Since the capital of Kazakhstan is primarily one of the largest economic and business centers of the country, foreign colleagues or business partners often come here with short working visits, in addition, from time to time high–level meetings are held among the heads of diplomatic missions. Also, travelers who cross several states at once during their long trips specially come here. But sightseeing tours to Astana are also not uncommon among the local population: thousands of Kazakhstanis come here from all over the country every year to admire its beauty. So what unites all these completely different people? Right! The lack of a lot of time to explore all the sights of the beautiful capital. How to spend 24 hours with maximum benefit and leave Astana with a huge baggage of impressions – we will tell you!
How to plan an excursion schedule?
To make the trip really interesting and exciting for you, decide: how do you imagine it? Do you want to learn as much as possible about the history of this region, to see with your own eyes samples of national and cultural heritage, or does the soul ask for unusual entertainment, grand shopping and fun? Or maybe both? The capital of Kazakhstan is good because all these directions are equally developed here. No matter how high the demands of her guests are, she will always find something to surprise them with.
When drawing up your own sightseeing plan, we recommend that you devote the first half of the day to the cultural program, and the second half to everything else.
And now, since we have clearly formed two generalized types of urban tourism in Astana, it's time to start a more detailed acquaintance with them. To make it easier for you to include a certain set of locations in your schedule, we will indicate the approximate time for visiting them everywhere (do not neglect this, otherwise in the end it will turn out that you will not have time to get to half of the planned places!).
Astana is an ideal place for cultural and educational tourism
If you don't live in Kazakhstan, you probably don't even know that the amazing city of Astana is divided into two halves – the left bank and the right bank of the Ishim River. It would seem that this should not have affected the appearance of the capital, but as you have already understood, Astana is far from the concept of "ordinary". The right part of it looks more like a Soviet city in a modern interpretation, and the left part looks like a futuristic metropolis from films about the future. For example, walking along Zheltoksan Street (on the right bank), you can find the building of the academic Russian Drama Theater named after Gorky, erected back in 1899. Lenin Avenue, now renamed in honor of the great Kazakh akyn Abai Kunanbayev, has hardly changed since Soviet times. There used to be a House of Soviets here, which is now occupied by the office of the capital's akimat. And there are a lot of such examples here: idly walking along the streets of the old city, here and there you notice buildings and architectural monuments of the XIX century that are atypical for the more modern part of Astana (the houses of merchants Kubrin and Moiseev, the first Muslim school, etc.). Among other things, an impressive number of various cultural attractions are located on both banks. However, if you are limited in time, we recommend paying attention to some of the most notable ones:
Baiterek. Perhaps this incredible structure is the very first on the list for all guests of the capital to visit. With its shape, it perfectly reflects the ancient idea of the Kazakh people about the universe. According to the architect's idea, the sparkling sphere on top of the monument is nothing more than a golden egg–the Sun, which the sacred bird Samruk laid in the branches of the tree of life, so that it would give warmth and light to all earthly beings. And it is so high because of the evil dragon Idahar, who is relentlessly hunting for an egg. Unlike many iconic buildings in the world, near which you can only make a beautiful frame, here anyone can climb inside the giant "egg" at the very top and admire the city from a bird's-eye view. In the center of the panoramic hall there is "Ayaly – Alakan" – a pedestal with an impression of the palm of the First President, to attach to which tourists have already become a kind of ritual. (1-1.5 hours)
Nur Alem Future Energy Museum. The legacy of the world exhibition "EXPO-2017" is the first high–tech museum of future energy. He literally breaks all the stereotypical ideas about such institutions. This is a huge sparkling sphere, inside which 8 thematic sections are equipped: "Solar Energy", "Wind Energy", "Space Energy", "Biomass Energy", "Water Energy", "Kinetic Energy", "National Pavilion" and "Future Astana". In each of them you will find entertaining interactive presentations, the opportunity to personally participate in various experiments and get acquainted with real technical projects of the future.
The Palace of Peace and Harmony. Almost all representatives of other nationalities, coming to Kazakhstan, are surprised at the level of national consciousness and the harmonious coexistence of hundreds of different peoples on the same land. One of the clearest examples of this is the Palace of Peace and Harmony in the form of a giant pyramid. Since it embodies the friendship of peoples and freedom of religion, even its internal structure is based on a single religious idea of the structure of the world: the lower and darkest tier is the underworld, the snow–white middle one is the world of people, the upper, completely transparent one is the heavenly kingdom. (1-2 hours)
National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan. If you have come to Astana for the first time and want to learn as many interesting historical facts as possible about the origin, development and formation of the Kazakh statehood – you are here. In this museum, a huge amount of information is presented in the most unusual form, so that every visitor can literally travel back in time, examining authentic artifacts, valuable exhibits, amazing installations and expositions. (1.5 hours)
Where is it good to rest in Astana?
After the first part of the plan is completed and you are overwhelmed with new knowledge, coupled with unforgettable impressions, you can plunge into the world of entertainment with a clear conscience, since the capital knows a lot about it! We have selected for you some of the most famous and visited locations that will definitely exceed all your expectations:
Ailand Family Recreation Center. This place literally embodies all the cherished dreams of what exactly a vacation should be. It is especially exciting for children and teenagers, but even adults sometimes do not want to leave here at all. The secret of Ailand is simple: there is an aquarium here, by the way, the most remote from the ocean! In addition, in Ailand you will find a water park with steep water slides and a swimming pool, a Jungle project that takes you to the era of dinosaurs, and of course, the highest Ferris wheel in the country! Among other things, there are a lot of nice restaurants and cafes where you can eat delicious food and take a break from so much entertainment.
Restaurants of high Kazakh cuisine. There are only a few of them and names with addresses can be easily found on the Internet. What is noteworthy is that the prices there are very reasonable, but you will get a truly colossal aesthetic and gastronomic pleasure. Be sure to take a couple of hours of your time for a delicious meal in such a place, and you will understand why interest in Kazakh cuisine is gaining momentum in the international arena faster and faster.
Opera and Ballet Theater "Astana Opera". If the restaurant didn't take too much time, then you may well catch an evening performance in this stunningly beautiful theater to enjoy art in all its manifestations. Unique architecture, interior decoration in the national style with romantic Greco-Roman notes, perfect acoustics and professional work of world and Kazakhstani stars will make your evening unforgettable.
Khan-Shatyr Shopping and Entertainment Center. Another great option to spend time in a very unusual and colorful way is to go to conquer the largest tent in the world. In addition to a huge number of boutiques with branded clothing and accessories, coffee shops, restaurants and a food court, there is a state-of-the-art cinema and an amusement park for young visitors. But the highlight of Khan Shatyr can rightfully be called Sky Beach Club. Here, under the transparent dome of a huge tent, you can soak up on a real tropical beach: soft sand, palm trees, a wave pool with azure water, great refreshing cocktails and snacks. What's not the perfect end to the day?
As you can see, 24 hours in Astana can be turned into an exciting journey full of positive emotions and unforgettable impressions! Even if you deviate from the planned course and just want to walk around the capital, rest assured, it will be able to surprise you: during the day, the Water-green Boulevard will meet you with its color, unusual buildings, fountains and sculptures, and in the evening you can walk along the embankment, watch an enchanting laser show and just admire the lights of the capital reflected in the waters of Ishim. Along the way, you will definitely meet a lot of interesting places where you can look for a light: clubs, bars, billiard rooms, amusement parks, a circus building in the shape of a flying saucer, quest rooms, entertainment centers for gamers where you can try out virtual reality simulators and much, much more! Astana is diverse and beautiful, here everyone can find what they really like.