Architect-buffs will love Astana while more political minds might wonder why the gas-money is spent on glitter and not utilities for the population.
15.04.2013 - 17.04.2013
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Kazakhstan’s only strongman (think Putin times 10), President Nazarbaev, decided in 1994 to move the country’s capital from Almaty to a new location: Astana (which fittingly means ‘capital’ in Kazakh) are being built from scratch. The hugely ambitious project, lead by some of the World’s most famed architects, is scheduled to be finished in 2030. So far have more than 12 billion US$ been poured into the city. The end result: a city resembling the 21st century more than any other. If aliens were to decide where to land, by just looking at our planet’s cities, Astana would without a doubt be their chosen spot.
Welcome to Spaceport Astana.
Nurzhol Bulvar is currently on the southern edge of the city. By 2030 this governmental and administrative zone will be the city’s center.
Just west of Nurzhol is this brand new, 150-meter high, tent-like structure. Build by transparent and heat-absorbing material the temperature is constantly just around 27 degrees. Includes a mall, a botanical garden, minigolf, a concert hall and a large aquapark at the top.
The Bayterek Monument is a 97-meter high lookout tower.
At the top of Bayterek you can place your palm in a print of President Nazarbaev’s while gazing out at his palace.
Ak Orda, or the President’s Palace at the eastern end of Nurzhol Bulvar. Resembles the old palace in soon-to-be northern Astana, this one is just a lot bigger.
The pyramid just across the river from the president’s home to the east, or Palace of Peace & Accord includes a 1300-seat opera hall, a space-like atrium for congresses and, at the top, the most awesome placed round table in the world.
Conference table in the Palace of Peace & Accord, placed on top of a botanic garden, with a view of the city and white doves on the windows.
Further east from the Palace of Peace & Accord stands the pillar of Kazak Yeli (Kazakh Country) 91 meters into the air. It got a 5 meter tall bronze statue of Nazarbaev at its bottom. Behind it is Shabyt (left), an art university, and the Palace of Independence (right) which a museum, a gallery and the country’s largest conference space.
The Sultan Mosque is the second biggest in the country, and contains at the lower level a bath house, a restaurant and a (religious) souvenir shop.
Much more to come! Inside the Palace of Independence is a full model of Astana 2030. It includes among other projects; a mini-Venice residence complex complete with channels; Batygai, a self-contained indoor town of 10.000 with schools, hospital, etc; Abu Dhabi Plaze, a cluster of towers reaching 372 meters; and instead of a metro an air-train network where the stations and tracks are lifted above the streets of the city.
So welcome to Spaceport Astana, where the UFO’s have already landed… Or is it just the city’s circus building?