Astana became the capital in 1997 when then-president Nursultan Nazarbayev decided to move the capital from Almaty to the north of the country. Since then, Astana began developing at astonishing speed. The new capital has even been included in the Guinness Book of Records for the scale of construction. Since 1997, the city's population has quadrupled. As of 2022, some 1,200,000 people live in Astana, making it the country's second largest city after Almaty.
In 1999, by the decision of UNESCO, Astana was named the «City of Peace» as it houses temples of all major religions and hosts the International Congress of World Religions annually.
Over the past 150 years, the city has been renamed six times. It was called Akmola, Akmolinsk, Tselinograd, Akmola again, Astana, Nur-Sultan (in honor of Nursultan Nazarbayev, the first President of Kazakhstan), and finally Astana again.
The best time to visit Astana is late spring, summer, or early fall. Winters here are extremely cold with temperatures often dropping to -30oC (-22oF) or less. The city is also notorious for strong winds. Keep that in mind and bring some warm clothes otherwise, your trip will not be as pleasant as it could be.
Why is Astana worth visiting?
The city is primarily known for its unusual architecture. The most eye-catching buildings are Khan Shatyr (the first lifestyle center in Astana), the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, and the Nur Alem Museum of Future Energy. The first two were designed by world-famous architect Sir Norman Foster. In August 2022, the largest mosque in Central Asia and one of the largest mosques in the world opened its doors to worshippers. Moreover, the city center contains the Baiterek Monument which is considered to be the symbol of Astana.
The city stands on the Ishim River, which divides it into two parts. The left bank is home to all those futuristic buildings that Astana is famous for. If you want to see some of the most eye-catching architecture you've ever seen, head straight to the left bank. The right bank still has that special vibe of the old Soviet city, and it is undoubtedly worth a visit too. Some say that the right bank is cozier. It is probably true as it contains the city's best parks, embankments, and promenades.
Useful information about Astana
Everything you need to know before traveling to Astana
A Guide to Must-See Attractions in Astana
Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan, boasts a stunning array ...
Astana’s main pedestrian street is home to the city’s most notab...
A grandiose neoclassical building that holds ballet and opera pe...
Khan Shatyr Shopping and Entertainment Center
Its innovative design, impressive size, and wide range of attrac...
This monument is a remarkable achievement of modern architecture...
Akorda Presidential Palace
The building serves as the workplace of the president and accomm...
Independence Square and the Kazakh Eli Monument
Astana’s largest square, it’s surrounded by some of the city’s m...
Nur Alem Museum of Future Energy
The biggest sphere-shaped structure in the world houses a unique...
Astana Grand Mosque
Being one of the biggest mosques in the world, this architectura...
Идеальный вариант для первого знакомства со столицей Казахстана! Город во всех проявлениях менее чем за 3 часа: от административного сердца страны до экономического, молодежного и событийного хаба
Butakov Waterfalls can be found in the Ile Alatau Mountains near Almaty. The breathtaking scenery, pristine air, and refreshing coolness have been drawing tourists to this location for quite some time.
Trekking to the Gorelnik Gorge is a highly favored adventure for tourists and trekking enthusiasts alike. The gorge boasts stunning scenery with abundant trees, mushrooms, and berries. If lucky, one might even encounter the wild inhabitants of the area, including mountain deer.
Kim-Asar Gorge is very popular among Almaty townspeople. The main reason is that it can be easily reached by bus or by car, and a slight steep ascent allows even unprepared tourists to pass it. In addition, the route is available for walking almost any time of year.
A regular pyramid of the Big Almaty Peak having height of 3681 meters above sea level seems very high and difficult, but this is false impression. Climbing to the top of the peak does not require special mountaineering skills...
Situated at an altitude of 3600 meters above sea level, this frigid and desolate lake boasts a depth of 30 meters. The lake is encompassed by stunning mountain peaks, creating an exceptionally beautiful panorama from all directions.
Embark on a trek to the Bogdanovich Glacier, the closest glacier to the city of Almaty. Enjoy a magnificent view of the surrounding peaks from the glacier's observation point.
Embark on a trek to Alma-Arasan Gorge (Prohodnoye Gorge), one of the most easily accessible and picturesque places near Almaty. The trail follows the river, involving several crossings over wooden and iron bridges.
An easy circular trekking route leading to Boukreev Peak in the Ile Alatau Mountains. Spanning 17 kilometers and designed for a one-day adventure, this trail begins at the Almatau tourist base in the Kotyrbulak gorge.