About Astana

Modern Astana

The decision to transfer the capital from Almaty to Akmola was made by the Supreme Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan on July 6, 1994. The official transfer of the capital took place on December 10, 1997. On May 6, 1998, Akmola was renamed to Astana by presidential decree. The international presentation of the new capital was held on June 10, 1998. In 1999 Astana, by the UNESCO decision, received the title of “City of the World.” Since 2000, the main city of Kazakhstan is a member of the International Assembly of Capitals and Major Cities.


Currently, the territory of Astana exceeds 722 square kilometers, the population is more than one million people. The city consists of three districts – Almaty, Saryarka and Yessil. 

Astana is located in the center of Kazakhstan in the dry steppe zone, a subzone of dry fescue-feather-grass steppes. The territory of the city represents low upland fringes. The Yessil River is the main waterway of the capital. 

The climate is sharply continental with cold and long winters and hot, moderately arid summers. The convenient location in the center of the Eurasian continent makes Astana an economically advantageous transport, communication and logistics center, a kind of transit bridge between Europe and Asia.


The main symbol of the new capital, its unique “calling card” was the Baiterek complex. Other unique architectural structures include the Palace of Peace and Accord, designed by famous British architect Norman Foster and made in the shape of a pyramid; Khan Shatyr shopping and entertainment center – the tallest tent-shaped building in the world; Duman - an aquarium that is most remote from the sea aquarium; the Astana Opera and the Astana Ballet Theaters, Hazret Sultan – the largest mosque in Central Asia; Cathedral in honor of the Dormition of the Mother of God; Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Archdiocese of the Blessed Virgin Mary; the Beit Rachel Chabad Lubavitch synagogue; Kazakhstan Central Concert Hall; Kazakh Yeli monument; Museum of Contemporary Art and the Presidential Cultural Center. 

In 2016, construction of the highest in Kazakhstan and Central Asia, the 88-storey skyscraper Abu Dhabi Plaza was planned. Astana-Arena roofed stadium for 30 thousand viewers, the unique Sary-Arka cycle track for 10 thousand seats, recognized the best in the world in 2011 are among the new sports facilities in Astana. Another important sports facility is the Alau Ice Palace, which meets the highest international standards.

Global impact

Congresses of leaders of world and traditional religions, the Astana Economic Forum and other important international events are held in the capital on a regular basis. The historic OSCE summit was held in Astana, the jubilee summits of the SCO and the OIC were held. In early 2011, the capital of the republic hosted the participants and guests of the VII Asian Winter Games. 

In 2017, Astana will host the EXPO-2017 international exhibition. In a short time, the new capital, born of the will of the First President of Kazakhstan, gained the status of a nationwide idea, became a symbol of independence and global success of the young state. In his program speech dedicated to the 10th anniversary of Astana, Nursultan Nazarbayev very vividly and figuratively defined the philosophy of development of the new capital city, “Here, in the ancient land of Sary-Arka, is not only the birthplace of the capital was born. 

This is the cradle of the country’s future. The history of Astana and the fate of Kazakhstanis are inseparable. The capital is the embodiment of power, dynamic development and stability of our republic.

Astana has become a bright, strong, prosperous, uniting all Kazakhstanis and a rushing city. Our capital is the heart of our Motherland, a symbol of people’s faith in their own strength and great destiny. Today in Astana, as well as throughout Kazakhstan, representatives of more than one hundred nationalities reside. Friendship of peoples, mutual understanding and solidarity are the basis on which Astana and new Kazakhstan are built.”