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Bayterek (Kazakh: Бәйтерек, Bäyterek, "tall poplar [tree]"), is a monument and observation tower in Astana, Kazakhstan. A tourist attraction popular with foreign visitors and native Kazakhs alike, it is emblematic of the city, which became capital of the country in 1997.
The shape of Bayterek represents a poplar tree holding a golden egg. These come from a folktale of the tree of life, a central symbol in Turkic mythology, and Samruk the magical bird of happiness, said to have laid its egg between the branches of a poplar tree.
The 105m tall structure rises from a wide flat base within a raised plaza. It consists of a narrow cylindrical shaft, surrounded by white branch-like girders that flare out near the top, supporting a gold-mirrored 22m-diameter sphere. The base contains a ticket booth and exhibition space, with two lifts rising within the shaft to the observation deck within the 'egg'. Entrances to the monument are sunk below eye level, reached by stairs from the surrounding plaza.
The observation deck is 97m above ground level, corresponding to 1997, the year that Astana became the nation's capital. It consists of two levels, one with 360 degree views of Astana and beyond, with a second, higher level, reached by a flight of stairs. The top level features a gilded hand print of the right hand of Nursultan Nazarbayev, the first President of the independent Republic of Kazakhstan, mounted in an ornate pedestal. A plaque invites visitors to place a hand in the imprint and make a wish. Alongside the handprint, and also oriented in the direction of the presidential palace, is a wooden sculpture of a globe and 16 radiating segments, commemorating the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, held several times in Astana.
Bayterek Tower and the exhibition The Art of Tolerance, 2010
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