Astana is the capital and second largest city (behind Almaty) of Kazakhstan. It is located in the north-central portion of Kazakhstan, within Akmola Province, although it is politically separate from the rest of the province, which has its own capital.
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Astana is the capital and second largest city (behind Almaty) of Kazakhstan, with an officially estimated population (1 Dec. 2007) of 600,200. It is located in the north-central portion of Kazakhstan, within Akmola Province, although it is politically separate from the rest of the province, which has its own capital. The word Astana in Kazakh language literally means Capital city.
A unit of Siberian cossacks from Omsk founded a huge fortress on the upper Ishim 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.
In 1961, it was renamed "Tselinograd" and made capital of the Soviet Virgin Lands Territory (Tselinny Krai). The city was at the centre of the Virgin Lands Campaign led by Nikita Khrushchev in the 1950s, in order to turn the state into a second grain producer for the Soviet Union. After Kazakhstan gained its independence in 1991, the city and the region were renamed "Aqmola". The name was often translated as "White Tombstone," but actually means "Holy Place" or 'Holy Shrine'. In 1994, the city was designated as the future capital of the newly-independent country, and again renamed to the present "Astana" after the capital was officially moved from Almaty in 1997. Despite the isolated location of the new capital in the centre of the Kazakh Steppe and the forbidding climate in winter, Kazakhstan simply needed a more central location than its former location of Almaty, which lies on the far southeastern border with Kyrgyzstan.
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. In 1999, Astana had a population of 281,000.
The city is located in central Kazakhstan on the Ishim River in a very flat, semi-desert steppe region which covers most of the country's territory. The elevation of Astana is at 347 meters above sea level. 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 were located south of the Ishim.
Climatically Astana is the second coldest capital in the world (behind Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia), with temperatures of -35 to -40 °C common in the late autumn. The new city is also known to regularly freeze for around six months every year. Overall however, Astana has a continental climate, with exceptionally cold winters and moderately hot summers, arid and semiarid.
Politics and government are the main economic activity in the capital, which also forms a Special Economic Zone. Since the move, Astana has seen one of the world's greatest building projects, as 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 not just make the town the centre of Kazakhstan, but of all Central Asia.
Astana can be divided largely into a few different areas. 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 Eurasian style. He has stated that a purely administrative capital such as Canberra is not one of his goals.
Places of interests
astana capital city kazakhstan
Today there are many construction works under way, such as embassy buildings, representative riversides along the Ishim River, and some infrastructure for transportation and communication. 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, discotheques. Worth a visit are the:
* Modern governmental quarter
* Ishim banks
* Astana Central National Mosque
* Islamic Center
* Roman Catholic Cathedral
* Market hall
* Bayterek Tower
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