Astana Kazakhstan, located along the legendary Silk Road, was once an important center where traders from China, Russia, and other parts of Central Asia came to trade cattle and agricultural products. The current capital city was called Akmola in the late 1800s, but its name changed to Astana in 1998, seven years after Kazakhstan gained independence after the fall of the Soviet Union. Today, Astana is an important political center of Kazakhstan and a growing tourist attraction, thanks to the modern attractions and entertainment complexes in the city. During any travel to Astana, the city's architecture is one of the first things to catch the eye, as the artistic ensembles created by talented architects combine modern design with a traditional feel of the Orient.
On a typical Astana tour, tourists will see the modern architectural marvels as well as the museums of the capital city. The Palace of Peace and Reconciliation is one of prime architectural spotlights of Astana. The 250-foot pyramidal structure was inaugurated in 2006 as a host to The Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, and the five-story structure is an important landmark of Astana Kazakhstan and now attracts tourists from around the world.
Anyone looking for urban entertainment should consider a trip to Duman, a lively complex comprising a 4D theater, oceanarium, dome area, cafes, and souvenir shops. Travelers on an Astana tour with children should not miss the oceanarium because of its vibrant sea life and educational events. There are more than 100 species of sea creatures collected from different parts of the world, and special shows such as Feeding of the Sharks guarantee entertaining moments. The special 4D Motion Theater provides another visual treat as visitors can make an underwater trip that transports them back to the age of the dinosaurs. The dome area is a perfect place for history buffs, as it exhibits fragments of the Great Wall of China, among other historical curiosities. Other entertainment options at Duman include casinos, cafes, nightclubs, and special arcade rooms to play interactive games. The Duman entertainment complex is a lively and unforgettable party of any travel to Astana.
While there are a good number of architectural marvels, the Baiterek Tower is considered Astana's most famous architectural landmark. This 345-foot observation tower provides unparalleled views of the city and its attractions, and the building also includes an excellent museum, a restaurant, and an art gallery. The highest sphere has a unique golden palm print on which travelers can put their own hands. When you travel to Astana, don't forget to take your camera to capture both the awe-inspiring architecture of the Baiterek Tower and the views from its highest point.
Besides modern landmarks, Astana Kazakhstan also has several museums that exhibit historical artwork, relics, and books. Notable museums include the Atameken Map of Kazakhstan and the President's Museum. The outdoor museum at Atameken has a beautiful replica of Kazakhstan, which includes more than 200 miniature representations of Kazakh towns, natural features, and historic monuments. Travelers can take photographs, but doing so requires paying an extra fee at the front ticket office. There are also English-language tours available for travelers who don't speak Kazakh or Russian and are interesting learning more about the country's history through these models.
On an Astana tour, travelers will find a good selection of luxury and budget hotels, such as the popular Okan Intercontinental five-star hotel and the affordable Zhiger Hotel. The Okan Intercontinental is often regarded as the best five-star hotel in Astana, and it offers world-class service to its guests. Located in the city center, The Okan has modern spacious rooms equipped with sophisticated amenities, such as high-end audio/visual equipment and internet access. This hotel also provides a range of facilities including a sauna and massage center, hotel safe, indoor swimming pool, and a bar.
The Zhiger Hotel is perfect for those looking for comfortable budget accommodation in Astana. Conveniently located on the main avenue of the city, Zhiger offers easy access to Duman and other entertainment and cultural sites, and with more than 100 cozy rooms, the hotel offers all basic facilities for the budget traveler. It also organizes city tours at affordable rates, allowing guests to take advantage of the best the city has to offer without breaking the bank.