Astana - The Capital of Kazakhstan
Astana became the capital of new Kazakhstan in 1998 for a variety of reasons. By the end of the XX century, the country’s former capital Almaty was facing a heap of difficulties hampering further development of the city: the problem of overpopulation (over 1.500.000 inhabitants); traffic congestion; deteriorating environmental conditions. Moreover, compact planning of the “southern capital” in practice, restricted modern development of the city.
The choice was made in favor of Astana due to a number of decided advantages: vast urban area, favorable geographical location - close to the country’s main economic centers, significant demographic potential, well-developed transport infrastructure and the relatively favorable environment.
From the history of Astana
The horizonless Akmola steppes have long been the place for various civilizations and cultures to meet and intertwine. The “Father of History” Herodotus, in his writings, mentioned the route, laid through the Great Steppe (later known as the Great Silk Road), caravans passed by through these places. Development of handicrafts and home industry, trade boom in the cities, formerly traditionally employed exclusively in animal husbandry and agriculture, were boosted by the caravan routes of the Great Steppe.
The medieval ancient settlement of Bozok, found five kilometers from modern Astana, can rightly be called a millennial predecessor of the Kazakh capital.
Almost two decades ago, in the 30-s of the XIX century, in these steppes, on the site of Akmola village was founded the city of Akmolinsk to serve as a military, commercial and economic center.
Due to virgin land reclamation in the 60-s of last century Akmolinsk was renamed Tselinograd (“tselina” means “virgin land”).
The historical name Akmola was returned to the city in 1992. When the city was granted the status of the Kazakh capital on May 6, 1998, it was named Astana, which means “a capital”. Thus, the ancient city of able craftsmen, skilled tradesmen and industrious farmers became the center of political, public, social and cultural life of new, democratic sovereign Kazakhstan.
Today Astana is not only a country’s major administrative center, located at the intersection of major development networks of the country. It is the city-leader, setting the pace in the innovative development of Kazakhstan. The city, which acts as a locomotive of the reforms in Kazakhstan of the new millennium is also a tourist attraction in the steppes.