Astana, the capital city of the Central Asian country of Kazakhstan is a modern metropolis like no other. Named the Kazakh capital in 1998, the city is the brainchild of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who became the countries president after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. The cities plans were designed by Japanese architect Kisho Kurukawa and many of the most iconic buildings such as the pyramid shaped Palace of Peace and Reconciliation were designed by British architect, Norman Foster.
There isn’t a city on earth quite like Astana, with its futuristic skyline from the Bayterek Tower, which resembles a tall bird’s nest with a Golden egg- a reference to Kazakh folklore- to the two golden towers that flank the Ak Orda Presidential Palace and the Khan Shatyr, the world’s largest tent structure.
Everywhere you walk you will see impressive buildings that look like they belong in a sci-fi movie from another planet. The Expo 2017 Centre, resembles that of a planet and has earnt the nickname ‘The Death Star’, after the Star Wars space station.
The city is a modern architectural marvel and has cost approximately $40 billion to build over the last two decades, with the hope of attracting tourism to this unique country and to provide a functional and modern city for the 1 million people who reside there.
In the year 2000, Kazakhstan, which is the 9th largest country in the world by landmass, was attracting 1.4 million tourists per year, fast forward to 2014 (where the last official tourisms numbers were released) and the country was receiving 4.5 million.
These figures, have helped the tourism industry grow steadily but for such a truly magnificent country, that has come such a long way since 1991, Kazakhstan truly deserves far more tourists per year. The issue is that many people around the world, know little about Kazakhstan, or for that matter might not have even heard of the country. For those of you that love travelling to somewhere completely unique and off the beaten-trail, Kazakhstan will exceed all your expectations and give you an experience of a life-time.
If visiting the country, Astana and Almaty (the former capital city in the south of the country) are the two largest cities and both will leave you awe-struck with the skylines, the modern and vast museums and the myriad of mosques, churches and impressive buildings.
For those of you wanting to learn more about this country, the best places to visit and places to stay contact me via the contact page.