Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Scenes of Almaty

Alas, images of Almaty! Enjoy!

The Kazakh-British Technical University

Panfilov Park

Panfilov Park Monument

Zenkov Cathedral

Altan Adam!!!

Downtown Almaty

The Central State Museum

View of Almaty from Koke Tobe

The symbol of Almaty -- the apple!

Nazarbayev's hand at the Altan Adam monument!

Almaty Ballet and Opera Theatre

A park and children's theatre near my house.

The Nur-Otan Party headquarters in Almaty.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Scenes of Old Astana

In this post, I am posting pictures of "Old Astana" to illustrate the striking contrast between "New Astana" on the left bank, and the Soviet-era portion of the city on the right bank of the Ishim River. The difference between the left and right bank illustrates the amazing development potential of Kazakhstan.

I will next post pictures of Almaty.


The Astana train station.

"Kazakhstan Temir Zholy" is the national railway company of Kazakhstan.

The Astana Opera house in the old bank.

A street in the old bank.

A statue in the old bank built during the Soviet Union. The figure's confident stance, the star on the pedestal, and the helmet at her feet, reflect the Soviet values of defending the great empire and victory in the Great Patriotic War (World War II).

A Soviet-era building in the old bank. 

A view of the right bank in Astana.

A government building on the right bank.

The President's Museum is absolutely spectacular. Like in most museums, I was unable to take photos, but I highly recommend you visit the museum for yourself! Housed in the former Presidential residence, this Museum is devoted to Nazarbayev and showcases a wide selection of gifts, paintings, photos and historical documents. On display are lavish gifts from heads of states, companies and countries. For example, Bill Clinton gave a set of golfballs to Nazarbayev. There are also gifts from Henry Kissinger, Hillary Clinton, Donald Rumsfeld, Gazprom and different NGOs like the East-West Center. It is just as fascinating to see what each person gave as a gift as it is to see the gift itself. For example, some organizations gave high-quality, antique weapons. I spent nearly all morning in this museum and could easily spend another day admiring all of its gems.

A view of a statue and Congress Hall, also known as Tsellinikov Palace, in the right bank.  Congress Hall was constructed in 1963 as Tsellinikov Palace, translates from Russian "as worker in the Virgin Lands," to serve as a facility for large gatherings of workers and a central venue to administer the Virgin Lands Campaign. Today, the building is an expedition center that regularly hosts trade shows and cultural events.    

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Scenes of New Astana

Almaty was the capital of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1997, President Nursultan Nazarbayev moved the Republic of Kazakhstan's capital to Astana. Almaty remains the largest city with a population of 1.2 million and is the financial and cultural center of Kazakhstan. Almaty simply has a different energy from Astana, with its rich history, southern location and geographical proximity to China and Kyrgyzstan. As a more northern and new city, Astana has a population of 800,000 and is rapidly developing. By 2030, the capital's population will swell to approximately 1.3 million. To see my full commentary on Astana, please read the piece I wrote on Central Asian Newswire titled, "Can Astana Develop in a Post-Nazarbayev Era?"

In this post, I am attaching images of new Astana. In later posts, I will post images from the old part of the city as well as from Almaty to illustrate the differences between the two cities. Enjoy and please feel free to comment!

Offices in downtown Astana.

More offices in downtown Astana. This new building is supposed to resemble the pages of a book opening.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Ministry of Defence

A view of the new downtown Astana.

The National Archives.

The arched building is the KazMunaiGas Headquarters. Behind it stands the Khan Shatyr.

The Khan Shatyr.

The Khan Shatyr's interior.

Another view of downtown Astana. The building on the left is the Department of Transportation.

The Nur-Astana Mosque is the largest in Kazakhstan and towers 40 meters high. The Mosque, constructed in a traditional Islamic architectural style, stands out from Astana's many modern, International-style skyscrapers. There is also a madrassa adjacent to the mosque.

A view of the Ak Orda and Millenium Avenue standing at Baiterek.

The spatial organization of government buildings reflects an interesting configuration of political power.  The Ak Orda lies on the same central line (Millenium Avenue) as Baiterek, the Khan Shatyr, KazMunaiGas Headquarters and the Palace of Peace and Concord. In front of the Ak Orda is a public square and gardens. To the left of the Ak Orda is the Supreme Court and Senate building and to the right is the Astana State Auditorium and the Mazhilis. 

The Mazhilis (House of Representatives) building.

The Senate building.

The Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The Ak Orda is the Presidential Residence. It is simply awesome.

Astana State Auditorium, designed by Italian Architects Manfredi and Luca Nicoletti.

The Palace (Pyramid) of Peace and Concord.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Images from Arbat

Arbat is a district in Moscow where artists gather to show their work. Almaty also has its very own Arbat, which was conveniently located on my walking route home from school. It was always so exciting to see local, creative energy and artistic expression. In the late afternoons and evenings, solo performers and bands performed here in a causal manner no different than artists on the streets of New York. Immersed in Kazakh culture, I gained a greater appreciation of local artists' perspective and enjoyed viewing their work in their native environment.

In this post, I have included images from Arbat. Enjoy!

Local artists lined their canvases along Arbat in the hopes of making a sale.