Grand Tours. It started on with an 8.9 km prologue time trial in Rotterdam, the first start in the Netherlands since 1996...

 with the Astana team, but announced in August 2010 that he would be leaving the Astana team to join the Sunguard-SaxoBank team in 2011.

A bandy
Bandy
Bandy is a team winter sport played on ice, in which skaters use sticks to direct a ball into the opposing team's goal.The rules of the game have many similarities to those of association football: the game is played on a rectangle of ice the same size as a football field. Each team has 11 players,...

 team by the name of Dynamo-Astana has been formed, and an indoor bandy arena is being built for Dynamo.
The 2011 Asian Winter Games will be partly held in the capital.
Club Sport Founded League Venue
FC Astana
FC Lokomotiv Astana
FC Astana is a Kazakh football club based at the Astana Arena.-History:The club formed as the result of a merger between FC Alma-Ata and Megasport in the beginning of 2009. Later they moved to newly build Astana Arena. The club has benefited from a high salary role which has enabled them to...

Football
Football (soccer)
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball...

2009 Kazakhstan Premier League Astana Arena
FC Astana-64 Football
Football (soccer)
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball...

1964 Kazakhstan Premier League K. Munaitpasov Stadium
Cycling
Cycling
Cycling, also called bicycling or biking, is the use of bicycles for transport, recreation, or for sport. Persons engaged in cycling are cyclists or bicyclists...

2007 UCI ProTour
UCI ProTour
The UCI ProTour was a series of road bicycle races in Europe, Australia and Canada organised by the UCI . Created by Hein Verbruggen, former president of the UCI, it comprises a number of 'ProTour' cycling teams, each of whom are required to compete in every round of the series...

Astana Tigers
Astana Tigers
BK Astana Tigers is a Kazakhstani basketball club based in the Kazakhstani capital, Astana. The team competes in the First Division of the Kazakhstani National League, having already won 6 championships...

Basketball
Basketball
Basketball is a team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop while following a set of rules...

2000 Kazakh Basketball League
Barys Astana
Barys Astana
Hockey Club Barys is a professional ice hockey team based in Astana, Kazakhstan. They compete in the Chernyshev Division of the Kontinental Hockey League.-History:...

Ice hockey
Ice hockey
Ice hockey, often referred to as hockey, is a team sport played on ice, in which skaters use wooden or composite sticks to shoot a hard rubber puck into their opponent's net. The game is played between two teams of six players each. Five members of each team skate up and down the ice trying to take...

1999 Kontinental Hockey League
Kontinental Hockey League
The Kontinental Hockey League is an international professional ice hockey league in Eurasia founded in 2008. As of 2009, it is ranked as the strongest hockey league in Europe....

, Kazakh Ice Hockey League
Alatau Sports Palace
Alatau Sports Palace
Kazakhstan Sport Palace is an indoor sporting arena located in Astana, Kazakhstan. It is used to host various indoor events and serves as the home of Barys Astana of the Kontinental Hockey League. The arena seats 5,500 spectators.-External links:*...


Transport



Astana International Airport
Astana International Airport
Astana International Airport is an international airport in Kazakhstan located 14 km outside of the capital Astana.-History:The airport traces its history to 1931 when Astana's first airfield was constructed...

 was, like the plan for the whole new city, designed by the late Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa.
The Astana Metro
Astana Metro
The Astana Metro is a planned light rail rapid transit system located in Astana, Kazakhstan, which is the capital of the country with a population of about 750,000. The construction of the system should be finished roughly about the same time as the Almaty Metro will be, which is estimated at 2010...

 is a planned underground
Rapid transit
A rapid transit, underground, subway, elevated railway, metro or metropolitan railway system is an electric passenger railway in an urban area with a high capacity and frequency, and grade separation from other traffic. Rapid transit systems are typically located either in underground tunnels or on...

 construction in Astana.

Astana Train Station is an important hub for northern Kazakhstan, served by Qazaqstan Temir Zholy
Qazaqstan Temir Zholy
Kazakhstan Temir Zholy , also National Company Kazakhstan Temir Zholy, is the national railway company of Kazakhstan.-Organization:...

 trains to most major cities in Kazakhstan, including Talgo
Talgo
Talgo is a Spanish manufacturer of railway vehicles. It is best known for a design of articulated railway passenger cars in which the wheels are mounted in pairs, but not joined by an axle, and being between rather than underneath the individual coaches...

 expresses to Almaty
Almaty
Almaty , also known by its former names Verny and Alma-Ata , is the former capital of Kazakhstan and the nation's largest city, with a population of 1,348,500...

. International trains leave for Russia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan, most of them with a once a week frequency. Since the summer of 2008, the schedule systems show also a direct weekly train to Urumqi
Ürümqi
Ürümqi , formerly Tihwa , is the capital of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China, in the northwest of the country....

 (in China's Xinjiang
Xinjiang
Xinjiang is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. It is the largest Chinese administrative division and spans over 1.6 million km2...

).

Sister cities


Astana is twinned
Town twinning
Twin towns and sister cities are two of many terms used to describe the cooperative agreements between towns, cities, and even counties in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties.- Terminology :...

 with:
İzmir
Izmir
Izmir is a large metropolis in the western extremity of Anatolia. The metropolitan area in the entire Izmir Province had a population of 3.35 million as of 2010, making the city third most populous in Turkey...

, Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 Ankara
Ankara
Ankara is the capital of Turkey and the country's second largest city after Istanbul. The city has a mean elevation of , and as of 2010 the metropolitan area in the entire Ankara Province had a population of 4.4 million....

, Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

Kazan
Kazan
Kazan is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. With a population of 1,143,546 , it is the eighth most populous city in Russia. Kazan lies at the confluence of the Volga and Kazanka Rivers in European Russia. In April 2009, the Russian Patent Office granted Kazan the...

, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 Amman
Amman
Amman is the capital of Jordan. It is the country's political, cultural and commercial centre and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The Greater Amman area has a population of 2,842,629 as of 2010. The population of Amman is expected to jump from 2.8 million to almost...

, Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

 Sarajevo
Sarajevo
Sarajevo |Bosnia]], surrounded by the Dinaric Alps and situated along the Miljacka River in the heart of Southeastern Europe and the Balkans....

, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

Riga
Riga
Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. With 702,891 inhabitants Riga is the largest city of the Baltic states, one of the largest cities in Northern Europe and home to more than one third of Latvia's population. The city is an important seaport and a major industrial, commercial,...

, Latvia
Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

 Gdańsk
Gdansk
Gdańsk is a Polish city on the Baltic coast, at the centre of the country's fourth-largest metropolitan area.The city lies on the southern edge of Gdańsk Bay , in a conurbation with the city of Gdynia, spa town of Sopot, and suburban communities, which together form a metropolitan area called the...

, Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 (since 1996) Warsaw
Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

, Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 Tbilisi
Tbilisi
Tbilisi is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Mt'k'vari River. The name is derived from an early Georgian form T'pilisi and it was officially known as Tiflis until 1936...

, Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

 (since 2005)
Seoul
Seoul
Seoul , officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea. A megacity with a population of over 10 million, it is the largest city proper in the OECD developed world...

, South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

 Manila
Manila
Manila is the capital of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities forming Metro Manila.Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay and is bordered by Navotas and Caloocan to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, Makati on the southeast,...

, Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

, China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 Margate
Margate
-Demography:As of the 2001 UK census, Margate had a population of 40,386.The ethnicity of the town was 97.1% white, 1.0% mixed race, 0.5% black, 0.8% Asian, 0.6% Chinese or other ethnicity....

, United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...


External links