Astana, Kazakhstan: from steppe to megapolis – a new destination for business events?
The history of Astana, Akmola in those days, started in 1830 when in the bare steppe a fortress was founded around which the future city expanded. As the new town was a trade centre, a cross point for travelers from Southern, and Eastern lands to other parts of the Russian Empire, it gained a status of important economic centre. Still, for over a century Akmola remained only a small town in steppe that was passed through by traders and travelers.
The pivotal time came in 1960 (at that time the town had grown to 100 thousand residents) when Nikita Khrushchev, the First Secretary of the Soviet Union Communist Party, decided to develop those lands in the framework of the new agricultural program. The town got a new name then: Tselinograd – which meant that it was a “town of soil cultivation”. With the end of the agricultural program in 1971, the town once more returned to its previous, so to say, crossroad status.
Another great change awaited the town (once again Akmola by then) in 1998 when not only it got a new name, Astana, but also became a new capital of the Republic of Kazhastan – the name “Astana” means “capital” itself. It was a real milestone for developing into the megapolis that one knows today.
Astana’s economy is based on trade, industrial production, transport, communication and construction. The city’s industrial production is mainly focused on producing building materials, foodstuff and mechanical engineering. The shift of the capital has given a powerful boost to Astana’s economic development. The city’s high economic growth rate has attracted numerous investors. In the 16 years since Astana became the capital, the volume of investments has increased by almost 30 times, the gross regional product has increased by 90 times, and industrial output has increased by 11 times.
Modern Astana is a planned city, like Brasília in Brazil, Canberra in Australia, and Washington, D.C. in the United States. As the seat of the Government of Kazakhstan, Astana is the site of the Parliament House, the Supreme Court, the Ak Orda Presidential Palace and numerous government departments and agencies. It is home to many futuristic buildings, hotels and skyscrapers.
In 2017 is yet another pivotal point for the city as it hosts the World’s Fair EXPO-2017, the main and largest international exhibition designed to display achievements of nations. It is a great honour to receive guests from all over the world and also a huge step forward for Astana as a destination.
So come and see for yourself how a small steppe fortress and town has grown into a modern megapolis and what it has to offer.