Astana is a new capital of Kazakhstan. The previous names of Astana are Akmola, Tselinograd and Akmolinsk.
The location of the city is strategically favorable; it was the area of route crossing that attracted the people of the Steppe from ancient times. Archaeologists find artifacts in the city, dating from the Bronze Age, early Iron Age and Middle Ages. One of the major historical sites located within the city, is Bozok settlement - a monument which functioned from the early Middle Ages (VII - VIII centuries) till the epoch of the Kazakh Khanate (XV - XVI centuries).
Astana was the main railway station of North Kazakhstan. It is located along the Ishim river and the enterprises of agriculture engineering industry and chemical factories are placed in Astana.
Today it is friendly and low enough city with few attractive green streets, but disposed to strong steppe winds. The population is generally Russian (70%), Ukrainian and German, and only 30 % of the Kazakhs.
Many high educational institutions, the Eurasian University named after L. Gumilev, three museums, two drama theaters function in the city. The construction of the National Library, National Museum, Art Gallery of Modern Art, Center of social and economical technologies, Business Center, Children's park, water park, cultural and health institutions is planning in the capital.
Today Astana is a large city, with an area of more than 200 square kilometers. In 1999 Astana according to the resolution of UNESCO got the status “City of World”. After getting the capital status and organization of special economical zone “Astana – new city” many modern architectural and town planning projects are realized.
The Congress Hall, Palace of Youth and Presidential Culture Center can be also referred to the cultural and educational institutions. Bayterek monument is the main symbol of the city. New cinema is developing in the city.
The Ak Orda is the residence of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan. It is located on the left bank of the Ishim river in the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana, in the beginning of Water-Green boulevard 300 meters from Bayterek monument. The total building area is 36,720 square meters. The official presentation of a new Palace of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan was held on the 24th of December, 2004. Next to the residence there are Parliament of Kazakhstan, House of Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and House of Ministries of Kazakhstan. The Ak Orda is depicted on the banknote of 10 000 tenge.
Bayterek is the monument of the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana. It is one of the main sights of the city.
Norman Foster, the famous English architect is the author of the monument. The height of the building is 97 meters; it has the ball on the top of the construction of 105 meters. The diameter of the gilded ball is 22 meters.
The lower level goes 4,5 meters underground, where there are cafes, aquariums and the mini gallery "Bayterek ". From this site you can lift to the very top level - the ball, inside which there are the bar and the panoramic hall.
The excursions for visitors are in the Kazakh, Russian and foreign languages.
The monument was built on Nursultan Nazarbayev’s initiative as the symbol of transferring the capital from Almaty to Akmola in 1997.
The significance of "Bayterek" as a symbol of a new stage in the life of the Kazakh people, is accented with the artistic composition. It represents 1997 – the year of the proclamation of Astana, as a new capital of the country, and a new reference point in the history of the country.
"Bayterek" means young, strong, growing tree, symbolizing the state, which kept its historical roots and which has the steady support and the aspiration for the future prosperity.
Independence Palace is the idea, which became a reality of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev. The monumental building, the architectural features of which are the supporting walls in the form of the Kazakh kerege - the skeleton of the yurt, became one of the most beautiful architectural structures of Astana. The date, when the Palace was opened is December 15, 2008.
The mission of such a grandiose structure is also very high. Astana is the heart of Kazakhstan, where crucial issues of the government are resolved at different levels. In this regard, the daily visits to the capital by visitors and delegations from various parts of the world are the normal operating mode. The Palace of Independence, having everything required, became the venue for official state events, forums, conferences, meetings and congresses. Capacity of premises, technical equipment and comfort allow covering all the events at the highest international level. Along with the official events, there are all opportunities for holding concerts, exhibitions and celebrations.