Astana by night, a Blade Runner experience

Astana was built from scratch – Or, should I say, is being built from scratch, as construction is still going on. When having a look at my 22th floor hotel room, I got the impression to be watching a science fiction movie on TV…

Capture d’écran 2014-06-11 à 09.17.16

Just a medium-sized provincial city known for its bitter winters when President Nazarbaev named it out of the blue in 1994 as the country’s future capital, Astana replaced Almaty in 1997. Since then its skyline has grown more fantastical by the year as a reported 8% of the national budget is lavished on transforming vast acreage south of the Ishim River into a new governmental-administrative zone, with daring buildings combining Islamic, Soviet, Western and wacky futuristic influences.

Capture d’écran 2014-06-11 à 09.21.36

When you pay closer attention to the view, you can identify a large round square, surrounded with arcade buildings. And behind, a blue ship, in fact a contemporary vision of a yurt by Norman Foster… This yurt is the beginning of a ten kilometers East-West avenue that ends with another Norman Foster piece of work, a pyramid…
In the coming days, I’ll share an image gallery of the most spectacular buildings I got to see in this fantasy city.

Capture d’écran 2014-06-11 à 09.30.58

Why did Nazarbaev (the President, already leading the country in USSR times…) moved Kazakhstan’s capital from Almaty to Astana in 1997 ? First of all, Astana is a more central location and has greater proximity to Russia. But in addition, he may also have wanted to mollify Kazakhstan’s restive Russian population, concentrated in the north of the country. Despite incredulity at first, the new capital is there to stay and Astana is being transformed at great cost with impressive, sometimes spectacular, new buildings…

 

One thought on “Astana by night, a Blade Runner experience

  1. yes ! very impresive… dfficult to imagine such a city in the reality…
    I’m looking forward seeing your next pictures !

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