Astana: The most beautiful city in the world
Not since 1703, when Peter the Great raised up his glorious re-incarnation of Venice on the cold Baltic Sea of the Russian north has a more magnificent city ever appeared by the will or inspiration of one man. President Nursultan Nazarbayev, of Kazakhstan, commissioned and directed much of the work of this city, Astana, now the capital of his country, and it is more than impressive.
Astana has taken great risks and the result is breathtaking. There is a diversity of office buildings with startling, modern Japanese architecture. There are parks with magnificent monuments, fabulous restaurants with a variety of the world’s dishes, and wide boulevards and tree lined avenues, yes, you heard me right, tree lined avenues in Kazakhstan.
Some may call it Dubai North. And it does have its similarities. Both are cities that show the wealth of oil riches. And if Dubai has its inside winter-wonderland with snow skiing in the desert, Astana is building its mammoth inside tropic tent, a world of swaying palms, heated beaches and the world’s grandest water park, while outside the people freeze.
Others may call it the Second City of Lights. Like Paris, the lights make this city. And then there are the wide Baron Haussmann Boulevards, but otherwise the comparison ends. The lights of Paris are 19th Century and ornate. The lights of Astana are Las Vegas modern.
In fact, Las Vegas is the city that most think of when they drive through the streets of Astana. But that too is an absurd comparison for Astana has dignity something that no amount of money can do for Las Vegas.
I was there to speak at a XanGo convention. The crowd was excited and positive and we had a great feast afterwards. The Kazaks are generous hosts. I posted a YouTube on Astana New Years.
In the center of town, one can take an elevator to the top of the sphere of the Bayterek. And there one will find a bronze cast of the president’s hand. The tourists wait in line to put their hand in his and look out over the city and set their own goals for President Nazarbayev has once again proven that if one can dream it, one can do it.
As in the case of St. Petersburg, the Kazaks wanted to name their city after their leader, their president, but he rejected it, saying that only future generations could make such a decision. But there is little doubt that one day they will do just that. And the world will long celebrate Nazarbayev, the city of lights, a monument to the idea that dreams do indeed come true.