«Baiterek» – the main symbol of Astana
Even in 1999, the President of the Republic proposed the idea of constructing a facility that has its roots in the ancient tradition. The head of state even drawn the sketch. Among many projects of architects from different countries the idea of «Baiterek» was responded and selected. «Astana — Baiterek» monument was built in 2002 in the center of Astana. This monument shows that the history of Kazakh people is like a mighty tree with a spreading crown and long, strong roots going into seven layers deep into the earth. My roots go far, and leaves rise high, we still will grow and develop, so this is the meaning of this facility.
Baiterek in the center of Astana propping up the sky. Building height is 97 meters, symbolizing the year of the proclamation of the new capital. Baiterek on architectural design consists of three parts:
– The first part – the lower level, goes 4–5 meters in depth. There is a small model of the underwater kingdom – 7 meter high aquarium, where fish swim.
– The second part – body of Baiterek, metal construction. Two fast and silent elevators of «MITSUBISHI» company used there.
– The third part – a ball 22 meters in diameter and 300 tons weight made of «chameleon» glass of «SUN GLAS» company, which changes color depending on the sun, symbolizing the golden egg of magic bird Samruk.
To visit the glass ball rise in panoramic elevators to the very height of Baiterek. First get to the platform, where on the height of 93 meters admire the city. New administrative center is seen in full view. Akorda, Government House, the alley of fountains, the Senate, the Majilis, the Supreme Court, buildings of Foreign Affairs, Defence, Transport and Communication Ministries, buildings of «KazMunaiGas», «KazTransOil» companies – everything is blooming before our eyes.
From the high tower the huge steppe seems magical and you look long at the immense horizon, until it disappears into the night. At the very highest level – 97 meters there is the first President’s palm print «Ayaly – Alakan». When you put a hand, the song «Menin Elim» sounds and it seems that all of Kazakhstan is singing along with you.
When at night admiring the tower, specially installed night lightings color Baiterek in up to five hundred shades, such illumination is achieved by special computer tools.
Today «Astana – Baiterek» has become a favorite place not only for the city residents, but for all visitors from near and far abroad. In 2002, on the X-th International Competition of the International Association of the Architects Unions of CIS and Moscow, St. Petersburg cities, it won the Grand Prix and Gold Medal. In 2003 in Bulgaria, in Sofia city on a global architecture triennial Astana won the silver medal for the architecture of the new city. In the same year, on the festival of architects in Bishkek Astana unanimously awarded the Grand Prix and Gold Medal.
That’s Baiterek like bird Samruk hovering over the world …
Palace of Peace and Consent
Palace of Peace and Consent is one of the sightseeing attractions of the capital. Pyramid has become a symbol of unity of different religions, ethnicities and cultures, and openness of the people and the state around the world. The idea of creating a «Palace of Peace and Consent» belongs to the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev and was presented by him on the first «Congress of World and Traditional Religions» held on September 23–24, 2003 in Astana. The construction of the pyramid was completed in 2006, and the concert hall was opened by Montserrat Caballe.
This construction was created by world-renowned architect Norman Foster, specifically for the «Congress of leaders of world and traditional religions». Its uniqueness lies not only in the purpose for which it was built, but in the principle of «Fibonacci golden ratio», to which the pyramid was built. At the base there is a square with a side of 62 meters, and the height is also equal to 62 meters.
Pyramid itself symbolizes the three main concepts of many religions – the dungeon, which is made in dark colors, and medium of the pyramid symbolizes peace, and is made in white colors, and the sky – the glass top of the pyramid.
Undoubtedly, the Palace of Peace and Consent is one of the attractions of the capital. Pyramid has become a symbol of unity of different religions and cultures, and openness of the people and the state around the world. Conference rooms and exhibition areas, art galleries, presentation complexes equipped with modern facilitates and others are located in the Palace of Peace and Consent.
The internal layout of the Palace is interesting. The building is divided into five floors. On the ground floor there is a concert and opera hall for 1500 seats. There you can hold various meetings and conferences of the international level, various theatrical events, concerts, the opera and ballet. Acoustics is special, like you get in the atmosphere of the ancient Greek amphitheater.
The largest hall is «Cheops Atrium», with an area over 2 000 sq.m. Admits the composition «General Plan of Astana 2030», which is just striking due to its size.
On the fifth floor of the Palace of Peace and Consent there is a hall «Cradle», which took the world famous conference of leaders of world religions. «Winter Garden» stretched around the hall admiring the variety of vegetation from around the world. A huge pyramid crowned by a glass dome featuring 130 doves symbolizing the people of Kazakhstan. Dome lights at night and it is like a beacon, showing the way to the symbol of the unity of religions, cultures and peoples.
Remarkable elevators that move not just up, but also diagonally to the top of the pyramid.
Opera and Ballet Theatre «Astana Opera»
The State Opera and Ballet Theatre “Astana Opera” was founded on the initiative of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev in 2013. “A country, that builds factories and roads, creates a firm foothold for years to come. A country, that builds schools and hospitals, takes care of the future of a nation for decades. A country, that builds theatres, looks forward for the coming centuries…” Nursultan Nazarbayev said at the official opening of the theatre.
Situated on the left bank of the Ishim River, the Astana Opera House is striking in its splendor. The Astana Opera is on a par with the world’s leading opera houses, such as La Scala in Milan, the Teatro Real in Madrid, the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow and the Metropolitan Opera in New York among others.
The theatre is situated on a plot of almost 9 hectares. The building itself is 64,000 square metres. Of these, about 3,000 square metres is the stage area. The Astana Opera House impresses not only by its scale, but also by its architectural refinement. It is constructed on the basis of the best classical architectural traditions and entwined therein, are Kazakh national motifs.
There is a portico at the Astana Opera main entrance, which is decorated with two sculptural compositions, “A Kobyz Player” and “A Girl with Zhetygen” sculptured by M. Mansurov and T. Yermekov. Quadriga, installed on the top of the theatre exterior, is the image of the Saki queen Tomiris driving a chariot (sculptured by Kanat Nurbaturov).
The vestibule, the lobby, auditoriums and the main stage are built in a high-style architectural classicism. The Main Auditorium seats 1,250 people and the Chamber Hall seats 250.
According to its technical capabilities, the Astana Opera is on a par with the world’s famous opera houses and sometimes exceeds them.
All the premises, including auxiliary spaces (the backstage, various workshops, huge warehouses and numerous rehearsal rooms) and all the theatrical mechanism, conform to world standards.
Two wings and the backstage are located next to the central stage. The scenery is put together in a large backstage area, where it is pre-assembled. Dimensions of the stage enable to utilize its space for simultaneous accommodation of several ready-made sets. Technology organized in this manner will allow up to three stage sets, not counting the one that is already placed on the stage, to be fully prepared for stage performance (opera, ballet, play, concert etc.) at the same time. With the help of a forklift, this scenery moves from one platform to another, which provides a quick and easy change of scenery.
The orchestra pit is designed for 120 musicians and, if necessary, can be used to expand the stage area.
The Theatre’s chamber music hall can accommodate 250 people. It is designed for chamber music concerts, performances of various music ensembles, chamber choir, or small symphony orchestra performances etc. A team of leading experts from Italy and Germany worked on the acoustics; as a result, a unique sound characteristic is achieved. Today, everything is done to ensure that the creative content of the theatre in no way concedes to the splendour of its architecture.
Even now, classical opera and ballet masterpieces, as well as modern performances by world-class artists adorn the stage of the Astana Opera House.
On 21 June 2013, the opera “Birzhan-Sara” written by the great Kazakh composer M. Tolebayev officially opened the first season of the Astana Opera. In the autumn of the same year, the inauguration of the Astana Opera House took place. The theatre was presented to the world community with G. Verdi’s “Attila”.
Sovereign Kazakhstan’s new capital has a unique architectural ensemble in terms of artistic meaning and scale. An important element of the city’s central area is Akorda – the residence of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The residence is a compositional and conceptual centre of the city’s architecture. The key points of Astana’s design axis are: “Khan Shatyr” – “Bayterek” – “Akorda” – “The Palace of Peace and Accord” – “Kazak Eli”. This composition visually embodies the ideas of preserving the continuity of the Great steppes’ traditions, promotion of Eurasian culture of tolerance and creation of strong Kazakhstan that aspires to achieve heights of the modern world civilization.
Akorda is one of the visible images of the country’s new philosophy of development. The symbolical and functional designation of the residence was fully reflected in the design of front facades and interiors, in their stylistic and a colour scheme. The building’s design that is traditional for the European architecture has been given new features. By its concept and realization Akorda embodies the image of Kazakhstan’s independence. Kazakh and eastern motifs in the palace’s architectural decoration are expressed by a theme of circles and ornamental decor. The project’s distinctive feature and its exclusive is a unique collection of Kazakh fine arts works that contributes to the residence’s stylistic wholeness. Metaphorically it reflects a steppe civilization in the mirror of the European culture, a synthesis of arts of the planet’s largest continent – Eurasia. The aesthetic system of the building’s external shape and interiors harmoniously goes back to best samples of the traditional European architecture. The works of the Kazakhstani artists exhibited at the residence make up the very balance of the western and eastern cultures Kazakhstan is proud of while positioning itself as a state that unites cultures of great civilizations.
The residence’s construction began in 2001. The authors aimed to create an unrepeatable, unique complex which would symbolize power and dynamism of the swiftly developing country. Well-known architects of Europe and Kazakhstan were involved in the project. Among them were renowned European designers M.Gualazzi and A.Molteni. The interiors in national style were produced according to the academician K.Montakhayev’s expert opinion. Experts and workers of 26 nationalities and from ten countries of the world worked on construction of the major state building.
The official presentation of the new Palace of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan took place on December 24, 2004. The total area of the building makes up 36 720 square meters.
The building is made from solid concrete with the use of the most up to date construction methods and advanced engineering equipment. The building’s height together with the spike makes up 86 m. The building consists of five ground floors and two underground floors. The first floor’s height makes up 12 m.
A special attention is paid to an external landscaping – the integral part of the ensemble. The area in front of Akorda accentuates stateliness of the main facade. The solemn atmosphere is created by the fountain and flower paths.
The approach and asphalt paths, landscape architectural elements, parking zones fit well into the composition. The territory is enclosed by a decorative fencing with illumination.
Monument «Kazakh Eli»
There was no monumental object like his before since Kazakhstan became sovereign. It is a unique architectural structure and has no analogs in the world. The total area of the monument is 5.2 hectares, and it holds a special place in the history of the people. «Kazakh Eli» – a vast complex, reflecting the ancient history, culture and achievements of Kazakh people.The monument is 91 meters high. Symbolizes the year when Kazakhstan became independent. At the top there is a bird Samruk, which demonstrates the commitment of Kazakhstan to the further development and prosperity. That’s why this architectural and sculptural complex called «Kazakh Eli». This is the symbol of independence.
The complex with great compositional content, which has absorbed the past and present of Kazakh people made of white marble. The monument is not only a symbol of independence; it is a sign of unity, solidarity and eternity of the national spirit. Thus, the pedestal of the monument is decorated with bas-reliefs from four sides, telling the story of the people. The first bas-relief – «The President and the people». The central image is the figure of president Nursultan Nazarbayev, who, with his hand on the Constitution, takes the oath, which symbolizes supremacy of law in an independent state. There are people prominently located behind the President, embodying residents of the great friendly country. And doves symbolize freedom and peace.
Bas-relief located in the southern part of the monument called «Courage». It was made assuming that the protection of the state is a major and sacred value of Kazakh people. The bas-relief shows a chronological view of valor, heroism and courage inherent in the people of Kazakhstan. The bas-relief located in the western part of the monument called «Creation». It tells the story of the epochal stages of development and prosperity of the people since the nomadic way of life to space travel. In this part you will see the metallurgist and oiler, engineer, farmer, builder and astronaut who made an invaluable contribution to the socio-economic development of the country. «The Future» bus-relief is located in the eastern part. It is dedicated to the youth of Kazakhstan, which seeks to achieve the heights of science, culture and sport. Symbolically, in the center of the composition there are young married, indicating elevation of family values that call for strengthening the institution of marriage and family – the basis of the Kazakh society.
The National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan
National Museum of the country was opened on the initiative and direct instruction of the Head of State Nursultan Nazarbayev. At this point his fund has over 175 thousand exhibit items.
On March 17, 1998 there was an extended session of the State Commission for hosting the year of national unity and national history, during which the Head of State spoke to the intellectuals: people of art, literature and religion, and for the first time announced the idea of establishing a national museum, and also defined the basic structure of the future museum. Om the extended meeting of the Community Council for realization of the program «Cultural Heritage», in accordance with the instruction of the President, the Akimat of Astana and the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Kazakhstan started to take practical steps to establish the museum of international level.
Construction of the museum was carried out at the expense of funds allocated by JSC «KazMunaiGas». General contractor was the company «Basis Project LTD», and the design project was developed by the South Korean company «Desiqn be Art» jointly with Kazakhstani designers; construction work was successfully carried out by Turkish company Turkuaz Construction LLP.
National Museum opened its doors to visitors in July 2014 with the participation of the President and harmoniously complemented the general view on the Independence Square, which combined the symbol of statehood – the monument «Kazakh Eli», the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, the National University of Arts and the mosque «Hazrat Sultan».
The amazing building consists of seven blocks with variable height from two and up to eight floors, with a total area of 74 thousand square meters. For example, the exposition area reaches 14 thousand square meters, the scope of museums covers 5000 square meters.
Visitors will be introduced to the history of the country by the halls of ancient and medieval history, the history of gold, ethnography of independent Kazakhstan, Astana and contemporary art. In addition to the exhibition halls there are Research Institute «Ulttyk Miras – National Heritage», restoration workshops, laboratories, museums, places of temporary exhibitions, library with reading rooms, conference room equipped with simultaneous translation equipment.
The exposition of the Ancient and Medieval History Hall represents the tools and everyday objects of the Stone Age, archaeological objects of Bronze and Iron Ages, as well as artifacts of the medieval history of Kazakhstan (ceramics, numismatics, tools), so there is a general idea of ancient and medieval history of the country. The exposition of the history hall shows the history of Kazakhstan in XV-XX centuries and reveals the main stages of the history of formation and development of the Kazakh Khanate and the history of nationalist rebellions of the Kazakh people.
The exposition of the Halls of gold demonstrate golden articles of the ancient nomads of Kazakhstan – the unique finds from archaeological excavations. «Golden Man» found on Issyk burial mound, Sarmatian warrior in Atyrau, as well as priceless finds from ancient settlements Chilikty and Berel, burial ground Taldy excite genuine admiration for the ancient nomadic culture. The exposition of the Ethnography hall provides a variety of jewelry, costumes, traditional Kazakh dwelling – yurt, as well as objects of everyday life of the Kazakh people. Also, the creation of the exchange fund based on experience of Russia and other countries allows to get rare exhibits from abroad.
The great interest of visitors is the story of the formation and development of independent Kazakhstan. In this context, the chronicle of a quarter-century, full with struggles for independence and search for new ways is clearly reflected in the halls of independent Kazakhstan and Astana. The hall of Independent Kazakhstan widely and in a flexible manner presents the history, politics, economics, culture and art of the country, which is the successor of the ancient Turks and found its way of development.
The exposition of the Hall of Astana is of particular interest, which reveals the history of the young capital of Kazakhstan. Recent history is told by the language of photos, plans, diagrams, models, archival documents and objects. In the hall of Astana the focus will be a unique dynamic layout of Astana and media field, which together will make a colorful show with a large curved screen image. Trilingual media guide is the faithful guide, with whom the visitors can easily get around all the rooms of the museum.
Museum of the First President of Kazakhstan
Museum of the First President was launched on July 4, 2005 in the building -former residence of the head of state, one of the most beautiful buildings in the city of Astana. Unique pieces of furniture, interiors forming a single complex remained intact. Museum exhibits disclose important stages of the sovereign Kazakhstan and talk about the life and work of the first President of our country.
The first exhibition room starts with map of endless Kazakh land and taking oath ceremony of the First President of Kazakhstan. Scientific-reference, systematic registration and the museum storage system corresponds to world-class museums. Today, the museum houses more than 60,000 artifacts, among which you can find archival manuscripts and printed materials,films and photographs, works of fine and decorative arts, weapons, personal items, documents, and a collection of awards of the First President of Kazakhstan. The museum fund presents gifts and awards, which were presented to the President of Kazakhstan by heads of foreign states and governments, international organizations and funds, the world’s leading companies, citizens of our country. The exhibits are interesting and as priceless relics, and as remarkable works of art.
Scientific works of the head of state and prominent people of our time are also held. Many of them are unique, because they have autographs.
The museum contains archival materials on the way of becoming from the simple metallurgist to the president, the historical moments connected with great labor in Dneprodzerzhinsk, Temirtau, Karaganda cities.
President’s 1 and 2 reception rooms and his office remained unchanged in the Museum.
Today the Museum of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan has established itself as the authoritative research, educational and cultural center, which became one of the attractions of the capital of our country.
Everyone is familiar with the historical fact of the fateful transfer of the capital to Astana in the period of the young state forming, and how difficult the decision was made by the President. Today Astana is Kazakhstan’s pride, a symbol of unification of the state and the embodiment of the national idea. Kazakhstan’s development is closely linked to the future of the capital, that is legally a part of the new image of the country. Exhibits portray the stages of development of independent Kazakhstan and the role of the First President of the country in these transformations.
Triumphal Arch «Mangilik Yel»
Triumphal arch is 20 meters high, which symbolizes the 20th anniversary of independence. The observation deck of the arch can be reached by a spiral staircase. The side walls are decorated with complex Kazakh ornaments. At the bottom on the base of each of the four sides there are massive sculptures. They are all a collective image of people who have made invaluable contributions to the long history of the Kazakh people. Thus, the sculpture of Aksakal (elder) is the symbol of wisdom, native spirituality and minds of the people, and the sculpture of Mothers symbolize kindness and sincerity. The third and fourth sculptures show heroic deeds and courage of Kazakh warriors. At the top of the arch there is the State Coat of arm of the Republic of Kazakhstan. On the side parts there are also unique niches, where the symbolic figure of «Tai kazan» embody unity, hospitality and prosperity. On the top there is Kazakh soldiers shield «Kalkan». At all times it represented the threat protection, reliability, resistance and victory. Inside the archway lettering on the achievements of the Kazakh people in different periods is embossed. There is also a reprint of the first document which defined the beginning of Kazakhstan Independence by law – the Declaration of State Sovereignty. Fragments that reveal the content of Independence, in modern times are «Akorda», «Baiterek» and other facilities.