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Astana Rising

Article by Joe Worthington 09.12.2017 Photographs by Tom Parker

The modern capital of Kazakhstan is an architectural haven unlike any other in the world.

The modern transformation of Astana began in 1997, when President Nursultan Nazarbayev made the city his personal passion project, building the Kazakh capital into a haven for innovative design. Now, with EXPO-2017 just finished, the city has found itself at the center of the world stage.

The 344-foot-tall Bayterek Tower is a nod to the local legend of a bird that laid its golden egg on top of the tree of life.

The interior of the Hazrat Sultan Mosque. This mosque, which combines Islamic traditions and a Silk Road architectural style, can welcome up to 10,000 worshippers. Its four white turrets are visible from across Astana.

The tentlike Khan Shatyr shopping mall was designed by British architects Foster + Partners as a “climatic envelope” to welcome guests in any weather. Aside from shopping, it also houses a theme park and a temperature-controlled tropical beach, with sand imported from Dubai, on the top floor. 

The Kazakhstan Central Concert Hall was designed by Italian architects Studio Nicoletti Associati. Throughout the year, the echoing triple chambers host concerts for world-renowned acts. 

Doves embossed on the stained-glass windows of the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation. 

The Astana Opera was designed by the Italian architectural firm Arlotti-Beccu-Desideri-Raimondo. Endless columns hold up the intricately carved marble façade; the entrance has a Latin inscription. 

Dancers during a performance at the Astana Opera.

The opera house’s Romanesque interior. 

A residential block in central Astana.

Plan Your Stay in Astana


  • Astana

    Location Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan

    Experience A downtown address offering a high-end experience

    • Located in the heart of Nur-Sultan
    • Expansive meeting and event space
    • Luxury spa and indoor swimming pool