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Rising From The Steppe: Kazakhstan’s Capital Turns 20
July 05, 2018
Once an obscure township on Kazakhstan’s wolf-plagued plains, Astana has outgrown its teen years and is now firmly established as the country’s capital city.
An overview of today's Astana with Kazakhstan's White House-like presidential palace in the center.
Today’s Astana began life in 1830 as a Cossack fortress looming over the Ishim River. By the end of that century, the outpost had grown into a bustling trading town, spiked with the spires of three Orthodox churches.
During the Soviet era, the town (pictured in 1979) was chosen as one of the centers for an ill-fated project to transform the steppes of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic into a sea of wheat.
Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in a wheat field near today’s Astana in 1964. The town at the time was named Tselinograd, based on the Russian word “tselina,” meaning “virgin lands.”
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