Astana is the capital city of Kazakhstan, straddling the Ishimm River in the north of the country. Along the left bank, the ultramodern, 97m-tall Bayterek tower offers panoramic views from its observation deck. The Ak Orda Presidential Palace is topped with a massive blue-and-gold dome. The giant, Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center houses a shopping mall and indoor beach resort with high infrastructure.


Founded in 1830 as a settlement of Akmoly (KAZAKH: Ақмолы) or Akmolinsky prikaz (RUSSIAN: Акмолинский приказ), it served as a defensive for the SIBERIAN. In 1832 the settlement was granted a town status and renamed Akmolinsk (: Акмолинск). On March 20, 1961 the city was renamed Tselinograd (RUSSIAN: Целиноград) to mark the city's evolution as a cultural and administrative center of the VIRGIN LAND COMPAIGN. In 1992 it was renamed Akmola (: Ақмола), the modified original name meaning "a white grave". On December 10, 1997 Akmola replaced ALMATY as the capital of Kazakhstan. On May 6, 1998 it was renamed ASTANA, which means "the capital city" in Kazakh.

Modern Astana is a PLANNED, like in BRASILA Brazil, CANBERRA in Australia, and WASHINTON DC. in the United States. After Astana became the capital of Kazakhstan, the city cardinally changed its shape. The master plan of Astana was designed by Japanese architect As the seat of the government of kazakhstan, Astana is the site of the parliament house, the supreme court the ak oorda and numerous government departments and agencies. It is home to many BEAUTIFUL and FUTURISTIC buildings, Hotels and skyscrapper. Astana also has extensive healthcare, sports and education systems.

WEATHER: 8°C, Wind SW at 18 km/h, 64% Humidity

LOCAL TIME: Tuesday 9:13 AM

POPULATION: 639,311 (2009)