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Astana

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Landsat_astana.jpg
Composite NASA landsat photo of Astana

Astana (Kazakh, Russian: Астана), estimated population of 520,000 (2000 and growing fast), has been the capital of Kazakhstan since 1998. The name "Astana" means "Capital city" and was chosen because it is easily pronounced in many languages (pronounced "Astan" and not "Astna").

Contents

Geography

The city is located in central Kazakhstan on the Ishim River in a very flat, semi-desert steppe region which covers most of the country's territory. Astana is located at 51°10' North, 71°30' East (51.1667, 71.5). [1] (http://earth-info.nga.mil/gns/html/cntry_files.html)

Economy

Politics and government are Astana's main economic activity. Astana forms a Special Economic Zone.

History

A unit of Siberian cossacks from Omsk founded a fortress on the upper Ishim in 1824, which later became the town of Akmolinsk. In 1961, it was renamed Tselinograd and made capital of the Soviet Virgin Lands Territory (Tselinny Kray). The city was at the centre of the Virgin Lands Campaign.

After Kazakhstan gained its independence, the city and the region were renamed Aqmola ("White Tombstone", 1991). In 1994, it was designated as the future capital of the newly-independent country and again renamed after the capital was moved from Almaty in 1997.

Reasons for the switch of capitals vary, particularly given the isolated location of the new capital in the centre of the Kazakh Steppe. Some suggest that it was a move to impose more control over the Russian-dominated north of the country - and to prevent secession to Russia. Others say that the new city project is a strategic move to position the capital further from national boundaries - as Almaty is located 60km away from the most populous nation on earth (China). There is also a range of symbolic meanings for the new capital - ranging from the Ankara-style symbol of Kazakhstan's new statehood to an Ataturk-like legacy of a nation's founder (President Nazarbayev).

Since the move it has seen one of the world's greatest building projects as oil money has been spent on ministerial buildings, a massive home for the president, and numerous parks and monuments. The project, engineered by President Nursultan Nazarbayev is designed not just to make the town the centre of Kazakhstan, but of all Central Asia. The architectural quality of the new buildings is, by the standards of almost all critics, quite low - ethno-postmodernism in an Albert Speer pattern dominates.

Sightseeing

Today there are many construction works under way, such as embassy buildings, representative riversides along Ishim River, infrastructure for transportation and communication etc.. Worth a visit are:

  • the modern governmental quarter
  • the Ishim banks
  • the "Oceanarium"
  • the Islamic center
  • the Roman Catholic cathedral
  • the market hall
  • the Kazakhstan History Museumbg:Астана

cs:Astana da:Astana de:Astana et:Astana eo:Astano fa:آستانه (قزاقستان) fr:Astana kk:Астана nl:Astana ja:アスタナ pl:Astana pt:Astana ru:Астана sk:Astana fi:Astana sv:Astana

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