The Buildings Of Astana

The president had a vision for Astana in the same way that Australia had for Canberra, and Brazil for Brasilia – one of the smaller things he wanted after noticing that most capital cities have a river right in the middle, such as Paris on the Seine, and London on the Thames – Astana has a river too, the Ishym river. The right bank of Astana is the old city and the left bank Nazarbayev’s vision for the city. The result is Astana, which is an amazingly beautiful and expensive capital city and it reflects the multi-ethnicity of Kazakhstan. If any visitor was blind folded bought to Astana and asked where they are, they might answer fairy land, because the skyline is full of so many exotically shaped buildings consistency is nowhere and unorthodoxy seems to be the rule-and the chief designer of the city – president Nazarbayev himself. Looking around, out of car windows, the architectural space was amazing. I could see a matching pair of towers, what locals call “the golden ice-cream cones”, a national archives building in the shape of a grey-green egg, and a mustard-colored international business center. A bronze glass multi-story building with a hinge top known as the “cigarette lighter” and a UFO style spaceship often hosts circuses, an Arabian mosque, and a ministerial office with gold paned windows. Not to mention the rest of the skyline is jumbled together with onion domes, Chinese pagodas, Tuscan villas and Korean super-markets.

Although I visited in summer, I was told in winter – the temperature drops to – 30, but the president planted around the city a wall of trees to lessen the howling winds blowing from the steppe.

I was given a tour of Al Akorda, the presidential palace, which is a direct replica of America’s white house the main different being a bright blue dome and needle spire on its top– security was at a maximum, and very controlled. I had to pass through many check points. I accompanied my father to various meetings with various government officials in Al Akorda. But moving upstairs to look out of the
president’s house, across Astana it was amazing to experience such a view looking across the city right in front of me, was the Baiterek a 97 – meter tower sprouting from the heart of the central boulevard, originally it was sketched out by the president’s own hand , it is a modernistic representation of the tree of life, baiterek whose apex stands a glass sphere and a gold ball portraying the Kazakh national myth of a golden egg laid by the legendary bird the Samruk. On the other side, although I couldn’t see it, is the famous Palace of peace pyramid designed by Norman foster.

V Aitken

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