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Astana: the futuristic capital of Kazakhstan

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Book a flight to Astana with Qatar Airways

Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan and previously known as Nur Sultan, truly is a city fit for the 21st century. This cosmopolitan city has risen from what used to be flat plains. Today, it boasts a skyline like no other anywhere in the world. 

The wonderful structures make you feel like you have travelled into the future; take a stroll through the city’s broad buildings and you’ll spot an eclectic mix of Asian, Western and Soviet styles designed by internationally renowned architects. You’ll also feel the young, energetic vibe of a city that’s experiencing a boom period.  

Fly to Astana with Qatar Airways and step forward in time to the ‘Singapore of the steppe’.

Astana highlights

Astana boasts a fascinating history, a futuristic skyline and youthful energy, and it’s an exciting place to visit right now as it continues to transform. 

  • Tourist attractions

    The Baiterek Monument is just one example of Astana’s surrealist architectural feats. Shaped like a giant lollipop, this 97m tower is open daily to the public. Step inside and ride the lift to the top to get one of the best views of the city. The building also houses an art gallery, an aquarium, and a restaurant. 

    The National Museum of Kazakhstan is the place to discover the country’s rich history and culture. Housed inside an opulent blue-and-white-marble building are an array of interactive displays and artefacts. Among the highlights are the Golden Hall, which features thousands of Bronze Age ornaments from the ‘Gold Man’, the national symbol of Kazakhstan. 

    The Hazrat Sultan is the biggest mosque in Kazakhstan. You can spot its huge white turrets from practically anywhere in the city. And when you step inside, it’s even more impressive; its halls are adorned with marble and its domes are lined with richly decorated tiles. 

  • Leisure activities

    Head to the south side of the Ishim river and you’ll come to City Park. It’s a nice place to go for a stroll in good weather. But it’s also where you’ll find the Atameken map, a 200-metre open-air map that you can follow around the park. It features models of the city’s major buildings, as well as an amusement centre complete with an aquarium. 

    When you’re done exploring, go and pamper yourself at the Elixir Bath Complex. This classic bathhouse offers a warm refuge from the chilly outdoors. You can soak in the baths, book yourself a massage, and spend a little time in the sauna. 

  • Food

    You can expect to find an up-and-coming restaurant scene in Astana. While young locals tend to favour the food courts in the city’s many malls, a little exploration will lead you to richer culinary experiences. 

    Head just north of Lover’s Park and you’ll come to Turan Avenue; this is one of the best spots in the city to sample a taste of traditional Kazakh fare. You’ll find plenty of restaurants here featuring authentic cuisine on the menu, like Beshbarmak -  a tasty horsemeat and noodle dish, and one serving is usually enough for two or three people. Also on the menu are Boursaky bread (puffy fried bread) and Shashlik kebabs (juicy grilled meat on a skewer). 

    If you’re in the mood for a fancy dinner, put on your best clothes and make your way to the magnificent hotel restaurants of the new St Regis and Ritz-Carlton.

  • Shopping

    Kazakhs have embraced luxury shopping, and Astana is home to a handful of high-end shopping malls. You’ll discover a wealth of prestige brands in the city’s malls, including Khan Shatyr, Mega Mall and Keruen. However, if you’re looking for more authentic Kazakh goods, there are also lots of local designers to discover in the boutiques and independent outlets around the city. 

    For a more low-key shopping experience, it’s worth tracking down the Artem bazaar. This is a traditional market-style building where you can find snacks and souvenirs. Even if you don’t want to buy anything, it’s worth going just to soak up the busy atmosphere.

Essential facts about Astana

Enjoy a hassle-free journey with all the information you need to know before your trip

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