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residence, this Museum is devoted to Nazarbayev and showcases a wide selection of gifts, paintings, photos and historical documents.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.    

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