By the presidential Decree dated May 6, 1998, Akmola was renamed to Astana. The international presentation of the new capital was held on June 10, 1998. In 1999 Astana received the title of “City of the World” by the decision of UNESCO. Since 2000 the main city of Kazakhstan is a member of the International Assembly of Capitals and Major Cities. On March 23, 2019, by the Presidential Decree of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the city of Astana was renamed to the city of Nur-Sultan – the capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
At present, the territory of the capital exceeds 722 square kilometres, the population is more than 1 million people. The city consists of four districts – “Almaty”, “Saryarka”, “Esil” and “Baikonur”. Nur-Sultan is located in the center of Kazakhstan in the dry steppe zone, a subzone of dry tipchak-feather grass steppe. The territory of the city is a low terrace above the flood-plain. The Esil River is the main waterway of the capital. The climate is sharply continental – cold and long winter and hot, moderately arid summer. The convenient location in the center of the Eurasian continent makes the capital of Kazakhstan an economically advantageous transport, communication and logistics center, a kind of a transit bridge between Europe and Asia.
The high growth rates of the city’s economy attract many investors. The basis of the capital economy is industrial production, transport, communications, trade and construction. Objects such as Tselinograd Car Repair Plant, “Tsesna-Astyk” Concern, passenger car assembly plant “Tulpar-Talgo” LLP, helicopter assembly plant “Eurocopter Kazakhstan Engineering” and others can be distinguished among the largest enterprises of the city. The city has become one of the largest business centers in Kazakhstan. The entrepreneurial culture is developing dynamically – more than 128 thousand of small and medium-sized businesses operate in Astana. The average monthly nominal salary of residents of the capital is about 154 thousand tenge. The capital is the leader in construction in the country.
The main symbol of the new capital, its original “visiting card”, is the “Baiterek” complex. Other unique architectural structures include the Palace of Peace and Accord, designed by the famous British architect Norman Foster and made in the shape of a pyramid; the “Khan Shatyr” shopping and entertainment center – the tallest tent-shaped building in the world; the most remote from the sea aquarium – “Duman”; the Opera and Ballet Theatre “Astana Opera”; the largest mosque in Central Asia “Hazret Sultan”; the Cathedral in honour of the Dormition of the Mother of God; the Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Archdiocese of the Blessed Damosel Mary; the synagogue “Beit Rachel Khabad Lyubavich”; the Central Concert Hall “Kazakhstan”; the monument “Kazakh Ely”; the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Presidential Cultural Center.
The flagships of the national education are also located here: Nazarbayev University, Eurasian National University named after L.N. Gumilev, Kazakh National University of Arts, Kazakh Agrotechnical University named after S. Seifullin, Kazakhstan branch of Moscow State University named after M.V. Lomonosov, Astana Medical University and others.
Venue of important international events
Congresses of leaders of world and traditional religions, the Astana Economic Forum and other important international events are held in the capital on a regular basis. The historic OSCE summit was held in Nur-Sultan, the anniversary summits of the SCO and the OIC were held. At the beginning of 2011, the capital of the Republic hosted the participants and guests of the VII Asian Winter Games. In 2017, the capital hosted an international exhibition EXPO-2017, for which an entire exhibition complex, EXPO-Town, was built on the left bank of the Esil River. The heart of the exhibition complex was the Sphere “Nur-Alem”. This is a unique building in the shape of a sphere with a diameter of 80 meters, on top of which there are two noiseless wind generators. “Nur-Alem” is the first technological museum of future energy in the Republic and occupies 8 floors, each of which reflects its concept: “Future Astana”, “Energy of Space”, “Energy of the Sun”, “Energy of the Wind”, “Energy of Biomass”, “Kinetic energy”, “Energy of water” and “National Pavilion”, located at the base of the sphere.
In a short time, the new capital, born of the will of the First President of Kazakhstan, gained the status of a national idea, became a symbol of independence and global success of the young state.