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Astana Travel Guide  

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Astana, capital of Kazakhstan and Aqmola province, is located in the north-central part of the country on the Ishim River in a very flat, semi-desert steppe region.
Astana is a very young capital of a very recent nation. Kazakhstan achieved its independence from Russia only in 1991 and in December 1997, the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbaev, established that the capital of the Republic should be moved from Almaty to Aqmola (Astana precedent name meaning "White Tombstone").
Aqmola was then renamed Astana, which simply means "Capital city".
From 1997 the population of Astana has rapidly increased from just under 300,000 to more than 500,000 (as of late 2004).
Astana was originally founded in 1824 as a Russian fortress and it grew into a mining town of little importance called Akmolinsk. Things definitely changed in 1961 when the city became the capital of the Soviet Virgin Lands Territory and renamed Tselinograd.
Present day Astana boasts new modern government and business offices, a discrete number of good quality hotels to accommodate visitors, apartment blocks matching the European standards, lovely squares and boulevards, modern roads as well as charming river promenade on both banks of the River Ishim.
The capitals population is around 70% Russian, Ukrainian and German, and 30% Kazakh.

Area code:
0+7 (7172)
Time zone:
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Reviews Astana

Wouter van der Merwe
Level 9     1 Trophy    Viaggia: Solo
Overall rating 5
Overall Guide : I have been in Astana for 5 weeks now. I am tall and to find a suit was extremely difficult and expensive. The cheapest suit to fit me was 80000t in Khan Shatyr. Later I found one for 40000t in... more Eurasia. Entertainment: I tried to find a place where expats go to have a beer. Previously I went to Sligo Irish Bar. I went there on a Saturday from 10-12 pm and the place was quiet and without any soul and no expats. I tried Guns and Roses and the cover charge was 3500t to enter and you get a small glass of champagne and a very small t-shirt. Then I tried Chelsea English Pub from 10-12pm and I was the only person in the pub except for the barman and staff in the kitchen. I am still looking for an expat hangout where I can go for a beer and a chat or to watch sport. Can anybody enlighten me, or is this what Astana is all about? So far I have felt extremely safe in Astana but I am from South Africa, so most places would feel safe to me. The public transport is cheap (60t) but there are not enough routes available and you have to walk a great deal to get to the bus stop.
Not to be missed Bytarek , Khan Shatyr , Circus
Overall rating 6
Overall Guide : Astana has to be one of the most boring places in the world. Things to do: become a vodka taster. Strike up conversations with the only other people in restaurants and bars... usually the waiting staff. Try to find a... more scheduled event that actually takes place as planned. Play avoid the potholes on country.
Overall rating 9
Overall Guide : The city has interesting markets. The city transportation is good and highly affordable. The poeple try to understand what you want, but you need basic Russian or Kazakh.
Not to be missed Baitereck , Palace of World Peace , Khan Shatyr
Level 9     1 Trophy    Viaggia: Solo
Overall rating 8
Overall Guide : I have recently arrived Astana. The place is very safe but at the same time i found it little boring. Maybe it is too early to decide.
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