The city of Astana, Kazakhstan has some amazing architecture. Kazakhstan was part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and declared its independence in 1991. The city of Astana used to be a small settlement named Akmoly.
In 1998, the city was renamed Astana, which means “capital” in the Kazakh language and, as the name suggests, it became the capital city of Kazakhstan. It is a planned, purpose built city. With the separation from the USSR, one of the goals was to provide a fresh start for the country away from the former capital and largest city, Almaty, and away from the Soviet architecture in Almaty. The layout of the city was designed by renowned architect Kisho Kurokawa and many of the buildings in Astana are the work of other world-famous architects.
We stayed at the Marriott Astana at one end of Nurzhol Boulevard. The boulevard is a pedestrian area and is home to many, but not all, of the spectacular buildings in the city. The great thing about our stay is that we used points for our week there, so it was no money out of pocket. It was a tremendous value since it was a Marriott Category 2 hotel and only required 10,000 points per night. At the time we visited, Expo 2017 and the Eurasian Film Festival were going on and rooms were going for $400 USD per night. Check out a couple of my previous posts on how I accumulated 1.6 million airline and hotel points before retiring and how to get and use those points http://ournomadicexperience.com/introduction-to-points-hacking/ http://ournomadicexperience.com/over-million-hotel-airline-points-year/. We are also Marriott Platinum members, so we typically only had to purchase one meal per day since our status gives us access to the Executive Lounge with complimentary breakfast in the morning, heavy hor ‘d oeuvres in the evening, and snacks and drinks during the day. See my post http://ournomadicexperience.com/get-elite-hotel-status-quickly/ to see how you can get elite hotel status quickly and enjoy these perks.
Since Nurzhol Boulevard was right across the street from the Marriott, we explored one day on our own. I ran along the boulevard for my long run on the weekend. We also hired a guide for an architecture tour that also included many buildings on the boulevard. The guide we used was very good and gave us some local insights that I don’t think you could find on the internet.
Not only is the architecture very new and interesting, almost all of the buildings we saw had some symbolism related to Kazakhstan history, folklore and national symbols.