Central Asia’s Dubai - Astana

Central Asia’s Dubai - Astana
# 06 December 2016 14:38 (UTC +04:00)

Baku. Agshin Rafigoglu - APA-Economics. There are three capital cities in the world that names mean “capital” in the languages of those states. These cities are Beijing, Seoul and Astana. Astana is also the youngest city and capital of the world. The 19-year-old city will draw attention by hosting Astana Expo-2017 exhibition in 2017. The exhibition will be held from June 10 to September 10. In connection with this, Astana Expo-2017 State Company has invited media representatives from 6 CIS countries to Kazakhstan and created condition for them to view preparation works closely. Employee of APA-Economics was also among the 6 Azerbaijani media representatives.

A city made of glass

The temperature was +8C in Baku when we left for Astana. It was 5 a.m. in Astana, 3 a.m. in Baku when the plane landed in the airport. The temperature was -37C, approximately 3-4C higher than Arctic frost. Even thick clothes were unable to prevent feeling cold. However, there was not a wind in Astana as in Baku.

As we were tired and it was dark, we could not view the city on the road while going to hotel. I was thinking that Astana is one of other cities of the Central Asia and we’ll not have a chance to see anything better than Baku, recently decorated with new buildings. However, I was wrong…

When I looked out the window of the hotel in the morning, I saw a fascinating city. I felt myself in Dubai, to which I have never been and heard about it only on the TV. Dubai of the Central Asia. As if I was in a city made of glass. This city, made of glass, has been built in 19 years and none of the buildings look like the other one.

Lighter, dollar and cask-shaped buildings

The organizers showed us all attractive places of the city. Large streets in Astana, with population of 1 million people, are very amazing. A street is as wide as an avenue. You may think no one lives in the city as there are few cars and quietness. Even you may forget that this is the capital of the 9th largest country in the world.

Ishim river divides the city into two sections, the Right Bank of the Ishim or the old town, and the Left Bank. The new city was built in the Right Bank. It was called Tselenograd in the period of USSR. It was renamed to Akmola when Kazakhstan gained independence. Then, it was renamed in 1997. The new capital was moved to this city and called Astana, which means a capital. In the Left Bank, that’s old Astana, there are many five-floor buildings. There are some new buildings which differ from old buildings.

Ishim River was frozen and according to the local residents, the thickness of the ice was 60-40 cm. Some were skiing, some fishing on the frozen river. Totally, 4 bridges have been built on the Ishim River.

Architecture is also pretty. The interesting point is that every building has its own name among the people. For example, Kazakhstan National Bank’s building is in the shape of a waving flag. However, the people call it “dollar”. Building of the Ministry of Transport looks like a lighter and called a lighter building «by the Kazakhstanis. Building of the National Archive Department has been built in the shape of egg. Some buildings are cask-shaped. And this means Kazakhstan is an oil country”.

Headquarters of Kazakh president, parliament’s building are also distinguished for with architecture. The parliament of Kazakhstan consists of Lower House (Majilis) and Upper House. Length of Government house makes up 500 meters.

Nazarbayev’s hand and wishes...

Of course, when saying Astana, we think about Bayterek monument. This monument was almost painted on all souvenirs. Height of this monument is 105 meters. There is a circle on the monument, which symbolizes world, but the sun for some. It’s possible to see Astana from a bird's eye view on the top of Bayterek monument.

There is an excise of the right hand of Nursultan Nazarbayev, the first and current President of Kazakhstan, on the 97th meter of the monument which corresponds to 1997, the year that Astana became the nation's capital. A plaque invites visitors to place a hand in the imprint and make a wish.

Hazrat Sultan mosque is the largest mosque of Kazakhstan and the second largest mosque in the Central Asia. There is a Holy Quran belonging to 12th century.

Azerbaijan in Astana-Expo 2017

The visit aimed to get familiarized with the preparation works for the exhibition.

Everything in the place of exhibition has been reconstructed. The exhibition hall will be in a 8-floor building. Azerbaijan’s pavilion will be in the first floor in the area of 403.30 m². This indicates the positive position of organizers on Azerbaijan. Turkey’s pavilion will be in the neighbourhood of Azerbaijan’s pavilion.

In the entrance of the building, flags of countries which will participate in the exhibition have been hanged.

Kazakhstan government organized a small town for participants. The small town consists of several building. 4-6 participants will stay in each room.

Of course, Kazakhstan’s pavilion will be interesting for participants. This pavilion is a building consisting of glass circle which is visible from everywhere in Astana.

1 billion of 3 billion was spent

Akhmetjan Esimov, Management Board Chairman, Astana EXPO-2017 National Company said at the briefing for journalists: “There is a great interest in this exhibition. This interest is related to the main topic: “Energy of Future – alternative energy”. Nearly $350 billion has been invested in this sector. 90% of Costa-Rica’s energy demand is met by alternative and renewable energy”.

Yesimov said that 106 countries have already announced they will participate in Astana Expo-2017: “We are expecting 110 countries will participate in this exhibition”.

The Management Board Chairman added this exhibition is an anti-crisis project for Kazakhstan: “This project launched 80,000 jobs”.

Speaking about the financial situation, Yesimov noted that nearly $3 billion is planned to be spent for the exhibition: “Over $1 billion has been invested so far. There is no any problem in funding of projects in the future”.

He also spoke about the security: “The security issue is very important for us and created several commissions in this regard. We’ll use modern technologies to ensure the security”.

There is a question that how the buildings and infrastructure will be used after the exhibition. Yesmiov said they will try these facilities and funds invested in here to justify themselves in the future. Most of buildings will be used as concert and conference halls in the future. Of course, this infrastructure will be used as an Energy Museum for those who couldn’t visit Astana Expo-2017.

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