Journey One / Chapter 14

The Frozen Kingdom

December 2015

Brief visit to Astana, the new capital of Kazachstan. Brand new and extremely modern city with architecture based in glass, combined with chilling temperatures truly resembles a frozen kingdom.

I have briefly visited the city of Astana for one day. During my visit temperatures were around zero, through it is not unusal for them to go below -40 degrees in the winter. Astana is the new capital Kazachstan estabilished as such in 1997, inspiring to be worthy capital not only of Kazakhstan but of whole central asian region.

The city looks like open air museum of modern architecture. Massive investments in development build whole city in the middle of desert just within 30 years, and the development is still ongoing as strong as ever. Who knows how will the city look in another 30 years? The city is full of new high rise and modern buildings, many of which occupy banks, national and international companies, government institues and casinos.

Even through people are moving to astana on government-supported plans from all around Kazakhstan, lot of the commercial and residential buildings are still half-empty. Everybody who could afford to move here has already done so, so who is going to live in the rest? Or is the city just going to be a build up parade on the outside, with its structures remaining half empty?