The mosque and Islamic center is spectacular. Sponsored by the Emir of Qatar (emir = something like commander or prince), the dome is 43m high, has 4 x 63m high minarets, and can accommodate 5,000 worshipers. It was built in 2005.
This looks like an enormous apartment block in downtown Astana. But maybe it is also an office block.
This is the site of a new "giant transparent tent". The structure will be covered with some form of transparent plastic that absorbs solar radiation, creating a warm, tropicl climate inside - year round, even when the steppes are bitterly cold outside. Astana is the second coldest capital city in the world with an average daily low of -21ºC (-6ºF) in January and February and it has gotten down to -52ºC (-62ºF)!
Anyhow, this new tent will cover an area of about "10 football stadiums" and "...will be a city with squares and cobbled streets, canals, shopping centres and golf courses. The idea is to recreate summer, so that when the outside temperature is -30C, the residents of the Kazakh capital can play outdoor tennis, take boat rides or sip coffee on the pavement cafes" according to the BBC news report.
Sounds like an incredibly ambitious project, but is likely to be a wonderful break from the cold for the locals in winter.
Lots of shiny new buildings everywhere...
Rush hour in Astana.
I found it really interesting that there is so much money being invested here, but literally two minutes drive out of Astana, and the roads are horrendous. We travelled great big wide open roads all over Kazakhstan, and besides in Astana itself, there was not a road where you could effectively use fourth gear. 60km/hr on a "good" road and you are asking for whiplash. I wonder if the local chiropracters offer frequent flyer miles...