One of the main reasons why tourists visit Kazakhstan is our wonderful pristine nature, and the architectural heritage attracts a lot of attention as well. You are presented the rating of the most amazing architectural constructions in Kazakhstan: starting from the era of clay, wood and stone to modern materials - concrete, steel and glass.
1. A Yurt (traditional Kazakh portable tent-house)
Architecture is a storehouse of rich information about the culture of certain ethnic groups. The inner construction of the yurt is the best way to tell us about the life of the Kazakh nomads. The early history of a yurt dates back to the 12th century BC, and the nomadic dwelling with a spherical dome, the so-called Kazakh yurt, was finally formed at the beginning of the 19th century. Like many years ago, a yurt today is an indispensable element in the life of the modern descendants in Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan. The main secret lies in its convenience, simplicity and practicality: it is easily transportable, quickly assembled and the felt cover saves its inhabitants from rain, wind and cold. A yurt is an inexpensive comfortable dwelling that is in no way inferior to the capital structure. The yurt is called a masterpiece of nomadic architecture.
2. Khan Shatyr
Today the main architectural masterpiece of the capital of Kazakhstan Nur-Sultan City is not only the Baiterek, but a whole list of other modern, enormous, and eye-catching skyscrapers and futuristic structures; such as The Lighter and The Northern Lights, and many more. This is a result of the rapid progress and development of the city; year after year. Nur-Sultan these days mainly attracts all its tourists because of its monumental and majestic infrastructure consisting of a bold design, one of which is the Khan Shatyr.
Translated from Kazakh, this name stands for “Khan of the tents” and has been listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the tallest tent structure in the world.
Khan Shatyr is the largest shopping and entertainment center in all of Central Asia. Forbes magazine has included Khan Shatyr in the top ten world ecologies.
It brilliantly embodies the concept of having a piece of land with an eternal summer. The unusual 150 meter high tent is made out of unique and innovative materials that regulates a constant cozy microclimate on the inside, no matter what the weather looks like outside.
Khan Shatyr is a masterpiece of modern architecture that stands out amongst the growing architectural diversity of the modern metropolis of Nur-Sultan.
3. Ahmed Khoja Yassaui’s Mausoleum and Arystan Baba’s Tomb
The city of Turkestan is famous for its beautifully designed architectural monuments.
The most outstanding of them is the mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yassawi, or as it is also called the second Mecca for the Muslim people. But it would be preposterous to talk about the mausoleum without mentioning the tomb of Arystan Baba, without which there would be no mausoleum. According to history, Arystan Baba used to be Ahmed Yassaui’s teacher.
In honor of the victory over the Golden Horde, the great emir Tamerlan planned to erect a magnificent building which is the mausoleum of St. Hodge Ahmed Yassaui. In the middle of the city of Yassy (the former name of Turkestan), an unprecedented feat of construction was about to unfold, in which every townsman took part. But inexplicably, the walls got ruined. After that, Tamerlane has a dream where he saw Ahmed Yassaui asking him to build a mausoleum for his teacher first.
Tamerlan erected a monumental shrine on the site, consisting of a small two-room mausoleum built by the followers of Arystan Baba after his death in the12th century.
The tomb of Arystan Baba was repeatedly destroyed due to weather conditions and was restored again. So in 1971, at the expense of local residents, the Arystan Bab mausoleum was rebuilt from burnt brick. The only reminder of the construction methods once used in Tamerlane’s era, are the ancient carved columns which are carefully stored in it.
The sacred and majestic mausoleum of Ahmed Yassaui proudly stands tall at 37.5 meters. Its construction was completed only two centuries later in 1405. The incredible energy of the tomb allows you to understand the story and touch the Kazakh culture.
Majority of travellers start their pilgrimage to the mausoleum of Ahmed Yassaui precisely with a visit to Arystan-Baba’s tomb, before setting off for the main Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca.
4. The Kazakhstan hotel
In the second half of the 20th century, the development of Almaty city was almost experimental in its nature. Thanks to this, a lot of ambitious old time ideas in the style of Soviet modernism, gave rise to quite some amazing feats of architecture. For example, a 102-meter 25-story skyscraper which was considered the tallest building in Almaty for 32 years. Despite the fact that it was not allowed to construct buildings above 12 floors due to the high seismic activity of the area.
Thanks to brand-new construction method that was quite innovative for those days, The Kazakhstan Hotel remains the most earthquake-resistant building in Almaty to this day.
The tower with a golden crown on its roof is the hallmark of our southern capital.
There is a world-famous religious attraction site located in Almaty city which was built of wood with virtually no nails using unique ancient architectural technology. The Ascension Cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Church is one of the eight tallest buildings in the world made out of wood. The interior of the temple is decorated with drawings, stucco moldings and wrought-iron ornaments which give special splendor to this holy place.
The sad part of the building’s history is that this unique cathedral opened its doors for parishioners in 1907. Unluckily just three years later, a severe earthquake struck the city, destroying almost all the buildings around. Thanks to the special construction techniques, the cathedral was amongst the few buildings which were not damaged.
Today, the temple hosts daily services for hundreds of Christians. And the cathedral itself bears the title of a unique historical monument, not only in Kazakhstan but throughout the world.
6. TV Tower Kok Tobe.
The Kok-Tobe TV Tower was built to perform clear technical tasks. But the elegant, unique architectural design and the height of the construction made the TV Tower a symbol of Almaty city.
The newest and most innovative construction methods of the time were used during its construction.
Can you imagine that in order to ensure the stability of 372 meter tower on clay soil, a concrete foundation weighing 45 thousand tons had to be built. Despite the fact that the total weight of the tower is 50 thousand tons.
Thanks to the pendulum damper system, the TV tower cannot be affected by any strong gusts of wind and has a high seismic stability up to 10 points on the Richter scale.
The TV tower ranks second in Kazakhstan in the ranking of the highest buildings. And it takes 14th place in the world.
7. The Underground Mosque Becket Ata.
The Underground Mosque Becket Ata is located nearby Aktau city in the tract of Oglandy. The main architectural feature is that this mosque is carved into the rock. This is not just a cave, but a carved area of several completed rooms.
The walls of the mosque are decorated with Arabic and Persian inscriptions.
The hermit Beckett built four architectural monuments like this in Kazakhstan during his life. Every year, thousands of believers come to pray at the shrine.