The idea of creating a new capital of Kazakhstan belongs to head of state Nursultan Nazarbayev.
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.
Decree on renaming the city of Astana – the capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the city of Nur-Sultan – the capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan
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.
High growth rates of the city’s economy attract numerous investors.
The share of Astana in the republican volume of attracted investments amounts to 10%, the share of the city’s GRP in the economy of the republic is 10.2%.
Industrial production, transport, communications, trade and construction make the basis of the metropolitan economy. Industrial production is mainly focused on the production of building materials, food and beverages and mechanical engineering.
Astana occupies a leading position in Kazakhstan in the production of building metal products, ready-for-use concrete, and concrete building products.
Such facilities as the Tselinograd car-repair plant, Tsesna-Astyk concern, Tulpar-Talgo LLP passenger car assembly plant, Eurocopter Kazakhstan Engineering LLP helicopter assembly plant and others can be distinguished among the largest enterprises of the city.
The city has become one of the largest business centers in Kazakhstan. The entrepreneurial culture is dynamically developing, i.e. more than 128 thousand small and medium-sized businesses operate in Astana.
The average monthly nominal wage of residents of the capital is about 154 thousand KZT. The capital is the leader in construction in the country. After Astana gained metropolitan status, 10 million square meters of housing was built in the city. Hundreds of domestic and foreign construction companies took part in the construction of Astana.
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.
The flagships of national education include Nazarbayev University, L.N. Gumilev Eurasian National University, Kazakh National University of Arts, S.Seifullin Kazakh Agrotechnical University, Kazakhstan branch of Moscow State University named after M.V. Lomonosov, Astana Medical University and others.
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 10thanniversary 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.”