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Capitals of Kazakhstan

Astana and Almaty as the biggest cities of Kazakhstan. Astana as the second coldest capital in the world, the average annual temperature. Bayterek as the most famous landmark in Astana. The legend behind this tower. Astana International Airport.

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Capitals of Kazakhstan

Astana and Almaty the biggest cities of Kazakhstan.

Astana - formerly known as Akmola, Tselinograd and Akmolinsk is the capital and second largest city of Kazakhstan, with an officially estimated population of 708,794 as of 1 August 2010.

It is located in the north-central portion of Kazakhstan, within Akmola Province, though administrated separately from the province as a federal city area.

Almaty also known by its former names Verny and Alma-Ata is the former capital and still largest city in Kazakhstan, with a population of 1,348,500 (as of 1 September 2008). This represents 9% of the population of the country.

It was the capital of the Kazakh SSR and its successor Kazakhstan from 1929 to 1997. Despite losing its status as the capital to Astana in 1997, Almaty remains the major commercial center of Kazakhstan. It is located in southern Kazakhstan, near the border with Kyrgyzstan.

Astana

A unit of Siberian cossacks from Omsk founded a huge fortress on the upper Ishim in 1824, which later became the town of «Akmolinsk». During the early 20th century, the town became a major railway junction, causing a major economic boom that lasted until the Russian Civil War.

In 1961, it was renamed «Tselinograd» and made capital of the Soviet Virgin Lands Territory (Tselinny Krai). The city was at the center of the Virgin Lands Campaign led by Nikita Khrushchev in the 1950s, in order to turn the state into a second grain producer for the Soviet Union.

A unit of Siberian cossacks from Omsk founded a huge fortress on the upper Ishim in 1824, which later became the town of «Akmolinsk». During the early 20th century, the town became a major railway junction, causing a major economic boom that lasted until the Russian Civil War.

In 1961, it was renamed «Tselinograd» and made capital of the Soviet Virgin Lands Territory (Tselinny Krai). The city was at the centre of the Virgin Lands Campaign led by Nikita Khrushchev in the 1950s, in order to turn the state into a second grain producer for the Soviet Union.

After Kazakhstan gained its independence in 1991, the city and the region were renamed «Aqmola», literally meaning «White Shrine».

In 1995, the city was designated as the future capital of the newly-independent country, and the capital was officially moved from Almaty on December 10, 1997.

The new name, Astana, was bestowed in 1998

Government officials cited several problems with keeping the capital in Almaty, such as the city's risk of seismic activity, insufficient room for expansion, and proximity to international borders.

Additionally, parts of northern Kazakhstan are populated primarily by ethnic Russians, which raised fears of possible irredentist activity. Moving the capital to this area may have been an attempt to anchor it more closely with the rest of the country.

Location

Astana is located in central Kazakhstan on the Ishim River in a very flat, semi-desert steppe region which covers most of the country's territory. The elevation of Astana is at 347 meters (1,138 ft) above sea level. Astana is in a spacious steppe landscape, in the transient area between the north of Kazakhstan and the extremely thinly settled national center, because of the river Ishim. The older boroughs lie north of the river, whilst the new boroughs are located south of the Ishim.

Climate

Climatically, Astana is the second coldest capital in the world, a record formerly held by Canada's capital, Ottawa, until Astana became the capital (behind Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia), with temperatures of ?35°C (?31°F) to ?40°C (?40°F) common in the early winter. The new city is also known to regularly freeze for around six months every year. Overall, Astana has a humid continental climate (Koppen climate classification Dfb), bordering on a semi-arid climate (Koppen climate classification BSk), with exceptionally cold winters and warm summers.

The average annual temperature in Astana is 1.8°C (35.2°F). January is the coldest month with an average temperature of ?17.3°C (1°F). July is the hottest month with an average temperature of 20.2°C (68°F).

As of July 1, 2010, Astana has a population density of 958 people per square kilometre and a population of about 705,897, of which Kazakhs, Russians, Ukrainians, Tatars and Germans make up 65.2%, 23.8%, 2.9%, 1.7%, 1.5% respectively. Other ethnic groups make up 4.9% of Astana's population.

In 1999, Astana had a population of 281,000. The ethnic mix was about 30% Kazakh and 70% Russian, Ukrainian and German.

By 2007, Astana's population has more than doubled since the move, to over 600,000, and it is estimated to top 1 million by 2030. Migrant workers - legal and illegal - have been attracted from across Kazakhstan and neighboring states such as Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, and Astana is a magnet for young professionals seeking to build a career. This has changed the city's demographics, bringing more ethnic Kazakhs to a city that formerly had a Slav majority. Astana's ethnic Kazakh population has risen to some 60%, up from 17% in 1989.

Architecture

The old buildings that remained from the Soviet era are now being removed and replaced with totally new structures resulting in significant construction work throughout the city. President Nazarbayev has paid particular attention to Astana's architecture; most of the recently completed structures had been accredited to internationally acclaimed architects and designers such as Kisho Kurokawa or Norman Foster.

Bayterek is the most famous landmark in Astana. The legend behind this tower as a symbol is that it represents a poplar tree, where the magic bird Samuruk laid its egg. In the sphere on the top of Bayterek there is an imprint of president Nursultan Nazarbayev's hand.

The Islamic Center was built in 2005 and was sponsored by the Emir of Qatar. It consists of a mosque, madrasah, and a library. The mosque has 4 minarets, 63 meters each, and has a capacity of 5,000 people. The height of the mosque's dome is 43 meters.

Astana International Airport

Astana International Airport was, like the plan for the whole new city, designed by the late Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa. The Astana Metro is a planned underground construction in Astana.

Astana Train Station is an important hub for northern Kazakhstan, served by Qazaqstan Temir Zholy trains to most major cities in Kazakhstan, including Talgo expresses to Almaty. International trains leave for Russia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan, most of them with a once a week frequency. Since the summer of 2008, the schedule systems show also a direct weekly train to Urumqi (in China's Xinjiang).

Sport

Astana is home to FC Astana, a football (soccer) team in the Kazakhstan Premier League, which won the national championship in 2000, 2001 and 2006. The city is also home to the Astana Tigers basketball team who successfully took the 2004/2005 season title, as well as Barys Astana of the Kontinental Hockey League. In addition, Astana is a professional cycling team that competes on the UCI ProTour. They participated in the 2007 Tour de France wearing blue national uniforms, but were excluded during the race after the conviction of Alexander Vinokourov for illegal doping practises, and was banned from the 2008 race. Astana returned to the Tour de France in 2009 and won the overall Team Classification, with Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong finishing first and third respectively. In 2010 Contador again won the Tour de France with the Astana team, but announced in August 2010 that he would be leaving the Astana team to join the Sunguard-SaxoBank team in 2011.

Almaty

It was the capital of the Kazakh SSR and its successor Kazakhstan from 1929 to 1997. Despite losing its status as the capital to Astana in 1997, Almaty remains the major commercial center of Kazakhstan. It is located in southern Kazakhstan, near the border with Kyrgyzstan.

In 1921, the joint solemn sitting was summoned for the participation of the representative of government regional and sub-regional institutions, professional trades, the Muslim people to make a decision to assign a new name to Verniy - Alma-Ata.

In 1926, the Council of Labour and Defence approved the construction of the Turkestan-Siberia Railway railway that was a crucial element of the republic reconstruction, specifically on the east and southeast of the republic. The Turkestan-Siberia Railway construction was also a decisive economic aspect that foreordained the destiny of Alma-Ata as a capital of Kazakh ASSR. In 1930 the construction of the highway and railway to the Alma-Ata station was completed.

On 2 March 1927, It was the initiative of the Central Executive Committee of the Kazakh Republic to transfer the capital from Kyzyl-Orda to Alma-Ata.

Climate

Almaty features a humid continental climate with very warm summers and cold winters. Its wettest months are April and May, during which about a third of the city's annual precipitation is received. August and September are the driest months where on average under 30 mm (1.18 in) of precipitation is seen.

Almaty is the former capital of Kazakhstan, and is still its largest city. Being a financial and cultural center of Central Asia, Almaty boasts moderately-sized tourist and expatriate communities.

On a clear day you can see the beautifully rugged, snow capped mountains, right at the city's doorstep to the south. The city, in general, slopes from south to north which makes navigating the streets easy. If you are traveling uphill, you're going south. There is also a small mountain range bordering the city to the east.

Almaty is in the top 50 most expensive cities worldwide. Although Almaty dropped from 30th place in 2007 to 44th in 2008, it's still more expensive than Toronto, Los Angeles or Hamburg. Nevertheless, it is a wonderful gateway to this undiscovered and distinctive country. Kazakh people are very kind and welcoming, and you will be pleasantly surprised by the hospitality. Almaty hosted the England v. Kazakhstan WC2010 football game on 6 June 2009.

For people from most countries, the easiest way to get to Kazakhstan is by air. Several airlines have regular flights into Almaty, including the low-cost carrier airBaltic from Riga, Lufthansa, CSA, Etihad Airways, KLM, bmi and Turkish Airlines, to name a few. It's roughly a 7-8 hour flight from Europe. Kazakhstan Airlines is no longer operational, leaving Air Astana [1] the national carrier of the country and operator of most domestic routes. Air Astana, with a fairly modern fleet of Airbuses and Boeings, has direct flights from major European cities such as London, Frankfurt and Amsterdam, and is a comfortable and reasonably priced alternative to the European airlines. Visas must be obtained in advance of arrival, as they are no longer available on arrival at the airport, (unless you are arriving from a country that has no consulate, and that type of plane-side visa usually needs to be coordinated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at least one week in advance).

Easy connections from Almaty include Moscow, London Heathrow, Amsterdam, Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, Turkey, Seoul, Beijing, Delhi and Dubai with direct flights. Etihad Airways, [www.etihadairways.com], flies 4 times a week to Abu Dhabi, Air Arabia flies to Sharjah twice a week and Air Astana flies to Dubai daily. The airport is small, but getting busier by the day. Sometimes, several flights depart around the same time, meaning shocking queues and waits for no apparent reason. Be early, and expect delays to your flight. Lots of departures from Almaty end up leaving a bit late, but most arrivals are pretty timely. A taxi from the airport to the city costs about $20 - $25.

Furmanov street

From 1966 to 1971, 1,400,000 square meters of public and cooperative housing were put into operation. Annually, around 300,000 square meters of dwellings were under construction. It was the period of constructing earthquake-proof multi-storied buildings. Construction unification and type-design practice diversified architectural forms. At that time lots of schools, hospitals, cultural and entertainment facilities were constructed, including Lenin's Palace, Kazakhstan Hotel, and the «Medeo» sports complex.

Downtown Almaty as seen from Kok Tobe

An aerial tramway line connects downtown Almaty with a popular recreation area the top of Kok Tobe (Kazakh: К?кт?бе, which means 'Blue Hill'), a mountain just to the southeast. The city television tower, Alma-Ata Tower, is located on the hill, as well as a variety of amusement-park type attractions and touristy restaurants.

Well, Astana and Almaty are the biggest cities of Kazakhstan and very popular for tourists because Astana and Almaty has many beautiful interesting places. Now this cities are developing more and more.

city capital temperature tower

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