The idea of building a new capital that meets modern requirements belongs to the Head of State Nursultan Nazarbayev. And 19 years ago the country unveiled its new capital to the whole world. On the eve of the Capital's Day Kazinform offers a chronology of the most important dates in the history of Astana.
In 1994, Nursultan Nazarbayev voiced his idea to move the capital. On July 6, 1994, the Supreme Council decided to move the capital from Almaty to Akmola. Akmola was situated almost in the geographical center of the country close to the main points of Kazakhstan's economic growth, at the crossroads of large transport arteries, near the trans-Eurasian ways.
Back then the city's population was about 290,000 people. The city had great potential for growth, the architects determined that in the central part of the city there were about 30 hectares of free space for the construction of new buildings and neighborhoods. In addition, there were no significant obstacles to further development. The city's support systems were in great condition and the transport infrastructure was modernizable, i.e. it was possible to cover all the city's needs at a low cost. And the main argument for Akmola was a stable ecological situation, which could be preserved in the future.
On December 10, 1997, Akmola was declared the capital of Kazakhstan.
On May 6, 1998, the President issued a decree on renaming the city to Astana. And modernization of the city in accordance with the capital status continued.
On June 10, 1998, the new capital of Kazakhstan was officially presented to the world. In the same year, UNESCO awarded Astana the "City of the World" title and a medal. This title is appropriated to young cities that managed in a short time to achieve successes in social and economic development and established stable inter-ethnic relations.
Astana has 15 twin cities, including Moscow, Berlin, Warsaw, Minsk, Kiev, Ankara, and Bangkok.
On September 23-24, 2003, Astana hosted the first Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, which was attended by the most influential representatives of Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Shintoism, Hinduism, and Buddhism.
In June 2007, Nursultan Nazarbayev proposed to create the Eurasian Science Club. The Club was established on June 27, with the assistance of the Ministry of Economy and Budget Planning and the Institute for Economic Research. Since then Astana holds the Astana Economic Forum annually.
In October 2009, the "Kazakh Yeli" monument was opened in the main square of the country along Independence Avenue.
In July 2010 "Khan Shatyr" SEC was opened. It was designed by a famous British architect Norman Foster. The building is 150 meters high with a total area of 127,000 sq.m.
On December 1-2, 2010, Astana hosted an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Summit.
Between January-February 2011, it along with Almaty became home for the VII Winter Asian Games. The games became the first major sporting event to be held Kazakhstan.
On June 28-30, 2011 Kazakh capital hosted the 38th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
In 2011, on the 20th anniversary of Independence, the "Magilik Yel" Triumphal Arch was unveiled.
On May 30-31, 2012 the fourth Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions was held, the main theme of which was "Peace and harmony as the choice of mankind". 85 delegations from 40 countries took part in this forum.
On December 22, 2012, Astana won 161 votes of the International Exhibition Bureau member-states and was elected to hold the international specialized exhibition EXPO-2017. The initiative of holding the exhibition belongs to the Head of State.
On June 10-11, 2015, the main city of Kazakhstan hosted the fifth Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. The event was attended by more than 80 delegations from 42 countries, as well as then the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, King of Jordan Abdullah II, and the President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö.
The main event of 2017 not only for Astana but for the whole Kazakhstan was the opening of the international specialized EXPO-2017. The opening ceremony took place in the Congress Center and continued with a concert program at the Amphitheater. After the concert, the audience was shown a laser show in the Sphere and fireworks.
115 states and 22 international organizations are taking part in this major international event in Kazakh capital. The organizers expect more than 2 million people to visit the EXPO.