Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan

Nur-Sultan is the modern capital of Kazakhstan, the construction of which is proceeding at a supersonic pace. High-level hotels, mirrored skyscrapers, wide avenues and beautiful embankments: this is how it appears to tourists today. Since this small provincial city, known for its “cold” winters, was declared the future capital of the country and replaced Almaty in 1997 by decree of President Nazarbayev, it has “experienced” rapid growth and has become the second largest in Kazakhstan.

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The symbol and one of the main attractions of Nur-Sultan is the Astana-Baiterek Monument, which is a true example of the futuristic architecture of the city.

Some find Nur-Sultan faceless and juxtapose the poverty some Kazakhstanis still live in with the billions spent on someone else’s architectural fantasy. However, the residents themselves are clearly proud of their new capital.

Until March 2019, the capital of Kazakhstan was named Astana.

How to get there

Considering that Nur-Sultan is a modern city with a developed infrastructure, you can get to it by almost all methods known to science. For example, an international airport operates 16 km from the capital of Kazakhstan. Passes through the city and the railway junction. Nur-Sultan is also the intersection of two highways: A-343 Nur-Sultan – Petropavlovsk and M-36 Chelyabinsk – Alma-Ata.

Until 2020, it is planned to build a modern railway station in the city – the development of its project is already underway.

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By plane

Nur-Sultan International Airport, located 15 km from the city center, serves flights from Vienna, Kiev, Moscow, Beijing, Delhi, Seoul, Bangkok, Istanbul, Abu Dhabi, London, Amsterdam, Hannover and Frankfurt, as well as several domestic destinations.

The national carrier of the Republic of Kazakhstan Air Astana operates flights to Almaty, Delhi, Dubai, Frankfurt, Hanover, Istanbul, Moscow and Urumqi.

From the airport to the city center can be reached by bus number 10 (cost 60 KZT) or taxi.

City `s history

During archaeological excavations, it was found that ancient settlements dating back to the Bronze Age existed on the site of modern Nur-Sultan. Later, caravan routes also passed here.

The city itself was founded in 1830 and was originally listed only as a Cossack outpost. The founder is considered to be Fyodor Shubin, a participant in the Battle of Borodino. The very idea to create a defensive outpost came to the sultans and foremen of the Altaev, Kuvandyk and Karpykov volosts, suffering from the raids of the Kokand people. The governor of Western Siberia satisfied this requirement and ordered the construction of a fortress. Later, the outpost grew into a city called Akmolinsk.

In Soviet times, namely in 1961, the city was renamed Tselinograd. And only after the collapse of the USSR, the historical name Akmola was returned to it. In 1994, the capital of Kazakhstan was moved from Alma-Ata to Akmola, and in 1998 the city began to be called Astana.

Nur-Sultan Hotels

There are more than enough hotels in the city. Tourists can stay in both economy class hotels and luxury hotels. Attentive staff, several additional services, cozy rooms – all this awaits everyone who comes to Nur-Sultan. Among the most popular hotels in the capital are Rixos President Hotel Astana, Radisson, Dedeman, Lion Hotel.

Shopping and shops

One of the largest shopping and entertainment centers in the world, Khan-Shatyr, is located in Nur-Sultan. Made in the form of a transparent tent, it reaches a height of 150 m. Forbes Style magazine included Khan Shatyr in the ranking of the best eco-buildings in the world. Cafes and restaurants, cinemas, a modern water park, a family park, shopping arcades are located in this center of a truly khan’s scale.

Entertainment and attractions of Nur-Sultan

Since Nur-Sultan is a relatively young city, there are no ancient historical monuments and structures to be found here. All sights belong either to the Soviet period or to the modern one.

Baiterek Tower

The Baiterek Tower (translated from Kazakh as “poplar”), 150 meters high, symbolizes the young and developing capital of Kazakhstan. The tower is topped with a large ball, the color of which changes depending on the lighting. The “roots” of the tower are the lower floors that go underground by 4 m. Aquariums, a cafe and a gallery are located here.

From the panoramic hall of Baiterek, from a height of 86 m, a beautiful view of the city opens up, and for its resemblance to a giant lollipop, Baiterek once received the nickname “chupa-chups”. In the center of the panoramic hall of the tower there is a wooden globe with 17 petals signed by 17 representatives of various world religions, and next to the globe on a beautiful table there is a “wish fulfillment machine” with a cast of President Nazarbayev’s palm.

Palace of Peace and Accord

The Palace of Peace and Accord, designed by Sir Norman Foster in the form of a pyramid, symbolizes the openness of the Kazakh people and Kazakhstan itself to the world. No wonder it is called the eighth wonder of the world. From the glass dome crowning the top of the pyramid, a stunning view of the capital opens up. The dome is decorated with figurines of 130 doves, personifying the peoples of Kazakhstan. The Palace has a lot of interesting things: a concert hall, exhibition centers, art galleries.

Not far from the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, there are two other architecturally interesting buildings – the Shabyt Palace of Creativity and the Independence Palace, which hosts most of the official state meetings and events.


Entertainment center “Duman” combines a lot of interesting objects. This is the most modern 5D cinema attraction, and a domed space with exact copies and models of famous historical monuments, and many shops, and the only Oceanarium in the CIS, which is located more than 3 thousand km from the sea. Despite such remoteness, about 2 thousand representatives of the marine fauna are gathered in the Oceanarium.

Visitors here can walk along the seabed – a tunnel built at the bottom of the largest aquarium.

Khan Shatyr

The embodiment of another architectural fantasy of Sir Foster and a new symbol of Nur-Sultan is Khan Shatyr, a shopping and entertainment complex whose building resembles a giant tent. On the territory of Khan Shatyr with an area of ​​127 thousand square meters. m there are shops, cafes, restaurants, cinemas and even a water park with an artificial beach and wave pools. But the main highlight of Khan Shatyr is a beach resort with a tropical climate and white sand from the Maldives!

4 things you must do in Nur-Sultan

  1. Visit the traditional oriental bazaar in the city center. Here you can taste delicious sweets, try on and buy national clothes, buy souvenirs and see amazing performances of Kazakh street artists with your own eyes.
  2. Walk along the three-level bridge on the Water-Green Boulevard. The bridge is a huge pedestrian avenue. At the very bottom there is a parking lot, on the second level there are offices, shops, restaurants and exhibition halls, and on the third level there are excellent conditions for walking: there are many fountains and sculptures.
  3. Go to the circus. In Nur-Sultan, it is unusual – in the form of a flying saucer. The circus was opened not so long ago, so it is very popular among the local population.
  4. Try the national dish. There are many restaurants of Kazakh cuisine in the capital. Be sure to try tea with dried fruits and spices, beshparmak meat dish or shuzhuk. The most famous restaurants are located on Turan Avenue.

Museum of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan

An interesting building with a dome houses the Museum of the first President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, dedicated to the modern history of the country. Its main attraction is a replica of a tiger-haud warrior costume found during excavations near Almaty. The museum is open to visitors every day except Monday from 10:00 to 16:15 (break from 12:15 to 14:00), admission is free.

Ethno-memorial complex “Map of Kazakhstan – Atameken”

The ethno-memorial complex “Map of Kazakhstan – Atameken” under the open sky is also unique. On the map of the complex there are 14 regions and 2 cities of republican significance: Nur-Sultan and Almaty, and the whole variety of natural and climatic zones and landscapes, as well as architecture and urban planning ensembles of Kazakhstan, including historical and cultural monuments, are presented.

Other attractions

The capital’s circus with the architecture of the “flying saucer”, located on the left bank of the Ishim; the central mosque “Nur-Astana”; Modern Art Museum; National Opera and Ballet Theatre. K. Baiseitova.

Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan