Dependent on its wealth of natural resources, Kazakhstan is now aiming to diversify its economy into seven areas linked to oil and gas to become one of the world’s top 50 most competitive countries by 2015. By Ginanne Brownell.
The windy steppe city of Astana, Kazakhstan, is a surreal place full of juxtaposing fantastical architectural influences. There are ‘ancient’ Greek ruins, a huge pyramid (designed by British architect Norman Foster, the official name is the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation), an apartment building reminiscent of the Seven Sisters skyscrapers in Moscow, and a Brandenburg-esque gate near the Palace of Independence. The KazMunaiGas gas building is an enormous structure that resembles a palace with a huge archway, while another Norman Foster-designed building, the Khan Shatyry (Royal Marquee), known locally as the ‘Giant Yurt’, is a soon-to-be-opened spectacular indoor city for 10,000 people that will accommodate shops, sports, a beach resort, a boating river and music complexes. Read more