The Discoverer
 
The Discoverer
Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan
Edition 126   |   4:05 read time
Nur-Sultan | @andrei_pugach
New name, same city. Astana became Nur-Sultan earlier this year in honor of its first president, but it remains one of Asia’s most strangely compelling destinations. It may not have occurred to you to visit the capital of Kazakhstan before, but the more you learn about this fascinating city, the more you’ll want to see it for yourself.
 
 
Fun Fact:
Nur-Sultan is the coldest capital city in the world after Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
 
 
#nursultan | danielbob
May — June
Nur-Sultan is a place of extremes, especially when it comes to weather. Extremely cold in the winter months, it’s also been known to reach triple digits on rare occasions in the summer. May and June provide a bit of a respite from those extremes, when temperatures rise just high enough for comfort — though light rain is still a possibility.
 
Palace of Peace and Reconciliation | @pascal_du_perche
Pyramid Theme
What first catches the eye in Nur-Sultan is its architecture, which melds sleek, modern design and old-world concepts. That’s especially true of the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, a 203-foot-tall pyramid that houses everything from educational facilities to a 1,500-seat opera house. Though it's beautiful during the day, try to see the Palace at night, when it’s illuminated by multicolored lights.
Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center | @batyr_batyr
The Great Indoors
How many neo-futurist buildings have you been to? Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center is the perfect one to start with, and not just because it looks like something out of a sci-fi movie. A great place to visit on a hot day, it was specifically designed to maintain a pleasant microclimate regardless of the temperature outside. There's shopping, restaurants, rides, movie theaters, and even an indoor beach with sand imported from the Maldives, should you feel like taking a mini-vacation in the middle of your vacation.
Bayterek Tower | @theelegram
A Bird’s-Eye View
All monuments are symbolic, but few are as rife with meaning as Bayterek Tower. Its observation deck stands 97 meters tall to represent 1997, the year Nur-Sultan (then Astana) became the capital of Kazakhstan, and is topped with a golden sphere representing a folkloric tale about a bird laying its eggs in the tree of life. (That’s why it’s called Bayterek, which means “poplar tree.”) It’s both a beautiful sight to behold and the perfect place from which to view the rest of the city.
Hazrat Sultan Mosque | @batyr_batyr
The Museum and the Mosque
The youngest and largest museum in Central Asia, the National Museum of Kazakhstan has been wowing visitors from across the globe since its 2014 opening. It’s one of the most eye-catching buildings in the city, which is saying a lot, and just as striking on the inside. Every era and aspect of Kazakh history and culture are covered, ranging from a yurt in the Hall of Ethnography to thousands of alluring items in the Hall of Gold. For even more culture, visit the famed Hazrat Sultan Mosque. It, too, holds a Central Asia superlative as the region’s largest mosque, and though it's more difficult to quantify you'd be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful house of worship.
@girlfromplanetearth
 
Pinar’s Discovery
@girlfromplanetearth
"The Nur Astana Mosque is the largest mosque in the city of Nur Sultan and the third largest in Central Asia. I was really impressed by its golden dome."
 
Дареджани | @ramenbowl_t
Kazakh Cuisine
Everyone has an idea of what to expect from the food when visiting the likes of Italy or Mexico, but Kazakh cuisine is a different case. For a tasty introduction, try Satti — the traditional kebab is a standout, and the adventurous can even try camel milk. There’s also Daredzhani, which will expand your palate even further by introducing you to such Georgian staples as satsivi (chicken paired with walnut sauce) and khinkali (steamed dumplings with minced meat and vegetables).
 
The St. Regis Astana | @stregisastana
The Presidential Suite
Centrally located and low-key luxurious, the Rixos President will make you feel important enough to have a city renamed in your honor. The five-star homestead boasts the largest spa in Nur-Sultan, not to mention world-class culinary options at the in-house restaurant. Especially glorious is the indoor pool, which you’ll almost be convinced came from an actual palace. Also gorgeous — and apparently not inclined to change its name just yet — is the St. Regis Astana, which is located on the water in the city’s Central Park. The architecture is striking, the accommodations luxe, with evening festivities including nightly champagne complete with sabrage.
 
Ak Orda Presidential Palace | @christopherfenton_
All of the Lights
"Like Dubai and Singapore, Nur-Sultan's architecture will amaze you with its glowing geometric pyramids, gold dome of Nur-Astana Mosque and the Presidential Palace. At night, everything comes to life with light shows and digital projections." – @ntsnvv
Due Diligence
"Check the weather before arriving, Nur-Sultan has extreme temperatures. We saw temperatures drop below zero in September." – @onceinalifetimejourneys
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