The second coldest capital city in the world, yet with one of the warmest welcomes, Astana has been transformed into a dream city for this emerging Kazakh nation in the blink of an eye. One of the most astounding cityscapes located anywhere between Beijing and Moscow has come into being in just under 15 years.
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1. Pioneers such as Sir Norman Foster and the acclaimed Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa have blended futuristic designs with elements of traditional Kazakh style, resulting in a unique skyline which leaves the incoming visitor in no doubt that they are coming to a very progressive place, yet one also in touch with its past.
2. Visit the inspiring new presidential palace, Ak Orda, which dominates a massive stretch of the south bank. Despite its grandeur, it too pays tribute to the roots of its nation, with an interior hall based around the design of a yurt, known always to make an impression on visiting dignitaries and heads of state.
3. Across Water Green Boulevard, worth a leisurely stroll in itself, is the new and world famous Khan Shatyr Centre, given mostly to retail but also to a large extent to entertainment. Busy every day, and packed on public holidays, this structure qualifies as a tent, with its roof adopting the shape and function of a canopy, and being 150 metres high, it naturally qualifies as the world’s biggest of its kind.