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Kazakhstan declared its independence in 1991 from the former Soviet Union and in 1998 Astana was declared the country’s new capital. It was chosen due to its strategic location on the Ishim River, which today is a lively part of town and a desirable place for expats to live. The city’s population is on a steady rise as many professionals from around Kazakhstan and the world move here following the new location of the country’s political sector. In hopes of making Astana not only the center of Kazakhstan but of all central Asia – Astana, itself, has become one of the country’s greatest building projects. As government buildings continue to dot the skyline, numerous parks and monuments, and other impressive buildings are appearing around town. Living here it is easy to feel this city shedding its stunted past and preparing for the growth, and international recognition that is about to come its way.

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Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital and second largest city after Almaty, is located in the northwest of the country.  The city was founded in 1830 as a Russian fortress called Akmola, or white tomb. Populated by nomadic tribes at the time, Kazakhstan became part of the Russian empire.

In Soviet times, it was renamed Tselinograd under Nikita Khrushchev’s Virgin Lands scheme in 1961. Kazakhstan finally declared its independence on December 16, 1991.

The following year the city regained its original name Akmola but was renamed Astana, Kazakh for ‘capital’ in 1998. Since then Astana has turned into the most thriving city in Central Asia with its skyline becoming more impressive year by year.

The President of Kazakhstan chose Astana as its capital partially because of the River Ishim which splits the city in two. Astana is therefore  divided into two sections, the Right (northern) Bank of the Ishim known as the old town, and the Left (southern) Bank, where the new government buildings the House of the Government, and the Supreme Court are located, as well as many prestigious apartment and living complexes. Getting from one center to the other takes about 10 – 15 minutes.

Indeed, 8% of the national budget is set aside to transform large areas south of the Ishim River, to an area referred to a as a “new center” of town. Here  a new governmental-administrative zone is being constructed, with daring buildings combining Islamic, Soviet, Western and wacky futuristic influences

Expats prefer to live along the river Ishim in new apartments buildings with lots of amenities. Most of the expats live in apartments and prefer them to houses as houses are not widely available in Astana.

The right bank or old center is currently more of a lively part, with more restaurants, entertainment, shops and supermarkets however as the left bank continues to grow both sides will be just as busy. The city center hosts most of the main sites including the Avenue of the Republic, the main hub of activity in Astana.

This long street is lined with stores, coffee houses, restaurants, night clubs and some casinos. Other sites of interest are the Modern governmental quarter, the Oceanarium and the Islamic Center.

Although Astana has become the capitol and political center, Almaty still remains the cultural, economic and financial center of Kazakhstan.

While the current President Nursultan Nazarbaev, who has ruled since Soviet times, allows little opportunity for any political opposition, he has also managed to create an ethnically diverse and peaceful nation.

Kazakhstan is by and large still an undiscovered country, more and more tourists are drawn to this city.

Many visitors enjoy walking along the Ishim River waterfront or crossing the Main Square and strolling amongst the food stalls in the Market Hall.

There are numerous nightclubs and casinos in the city centre as well as theaters and cinemas but bear in mind that most performances and films are not played in English and subtitles are not provided.

Still, the country offers a wide range of alternative activities and trips. Its magical landscape and mountain ranges, offer the ideal environment for trekking and horseback riding or skiing.

Kazakhstan also has a wide range of internationally praised spas, including the Sari Agach in the south and the Zerenda in the Kokshetau region.

With Kazakhs being very hospitable and tourism still in its early stages, locals will often go out of their way to please foreigners.

The team of consultants here at Move One looks forward to the opportunity to introduce you to Astana and sharing all that this wonderful city has to offer.

Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital and second largest city after Almaty, is located in the northwest of the country.

The city was founded in 1830 as a Russian fortress called Akmola, or white tomb. Populated by nomadic tribes at the time, Kazakhstan became part of the Russian empire.

In Soviet times, it was renamed Tselinograd under Nikita Khrushchev’s Virgin Lands scheme in 1961. Kazakhstan finally declared its independence on December 16, 1991.

The following year the city regained its original name Akmola but was renamed Astana, Kazakh for ‘capital’ in 1998. Since then Astana has turned into the most thriving city in Central Asia with its skyline becoming more impressive year by year.

The President of Kazakhstan chose Astana as its capital partially because of the River Ishim which splits the city in two. Astana is therefore  divided into two sections, the Right (northern) Bank of the Ishim known as the old town, and the Left (southern) Bank, where the new government buildings the House of the Government, and the Supreme Court are located, as well as many prestigious apartment and living complexes. Getting from one center to the other takes about 10 – 15 minutes.

Indeed, 8% of the national budget is set aside to transform large areas south of the Ishim River, to an area referred to a as a “new center” of town. Here  a new governmental-administrative zone is being constructed, with daring buildings combining Islamic, Soviet, Western and wacky futuristic influences.

Expats prefer to live along the river Ishim in new apartments buildings with lots of amenities. Most of the expats live in apartments and prefer them to houses as houses are not widely available in Astana.

The right bank or old center is currently more of a lively part, with more restaurants, entertainment, shops and supermarkets however as the left bank continues to grow both sides will be just as busy.

The city center hosts most of the main sites including the Avenue of the Republic, the main hub of activity in Astana. This long street is lined with stores, coffee houses, restaurants, night clubs and some casinos. Other sites of interest are the Modern governmental quarter, the Oceanarium and the Islamic Center.

Although Astana has become the capitol and political center, Almaty still remains the cultural, economic and financial center of Kazakhstan.

While the current President Nursultan Nazarbaev, who has ruled since Soviet times, allows little opportunity for any political opposition, he has also managed to create an ethnically diverse and peaceful nation.

Kazakhstan is by and large still an undiscovered country, more and more tourists are drawn to this city.

Many visitors enjoy walking along the Ishim River waterfront or crossing the Main Square and strolling amongst the food stalls in the Market Hall.

There are numerous nightclubs and casinos in the city center as well as theaters and cinemas but bear in mind that most performances and films are not played in English and subtitles are not provided.

Still, the country offers a wide range of alternative activities and trips. Its magical landscape and mountain ranges, offer the ideal environment for trekking and horseback riding or skiing.

Kazakhstan also has a wide range of internationally praised spas, including the Sari Agach in the south and the Zerenda in the Kokshetau region.

With Kazakhs being very hospitable and tourism still in its early stages, locals will often go out of their way to please foreigners.

The team of consultants here at Move One looks forward to the opportunity to introduce you to Astana and sharing all that this wonderful city has to offer.

Useful Links

Window on Kazakhstan

Simply one of the best resources for expats on the ground in Kazakhstan. Information on culture, art, shopping and what to do provided in English. Versions in French, German and Chinese are currently under development.

Official Site of Astana

Astana’s official site has important information for incoming expats, such as daily news, state services, city districts and emergency contacts.

Kwintessential: Culture and Etiquette

To many, Kazakhstan is a strange and bizarre land. Kwintessential does a good job of bundling the Kazakh customs and styles of etiquette together into a comprehensive guide for those incoming to the country.

Yellow Pages

The Yellow Pages holds phone numbers, addresses and information of many Astana companies and services. Enter text in English or Russian for best results.

Yoolk Search

A popular business search engine used throughout Kazakhstan. Use the advance search option for refined results.

Kazakhstan Travel and Toursim Blog

The following blog is the official blog of AboutKazakhstan.com a site devoted to exploring cities and regions of Kazakhstan. The site offers you interesting and useful stories, including  Kazakhstan facts of everyday life.

Move One InMotion

Whether it be relocations, immigration, moving or pet transportation, Move One’s InMotion blog is a savvy source of info for expats on the move.

Daily News

Kazakhstan Today

This daily news portal gives expats an up to date snapshot of news going on in Kazakhstan. For those on the go, there is also a mobile version of the site to check on your smartphone.

The Astana Times

A daily news site covering local, national and world news including people, tourism, lifestyle and sports.

Safety and Security

Travelers in Kazakhstan should exercise the same precautions concerning personal safety and protection of valuables as they would in any major U.S. city. Using good judgment and avoiding high-risk areas can reduce the crime threat. The most common crimes foreign tourists encounter are purse snatching, pick pocketing, assaults, and robberies. Pick pocketing or robberies occur most frequently in the vicinity of Western hotels, transportation sites, and at open-air markets.
For more information and advice about personal security, please check the following websites:

U.S. Department of State
UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Ministère des Affaires Etrangères et Européennes
German Federal Foreign Office

Climate

Moving to Astana we hope you like winter. Even though the city experiences all four seasons the winters are still colder and last a little longer then what you may be used to – this can be up to 6 months. This allows for a great winter sport season, so don’t forget your skis! Summer is also warm with temperatures reaching up to 30 C (90 F). Astana has an extreme climate but offers activities for all seasons.

For further weather info click here.

Useful Documents

Click here for a list of public holidays in Kazakhstan.

Comments

  1. Nastya says:

    )) There are no cazinos in the city of Astana. All of them were closed in the city and removed to Borovoe, where a special zone for cazino is created.

  2. Camilla Zalka says:

    Thanks Nastya for the comment. We will definitely be making the change to the video.

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