Astana is a newly established forward-looking capital of Kazakhstan located in the heart of Eurasian continent. The city built in the boundless steppes of Central Asia represents a distinctive meeting point of diverse civilizations and cultures. Right at the threshold of a new millennium, a battlefield for numerous liberation movements, former Turkic trade center, then a fortress of Tsarist Russia named Akmola finally becomes a bright capital of a nascent democracy.
The symbol of the capital is a vase-shaped glass building with a big ball at the top. A story behind this architectural design includes various mythical characters like a sacred bird Samruk and a giant Dragon. Although without such a colorful background, there are many other peculiar structures around: a sports building shaped like a bike helmet, a national library, resembling a flying saucer, pyramid-shaped Palace of Peace and Reconciliation. This modernity is watered down by the elements of nomadic lifestyle, exhibited through a tent-structured entertaining center, restaurants of traditional cuisine and dainty masterpieces of topiary with national Kazakh ornaments. They also shine on the walls of the biggest mosque of Central Asia, Hazrat-Sultan mosque.
Fusing into the futuristic atmosphere of the left river bank, one should not forget about neat, modest right bank and its vivacious lifestyle. There are plenty of museums, old small houses adorned by Kazakh and Russian merchants in 19th century, green shady parks and monuments commemorating the most remarkable figures in the Kazakh history. Crowded bazaars, charming cafes, cozy banyas and laconic hotels open one’s eyes on a multicultural climate of the country, while affordable prices of transport and services reflect nomadic hospitality and neighbourliness. They come together with a gentle summer wind of the limitless green steppes, whispering that something glorious and exciting is about to happen.