In 1997, the President of sovereign Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, suggested to move the capital from Almaty to Akmola. This decision was based on the important geo-political location of the city in the center of Kazakhstan and the Eurasian continent as well as on the availability of transport and communication infrastructure. The capital’s new location was also chosen for the availability of space and land which would allow the city to develop.
Today, Astana covers an area of 710.2 square km with a population of over 700 thousand people.
Astana is a city which offers good education and good job prospects. The rapid population growth is due above all to the migration inflow of predominantly highly-skilled specialists between 20 and 45 years old. According to municipal authorities, the average salary matches the average salary in the country’s oil and gas regions whilst the unemployment rate is one of the lowest in Kazakhstan. High birth and marriage rates have also contributed to Astana’s natural development.
Astana is an important cultural and scientific center in Kazakhstan. It hosts the National Academy of Sciences, universities, the National Library, the National Museum, modern art galleries, the Center for Social and Economic Technologies, business centers, children’s parks, and water amusements.
Astana mirrors the realities of a modern multinational and multi-confessional Kazakhstan: representatives of all races and major religions live and work together. The city has become a venue for a number of public forums dedicated to interethnic and interfaith cooperation.