Astana is the capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Astana was founded in 1830. In those days it was named Akmola which translates as ”white grave”. In 1830 Kazakhstan was becoming united with Russia and Russian people were moving to Kazakhstan. In the 1850s a railway line was built to Akmola.
Akmola became an important administrative centre. A lot of trade was done here. Some factories were set up. There was a lot of fighting around Akmola in the 1920s. This was the time of the Russian Civil War. Eventually the Soviet Government regained control of the area. The Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic was founded. The Kazakh S S R was part of the USSR. The captial of Kazakhstan was Almaty.
People from other parts of the Soviet Union moved to Akmola in the 1930s. They were from Russia, the Ukraine, Belarus and Georgia for example.
In the Second World War some factories in Akmola made weapons for the Red Army. Soldiers from Akmola fight bravely. This helped the Red Army to win.
After the Second World War the Soviet Government saw that Kazakhstan could be good for farming. The new leader was Nikita Khruschev. Khruschev was the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Khruschev said that Kazakhstan was full of virgin lands. He moved many more people to Akmola. He renamed the city Tselinograd.
In 1991 the Soviet Union came to an end. The Soviet Union divided into 15 countries. One of them was Kazakhstan. AFter a few years the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, decided to move the capital to Akmola. He did this in 1997. Akmola was renamed Astana.
Astana has almost 800 000 people. Astana is world famous for its architecture. It is a city of the future. It has many lines of symmetry. There are enormous and very impressive buildings. Akorda Palace is the presidential palace. It is a beautiful and stunning building. The Beyterek is a fantastic stylised tree. This wonderful building is based on the old Kazakh legend of a bird that laid a golden egg. From the top of this structure you can see for many miles.
There are plenty of shopping centres around the main square. There are lots of five star hotels and fabulous restaurants. The Khan Shatyr is a magnificent shopping and entertainment centre. It looks like a tent. Architecture here is very daring and ambitious. No expense is spared. The Palace of Peace and Reconciliation is another awe striking building in the shape of a pyramid. There is a very tall flag pole near Duman Hotel. There are also buildings with arches and these are very attractive to look at.
The city is growing rapidly. A lot of businesses have set up here. Astana is becoming ever more successful and impressive.
1. In which year was Akmola founded?
2. What is the capital of Kazakhstan?
3. What does Akmola mean in English?
4. Why was Akmola important in the 19th century?
5. What city was the capital of Kazakhstan in the 20th century?
6. Who moved many more people to Kazakhstan in the 1950s?
7. What was the name of Astana before 1997?
8. Who is the president of Kazakhstan?
9. Name another nationality that lives in Astana besides Kazakhs?
10. When did Astana become the capital?
11. Name one famous building in Astana and say why you like it? (5)
12. Why is Astana so successful? (5)