The capital of Kazakhstan is Astana, a city founded as a fortress in 1830. Having only become the country’s capital in 1997, Astana is a young but fast-growing modern city full of bright prospects, rich opportunities and exciting ideas.
In 1999, in the Bolivian capital of La Paz, Astana received an honourable mention in UNESCO’s “Cities for Peace” awards. Astana continues to live up to this and is developing itself as “a model city of social wellbeing.”
Astana is a city of the future, as a result not only of its unique architectural style, but also of its open and hospitable nature. Astana has played host to the UN Secretary General and Pope John Paul II. The Kazakhstan capital is a place open to businessmen and tourists, artists and sportsmen.
The population of Astana
Today, Astana covers an area of 710.2 square km with a population of over 700 thousand people.
Places of interest in Astana
Astana is an important cultural and scientific center in Kazakhstan. It hosts the National Academy of Sciences, universities, the National Library, the National Museum, modern art galleries, the Center for Social and Economic Technologies, business centers, children’s parks, and water amusements.
Astana mirrors the realities of a modern multinational and multi-confessional Kazakhstan: representatives of all races and major religions live and work together. The city has become a venue for a number of public forums dedicated to interethnic and interfaith cooperation.
Astana’s architecture combines oriental traditions and audacious ideas of leading western architects in a harmonious yet daring way. The general plan of the city was developed by the famous Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa, the design of the unique Palace of Peace and Concord and the “Khan Shatyr” entertainment center belong to British architect Norman Foster and the cinema and concert hall were designed by Italian architect Manfredi Nicoletti.
The city’s main square is delimited by the complex of buildings made up of the Senate, the Parliament, the President’s Residence and other government buildings. Around this square more than 650 buildings are under construction, including residential and public complexes.
The Palace of Peace and Concord is a unique pyramid built for centuries to come by the famous British architect Norman Foster in 2006. The pyramid is 62 meters high and was built on a 15 meter rise covering a total area of 25.5 thousand square meters. In its basement the pyramid houses an opera hall seating 1500 and in the upper part, the confessions hall. The building includes rooms for religious events, meetings of the Assembly of Kazakhstan’s Peoples, museums, and an exhibition hall.
The “Khan Shatyr” trade and entertainment center is located at the opposite end of the axis from the Palace of Peace and Concord. The complex is almost 200 meters high, making it the city’s highest building. Built to resemble a huge tent, its structure is made of a fine net covered with polymeric fluorine ETFE, a unique material which lets the light through and protects the inside from heat and cold. Inside, its 100 000 square meters are occupied by a vast city park, shops, movie theaters, cafes and a concert platform, where Astana residents can enjoy their free time regardless of the season or weather.
Bayterek – the Tree of Life in the center of Eurasia
Bayterek is the capital’s symbol and business card. Bayterek tower sits in the very middle of the capital’s new administrative center . Everything in this monument is symbolic: the golden sun on the top of the tree, its height of 97 meters, the internal architecture divided into three zones which represent the three fundamental universal principles. This “poplar” (in Kazakh – bayterek), made of metal, glass and concrete, is architecturally unique and grandiose in appearance. It is a metal structure of 105 meters tall, 1000 tons heavy, built on five hundred poles. It is the first time that a 22 meter diameter and 300 ton sphere of “chameleon” glass, which changes color with the sunlight, is suspended at such a record-breaking height. Dominating the new capital, it is an architectural symbol of renewal, the symbol of Astana, the symbol of Kazakhstan.
Aq-Orda is the residence of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan. It is located on the River Ishim’s left bank, three hundred meters from the Bayterek monument. The building covers an area of 36 720 square meters.
The official inauguration of the new Palace of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan took place on 24 December 2004. Next to the residence are the Parliament, the House of the Government, the Supreme Court and the House of Ministries of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Green and Water Boulevard
Along the main axis of Astana’s administrative center is a pedestrian bridge, better as the “Green and Water Boulevard”, brainchild of Kurokawa, the author of Astana’s general plan.
The Bridge is the one of the main features of the capital’s center. The architects’ plans connect it to all the surrounding buildings. Designed it on three levels, it rationalizes the use of urban space as costs increase with the city’s development. The lower level provides parking for 400 cars. The second level of this grandiose construction is a passage, a large gallery lined with exhibition halls, stores and offices. The third level is a pedestrian street with lawns and small trees, small architectural objects and fountains. This pedestrian bridge is notable for its six zones known as “the Green House”.
Transparent conical domes let the sunlight through the building from top to bottom. In these atriums, conveniently connected with stairs, there are artificial gardens, and on the second level the whole construction is joined to the surrounding buildings by roofed galleries.
Situated on the left bank of the River Ishim, the Astana Opera House is striking in its splendor. The building itself is 64,000 square metres. Of these, about 3,000 square metres is the stage area. The Astana Opera House impresses not only by its scale, but also by its architectural refinement. It is constructed on the basis of the best classical architectural traditions and entwined therein, are Kazakh national motifs.
The Main Hall of the theatre is designed for 1,250 people, and the Chamber Hall can accommodate 250 people. According to its technical capabilities, the Astana Opera is as good as many world theatres and sometimes surpasses them.
The world-famous artists performed on the stage of the Astana Opera: Elena Obraztsova, Valery Gergiev, Jose Carreras, Anna Netrebko, Marcelo Alvarez, Marco Boemi, Svetlana Zakharova, Vadim Repin, Denis Matsuev, Vladimir Spivakov, Ildar Abdrazakov, Olga Peretyatko and many others.
The Duman Entertainment Center
Located on the river’s left bank, the Duman entertainment center hosts a unique oceanarium, a small piece of the ocean in the vast steppe. It also houses a 3D movie theater, jungles, bowling alleys, a casino, a multi-functional hall, a hotel, cafes, shops and a children’s playground.
Duman is a popular place for adults and children. Visitors enjoy the watching the sharks being fed through the large glass panes of the aquarium.
“Думан” пользуется популярностью как у взрослых, так и у детей. Массу впечатлений у посетителей вызывает процедура кормления акул, которую можно наблюдать через стекла аквариума.
Unique Stadium Astana
A new stadium was built to mark the capital’s anniversary. It complies with all FIFA and UEFA requirements. The stadium covers an area of 232 485 square meters and seats 30 000 people. The stadium roof has two components, one mobile and one immobile, which function independently of each other so as to protect the stadium ground from Astana’s harsh climatic conditions.
Alau Ice palace
Alau is an ice palace of world rank, equipped with ultramodern facilities, allowing the creation of “fast ice”. Thanks to a unique architecture and location, “Alau” is rightly regarded as a sightseeing attraction and the sport gates of the capital.
The heart of the Palace is the ice arena, which consists of a 400 meter ice track with stands for 8000 spectators, two ice hockey courts, a jury room, a room for press conferences and eight changing rooms for athletes.
The Museum of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan
The museum is located in the former Residence of the Head of the State, N. Nazarbayev. Unique furniture and interiors have been kept intact. The museum’s collection contains gifts, books and paintings presented to the President. Currently, the museum holds more than 60 thousand objects, among which manuscripts and printed materials, movies, photos, personal belongings, documents and all the First President’s decorations. The museum’s treasure reflects the major steps in the development of sovereign Kazakhstan and sheds light on the President’s life and work.