One of the world’s youngest capitals is turning 20. In this time period, Astana has drastically changed its appearance. Unusual architectural solutions are the distinctive feature of the country’s main city. Many of the constructed buildings have become not only the capital’s sightseeing attractions, but also the architectural landmarks of the whole country – annually they attract thousands of tourists from all over the world. However, as former member of the Urban development council of Astana architect Vladimir Gladkikh recalls, 20 years ago most changes presented a true challenge.

VLADIMIR GLADKIKH, ARCHITECT:

- Technologies in 1995 were very primitive, there were no new materials, everything was familiar, common and there was a substantial deficit of construction materials. Now when construction and finishing materials plants are already constructed it is certainly easier to solve the issues.

At the space occupied by private residences, towering skyscrapers have arisen. The city started filling with fresh colors. Kazakhstan’s honored architect Serik Rustambekov recalls that during construction works they had to adjust plans because of the Esil River.

SERIK RUSTAMBEKOV, KAZAKHSTAN’S HONORED ARCHITECT:

This place used to be empty, only trees were growing. In one and a half years, the construction works have begun, the first workers were accommodated here. Because of the river bank, the water was constantly rising up. We have changed the draft and laid additional foundation.

Foreign architects – Norman Foster and Manfredi Nicoletti – were involved in the capital’s construction and design. The help of our domestic urban planners was needed to implement their grand projects. Now the new series of specialists continue the traditions of the modern architecture.

ARSENIY PIROZHKOV, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, “ASTANAGENPLAN” RESEARCH AND DESIGN INSTITUTE:

- The number of Kazakh architects has increased because we are gaining pace. That’s why specialists’ training is under way, there are young architects who studied abroad and work here as well. The number of local architects is growing and the quality of architecture has also improved.

However, transformations are not over. The capital keeps developing at a high rate. The citizens and visitors of the capital will soon have the opportunity to take light-rail trams. The project is to be completed at the end of next year. And before the end of 2018, the city authorities plan to launch the second regasification station. Preparations to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Astana are well under way in the capital.

ASSET ISSEKESHEV, MAYOR OF ASTANA:

Over 600 events are planned as part of Astana’s 20th anniversary celebration. Also Almaty city and 14 regions of the country will present their gifts to the capital. 10 new social facilities will be opened – a nursery school for 240 children, a bicycle lane, parks for citizens and visitors of the city are among others. 

Astana is the symbol of independent Kazakhstan. In twenty years, the city has turned into a huge megacity. After the official transfer the area of the capital has increased almost by 54 thousand hectares. Now Astana occupies about 80 thousand hectares

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