Kazakhstan may be best known for its nomadic origins, but its new capital city, Astana, is making waves with a surreal horizon. When the government moved the capital to this small city on the northern steppe in 1997, it was essentially a small outpost. But today, the sky here sparkles with translucent glass and golden wavy glass.
The city has invited star architects like Norman Foster and Kisho Kurokawa to recreate the look of Astana, turning the city into an urban landscape that makes you feel a bit like you’ve been ahead of time.
Getting a glimpse of Astana’s zany and beautiful architecture is as easy as walking away from your hotel (or maybe looking at it, depending on where you are staying). Better yet, rent a car or drive to get a great tour of the city’s buildings. Here are some of our favorites.
This giant circus structure is truly a giant shopping mall and entertainment center. Designed by renowned British architect Norman Foster, Khan Shatyr’s tufted canvas roof keeps internal temperatures at 25-30 ° C year round, providing a pleasant setting for enjoying a man-made beach, with sand imported from Maldives.
Golden Towers (also known as Beer Cans)
Two giant golden glass towers sit at the entrance to the Presidential Palace (Orynbor St) in surreal glory. For reasons that aren’t entirely unclear, locals have named this gold pair ‘beer cans’, which may undermine some of the brilliance they gained as they were built shortly after. Astana took the throne in 1998.
Local legend holds that Kazakhstan’s president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, sketched the idea for the Bayterek tower on a cocktail napkin. Whether this is true or not, the tower is undoubtedly covered in legend: it is meant to represent a mythical egg in a mythical tree. The tower has become the symbol of Astana and a sight to behold – and indeed, it can be seen from almost anywhere you go in Astana.
The Palace of Peace and Reconciliation
This 77-meter-high pyramid is another Norman Foster structure, designed to hold the Governing Congress of world religions and tradition every three years. The chamber is a circular space based on the design of the United Nations Security Council meeting room in New York. Looking a bit on a particularly open and flat patch of Astana’s skyline, the pyramid is a surprising seam in the sky.
Shabyt (also known as Dog Bowl)
This huge concave glass structure houses all of the Astana ‘Palace of the Arts’, including an art school, lecture halls and galleries, performance space and library. Shabyt’s form has led some to call it the ‘Bat Dog’.
The Metropolitan Circus
If the aliens had been walking between us, they would have already departed their spaceship in Astana. The Circus Metropolitan (Kabanbay Batyr 5) is housed in this giant disc, giving the impression that a giant UFO simply falls in the middle of the city and stays on forever.
Hazrat Sultan Mosque
The largest mosque in Kazakhstan, the Sultan Hazrat Mosque (Tauelsizdik) regularly sees up to 10,000 followers. Its towering white turret is visible from many areas of Astana, and the rooms inside are tiled with marble and the splendid tiled dome is well worth seeing inside.
Kazakhstan Central Concert Hall
Designed by Italian studio Nicoletti Associati, Kazakhstan’s Central Concert Hall is shaped like petals with layers of roses. Inside, three different concert halls host many of the country’s largest classical dance and music performances throughout the year.
Meet Gino Pop, who has been Astana for many times to hear his share in this city: “Hi, My name is Gino Pop and I am originally from Sibiu, Romania, a small medieval town in the historical region of Transylvania I have been vlogging on and off for about a year and a half now.I have been doing Insta stories quite often and after a while, I kind of wanted a little higher quality videos that I would look back upon, thus I decided while I was in Peru to start with some videos on my little point and shoot Canon G7x, which I still have to this day.When I am not vlogging, my schedule depends a lot on where I am. I trade stocks almost on a daily basis now, but have some other ventures in real estate, photo, video and a few other things.”
“I would definitely say that’s one of the safest countries in the region, and not have any worries, as many people a lot of times associate any country that ends in” stan “as unsafe” – Gino shared with us. “Astana is an eclectic city, something that few would expect in central asia. I’ve been there multiple times, and it’s definitely worth a visit for its glam.” – He added. Right now let’s take a look at some Gino’s footage to know more about this city
For more info, you can reach out to Gino via his YouTube channel Gino Pop. Subscribe and give him a thumb ups after watching if you like it, stay tuned for more adventurous videos. And don’t forget to share your trips with us via email@example.com, or our Facebook / Twitter.