|City of Astana
From top to bottom, left to right: Nur Zhol Boulevard; KazMunayGas Headquarters; Ishim River; L.N.Gumilyov Eurasian National University; Triumph of Astana
|Established||1830 as Akmolinsk|
|Renamed||1961 as Tselinograd|
|Renamed||1992 as Akmola|
|Renamed||1998 as Astana|
|• Akim||Adilbek Zhaksybekov|
|• Total||722 km2 (279 sq mi)|
|Elevation||347 m (1,138 ft)|
|Population (4 September 2014)|
|• Density||1,081.5/km2 (2,801/sq mi)|
|Time zone||BTT (UTC+6)|
|Area code(s)||+7 7172|
|License plate||01, Z|
Astana (//, US //; Kazakh: Астана) is the capital city of Kazakhstan. It is located on the Ishim River in the north portion of Kazakhstan, within Akmola Province, though administrated separately from the province as a federal city area. The 2014 census reported a population of 835,153 within the city, making it the second-largest city in Kazakhstan.
Founded in 1830 as Akmolinsk (Russian: Акмолинск) and renamed as Tselinograd (Russian: Целиноград) in 1961, the city has evolved into a cultural and administrative centre of Virgin Lands Campaign. In 1992, it was renamed as Akmola (Kazakh: Ақмола), the original name meaning "white holy place" or "white abundance". On 10 December 1997, Akmola became the capital of Kazakhstan. On 6 May 1998, it received the name of Astana, which means "the capital" in Kazakh. Since becoming the capital, Astana has undergone tremendous growth. It is home to many futuristic buildings, hotels and skyscrapers. In addition to serving as government headquarters, Astana is center for industry, sports, healthcare and education.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Economy
- 5 Cityscape
- 6 Sports
- 7 Education
- 8 Public transportation
- 9 Notable people
- 10 Twin towns and sister cities
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 External links
The word Astana in Kazakh literally means Capital. It originates from Persian root -stan ("place of", "land"), that can be also found in the name of the country. This root in turn originates from Proto-Indo-European root *stā- ("to stand"). On the other hand, Ақмола means white cemetery, due to the cold winters found in Astana. (Ақ = white, мола = cemetery)
In June 2008, a parliamentary proposal was put forward to change the city's name to "Nursultan", in honor of President Nursultan Nazarbayev. The idea was rejected by Nazarbayev himself, who said the decision of renaming the city will be for future generations. Despite this, some commentators think that the generic name Astana was deliberately chosen so that it would be renamed in honour of Nazarbayev after his death.
Russian and Soviet eras
A unit of Siberian Cossacks from Omsk founded a huge fortress on the upper Ishim River in 1824, which later became the town of "Akmolinsk". During the early 20th century, the town became a major railway junction, causing a major economic boom that lasted until the Russian Civil War.
In the Stalinist era, Kazakhstan hosted a series of gulag-like labour camps; in total, 11 camps that housed up to hundreds of thousands of internees and their families. Outside Astana, there once stood the ALZHIR camp, a Russian acronym for the Akmolinskii Camp for Wives of Traitors of the Motherland, one of the most notorious in the gulag archipelago, which was reserved for the spouses of those considered "enemies of the people" by the government under Joseph Stalin.
In 1961, it was renamed "Tselinograd" ("Virgin Lands City") and made capital of the Soviet Virgin Lands Territory (Tselinny Krai). The city was at the centre of the Virgin Lands Campaign led by Nikita Khrushchev in the 1950s, in order to turn the state into a second grain producer for the Soviet Union. The high portion of Russian immigrants in this area, which later led to ethnic tension, can be traced to the influx of agricultural workers at this time. Additionally, many Russian-Germans were resettled here after being deported under Joseph Stalin at the beginning of World War II, when Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union.
After Kazakhstan became independent in 1991, the city and the region were renamed Akmola, literally meaning "White Temple".
In 1995, the city was designated as the future capital of the newly independent country, and the capital was officially moved from Almaty on 10 December 1997. The new name, Astana, was bestowed in 1998.
Government officials cited several problems with retaining the capital in Almaty, such as the city's risk of seismic activity, insufficient room for expansion, and proximity to international borders. Additionally, parts of northern Kazakhstan are populated primarily by ethnic Russians, which raised fears of possible irredentist activity. With Almaty positioned 300 km (186 mi) from the Chinese border, moving the capital to this area may possibly have been an attempt to anchor it more closely with the rest of the country.
To some Kazakhs, the move remains controversial with critics citing the new capital's isolated location in the center of the Kazakh steppe and the forbidding climate in winter. Financially, some resent the massive expenditure of public funds to build the new government complexes, as well as the continuing cost of airfare and hotel expenses for the many government workers who still live in Almaty.
Astana is located in central Kazakhstan on the Ishim River in a very flat, semi-arid steppe region which covers most of the country's territory. The elevation of Astana is 347 m (1,138 ft) above sea level. Astana is in a spacious steppe landscape, in the transitional area between the north of Kazakhstan and the extremely thinly settled national center, because of the river Ishim. The older boroughs lie north of the river, whilst the new boroughs are located south of the Ishim.
Astana is the second coldest capital city in the world after Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, a position formerly held by Canada's capital, Ottawa, until Astana attained capital city status in 1998. Astana has an extreme continental climate with warm summers (featuring occasional brief rain showers) and long, very cold, dry winters. Summer temperatures occasionally reach 35 °C (95 °F) while −30 to −35 °C (−22 to −31 °F) is not unusual between mid-December and early March. The city also holds the record for the lowest air temperature ever recorded in Kazakhstan (-51 °C). Typically, the city's river freezes over between the second week of November and the beginning of April. Astana has a well deserved reputation among Kazakhstanis for its frequent high winds, the effects of which are felt particularly strongly on the fast-developing but relatively exposed Left Bank area of the city.
Overall, Astana has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb), bordering on a semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSk). The average annual temperature in Astana is 3.5 °C (38.3 °F). January is the coldest month with an average temperature of −14.2 °C (6 °F). July is the hottest month with an average temperature of 20.8 °C (69 °F).
|Climate data for Astana|
|Record high °C (°F)||3.4
|Average high °C (°F)||−9.9
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−14.2
|Average low °C (°F)||−18.3
|Record low °C (°F)||−51.6
|Precipitation mm (inches)||16
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)||5.3||4.3||3.2||4.7||6.3||6.1||6.6||5.6||4.4||7.3||6.0||5.3||65.1|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||102.3||146.9||192.2||237.0||300.7||336.0||334.8||294.5||231.0||136.4||99.0||93.0||2,503.8|
|Source #1: Pogoda.ru.net|
|Source #2: Hong Kong Observatory (sun and precipitation days)|
|Climate chart (explanation)|
As of 1 July 2010, Astana has a population density of 958 people per km2 and a population of about 814,897, of which Kazakhs, Russians, Ukrainians, Tatars and Germans make up 65.2%, 23.8%, 2.9%, 1.7%, 1.5% respectively. Other ethnic groups make up 4.9% of Astana's population.
By 2007, Astana's population has more than doubled since becoming the capital, to over 600,000, and it is estimated to top 1 million by 2030. Migrant workers – legal and illegal – have been attracted from across Kazakhstan and neighboring states such as Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, and Astana is a magnet for young professionals seeking to build a career. This has changed the city's demographics, bringing more ethnic Kazakhs to a city that formerly had a Slav majority. Astana's ethnic Kazakh population has risen to some 60%, up from 17% in 1989.
Many[who?] argue that a drive to attract ethnic Kazakhs northward was the key factor in shifting the capital, which was officially put down to lack of space for expansion in the former capital, Almaty, and its location in an earthquake zone.
According to preliminary figures, Astana had 700,000 inhabitants in late 2007. According to the 1999 Census, 40.5% of the population is Russian, 5.7% Ukrainian, 3.0% German, 2.6% Tatar, 1.8% Belarusian and 0.8% Polish. But at 41.8%, Kazakhs outnumbered Russians and were forming the largest ethnic group, while Ingush and Korean each accounted for 0.6%. Others, mostly Uzbeks, accounted for 3.8%.
Politics and government are the main economic activities in the capital, which also forms a Special Economic Zone. Since the move, Astana has seen one of the world's greatest building projects, as oil money has been spent on government buildings, a massive home for the president, a mosque, and numerous parks and monuments. The project is designed to make the city the center not only of Kazakhstan but of all Central Asia.
Astana is divided into several large areas. Almaty District was created on 6 May 1998 by presidential decree. The district's territory encompasses an area of 21,054 hectares (52,030 acres; 81.29 square miles) with a population of approximately 321,400 people. The district has five villages. Yesil District was created on 5 August 2008 by presidential decree. The district's territory encompasses an area of 31,179 hectares (77,040 acres; 120.38 square miles) with a population of approximately 180,000 people. Saryarka District was created on 6 May 1998 by presidential decree. The district's territory encompasses an area of 19,202 hectares (47,450 acres; 74.14 square miles) with a population of approximately 296,364 people.
North of the railway line, which crosses Astana in an east-west direction, are industrial and poorer residential areas. Between the railway line and the river Ishim is the city center, where at present intense building activity is occurring. To the west and east are more elevated residential areas with parks and the new area of government administration to the south of the Ishim. Here many large building projects are underway; for example, the construction of a diplomatic quarter, and a variety of different government buildings. By 2030, these quarters are to be completed. The original plans for the new Astana were drawn up by late-Japanese architect, Kisho Kurokawa. Astana's current chief planner, Vladimir Laptev, wants to build a Berlin in a Eurasian style. He has stated that a purely administrative capital such as Canberra is not one of his goals.
The old buildings that remained from the Soviet era are now being removed and replaced with totally new structures resulting in significant construction work throughout the city. President Nazarbayev has paid particular attention to Astana's architecture; most of the recently completed structures had been accredited to internationally acclaimed architects and designers such as Kisho Kurokawa, Manfredi Nicoletti or Norman Foster.
The city has a variety of sporting teams. The major association football teams are FC Astana and FC Astana-1964. FC Astana competes in the Kazakhstan Premier League and based in Astana Arena. Founded in 2009, Astana won two Kazakhstan Cups and one Kazakhstan Super Cup. FC Astana-1964 is based in Kazhimukan Munaitpasov Stadium and plays in the Kazakhstan First Division, the second tier of football in Kazakhstan. The club's most successful years were 2000s, when they won Kazakhstan Premier League for 3 times. FC Bayterek is also plays in the Kazakhstan First Division. They were founded in 2012, to develop youth football in partnership with Olé Brasil Futebol Clube. In 2013, Astana bidded to host UEFA Euro 2020 matches.
Astana is home to several professional ice hockey teams. Barys Astana is the only Kazakhstan team in the Kontinental Hockey League. Nomad Astana and HC Astana are play in the Kazakhstan Hockey Championship. Snezhnye Barsy of the Junior Hockey League is a junior team of Barys Astana. All of the teams based in Kazakhstan Sports Palace. Astana annually hosts President of the Republic of Kazakhstan's Cup ice hockey tournament. Barys Arena is an ice hockey venue under construction will be home arena for Barys Astana.
Astana Pro Team of the UCI World Tour, founded in 2006 to develop the brand "Astana" in the international sporting arena. The team is one of the most successful teams of recent years, winning several major cycling tours. BC Astana of the VTB United League and the National Basketball League is the only basketball team in Astana. They are most crowned basketball team in Kazakhstan with 3 National Basketball League titles and 4 National Basketball Cups. Their home arena is the Saryarka Velodrome, which is mainly used for track cycling events. Saryarka Velodrome hosted UCI Track Cycling World Cup stage in 2011. Astana Arlans is an amateur boxing team competing in the World Series of Boxing. Arlans became champions in the third edition of WSB in 2013. Astana Presidential Sports Club was founded in 2012, to combine the main sports teams in Astana. The organization supported by Sovereign Wealth Fund Samruk-Kazyna. The 2011 Asian Winter Games were partly held in the capital. Alau Ice Palace annually hosts the ISU Speed Skating World Cup. International President's Cup tennis tournament annually held at the National Tennis Center Daulet. In 2014, Astana will open the National Paralympics Training Center for paralympic athletes in Kazakhstan.
Astana schools enrolls about 103,000 students attending 83 schools, including 71 state schools and 12 private schools. Miras International school, established 1999, is the first private high school in Astana. Haileybury Astana private school was established in 2011 as offshoot from Haileybury and Imperial Service College, an independent school in England. Astana Kazakh-Turkish High Schools are run by the International KATEV foundation. They include Kazakh-Turkish High Boarding Schools for gifted boys and girls, separately and Nur-Orda International School. Astana hosts two Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools (NIS), icluding School of Physics and Mathematics and International Baccalaureate world school. Quality School International of Astana (QSI Astana) is an international school that provides an american curriculum to its students. The school is a branch of Quality School International that started in the Middle East. 
Astana have many universities and junior colleges. As of 2013/2014 academic year, Astana had a total enrollment of 53,561 students in its 14 higher educational institutions, a 10% increase from the prior year. L.N.Gumilyov Eurasian National University is the biggest university in Astana with 11,300 students and 1,678 academic staff. It was founded as the result of merging Tselinograd Civil Engineering Institute and Tselinograd Pedagogical Institute on 23 May 1996. The oldest university in Astana is S.Seifullin Kazakh Agro Technical University founded in 1957. Nazarbayev University is an autonomous research university, partnered with many of top universities of the world. Kazakh Humanities and Law Institute is a law university founded by initiative of Ministry of Justice in 1994. Astana Medical University is the only medical school in Astana. Kazakh National University of Arts is the highest musical educational institution, which has provided Astana by highly qualified professional specialists in the field of Arts.
Astana Railway Station is an important hub for northern Kazakhstan, served by Qazaqstan Temir Zholy trains to most major cities in Kazakhstan, including Talgo expresses to Almaty. International trains leave for Russia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan, most of them with a once a week frequency. Since the summer of 2008, the schedule systems show also a direct weekly train to Urumqi (in China's Xinjiang).
Twin towns and sister cities
Twin towns and sister cities of Astana are:
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- "Almaly district akim's administration :: It is interest". Almaly.almaty.kz. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
- Oxford Dictionary: definition of Astana (British and World English)
- Oxford Dictionary: definition of Astana (American English)
- Colin Berlyne. "Astana: City with a Future". Edge KZ. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
- "Kazakhstan’s Futuristic Capital, Complete With Pyramid". The New York Times. 13 October 2006. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
- "Astana, the futuristic frontier of architecture". The Guardian. 8 August 2010. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
- Daisy Carrington (13 July 2012). "Astana: The world's weirdest capital city". CNN. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
- "AFP: Don't name capital after me yet, says Kazakh president". Afp.google.com. 6 June 2008. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
- "Astana, Kazakhstan: the space station in the steppes". The Guardian. 8 August 2010.
- [dead link]
- [dead link]
- "Timeline: Kazakhstan". BBC News. 31 January 2012. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
- Schatz, 76.
- Green, Peter (11 June 1998). "Kazakhs Raise Curtain on Remote New Capital, but Many Ask Why". International Herald-Tribune.
- "Kazakhstan's Capital Holds a Lavish Anniversary Celebration". EurasiaNet.org. 8 July 2007. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
- Updated Central, South, Southeast, and Eastern Asian and Siberian Map of the Köppen climate classification system.
- "Weather and Climate-The Climate of Astana" (in Russian). Weather and Climate. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
- "Climatological Normals of Astana". Hko.gov.hk. 20 December 2012. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
- "World Weather Information Service - Astana". Worldweather.wmo.int. 5 October 2006. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
- "Astana". Angelfire.com. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- Достижения [Achievments] (in Russian). FC Astana. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
- ФК "Байтерек" - новый клуб из столицы [FC Bayterek - the new club from the capital] (in Russian). total.kz. 30 March 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
- "Astana bidding to host UEFA matches in 2020". TengriNews.kz. 21 September 2013. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
- "Barys Astana". Kontinental Hockey League. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- "Snezhnye Barsy". Junior Hockey League. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- Paul Bartlett (8 August 2010). "Ice Comes Early for Astana Hockey Fans". Eurasianet.org. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- "Huge Barys Arena under construction in Astana". Kazinform. 29 July 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- "Brands that made Kazakhstan image". Tengrinews.kz. 12 July 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
- "History". BC Astana. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- "Preview: 2011 UCI Track World Cup Round 1". British Cycling. 27 October 2011. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- "World Series of Boxing: Astana Arlans". World Series of Boxing. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
- Ilyas Omarov (4 July 2013). "Astana Presidential Sports Club Launched". The Astana Times. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
- Paul Osborne (9 April 2014). "Astana Presidential Sports Club outlines vision to boost Kazakhstan's image". insidethegames.biz. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
- "World Cup". Alau.info. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- Nazymgul Kumyspaeva. "International President's Cup tennis tournament kicked off in Astana". KazPravda.kz. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- "National paralympic training center to be opened in Astana". Bnews.kz. 16 August 2013. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
- "5 new schools open doors in Astana today". Kazinform. 1 September 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- "13,000 to start school this year in Astana". Kazinform. 4 August 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- "General information about school". Miras International school. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
- "About Us". Nur-Orda International Schools. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- "Intellectual schools". Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- Schools, QSI (November 28th, 2014). "QSI International School of Astana". QSI International School of Astana. QSI. Retrieved November 28th, 2014. Check date values in:
- "The number of university students in Astana increased by more than 10%". Akimat of Astana. 3 March 2014. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
- История и ЕНУ сегодня [History and ENU today] (in Russian). L.N.Gumilyov Eurasian National University. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- "History of the university". S.Seifullin Kazakh Agro Technical University. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- "History & Strategy". Nazarbayev University. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- "History of KAZGUU". Kazakh Humanities and Law Institute. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- "About us". Kazakh National University of Arts. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
- "Расписание поездов: Астана - Урумчи". Tutu.ru. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
- "Twin City Agreement". Greater Amman Municipality. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
- "Sister Cities of ankara". Greater Municipality of Ankara. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
- Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (11 June 2004). "Agreement on establishment of bilateral relations between the Akimat of Astana City of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the City of Bangkok of Kingdom Thailand" (PDF). Retrieved 9 October 2014.
- "Sister Cities". Beijing Government. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
- Бишкек и Астана - города-побратимы [Bishkek and Astana - Sister Cities] (in Russian). Official website of of City Hall of Bishkek. 12 September 2011. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
- "Partner Cities". Gdańsk Official Website. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
- Ilia Lobster (9 September 2009). "Astana-Hanoi: horizons of cooperation". KazPravda.kz. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
- Elmira Kirgeyeva (19 September 2014). Астана и Казань отмечают 10 лет со дня закрепления статуса городов–побратимов [Astana and Kazan celebrates 10-years anniversary of sister cities status] (in Russian). KazPravda.kz. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
- "About Manila: Sister Cities". City of Manila. Retrieved 2 September 2009.
- "Astana and Nice established twin relations". Akimat of Astana. 5 July 2014. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
- "Astana and Finnish Oulu become twin-cities". Tengrinews.kz. 19 April 2013. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
- "Riga’s Twin Cities". Municipal Portal of Riga. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
- "Saint Petersburg to welcome Days of Astana Culture". Kazinform. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
- "International Cooperation: Sister Cities". Seoul Metropolitan Government. Archived from the original on 10 December 2007. Retrieved 26 January 2008.
- "Tbilisi Sister Cities". Tbilisi Municipal Portal. Archived from the original on 24 July 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
- "Ufa and Astana Signed Agreement on Friendship and Cooperation". Ufa City Municipality. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
- "Miasta partnerskie Warszawy" [Twin cities of Warsaw] (in Polish). City of Warsaw. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
- "Declaration of intent signed by Akim of Astana and Mayor of Croatias capital". Akimat of Astana. 4 July 2014. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
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