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.