ASTANA – The nation’s capital celebrated Astana Day on July 6 with several days of festivals and concerts by world renowned and national singers and bands, including Akon, A’STUDIO, Mezzoforte, Level 42 and many others. The event is held annually to celebrate Astana as Kazakhstan’s capital.
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev gave a speech during this year’s celebration in which he noted that Astana is the only capital in the world that was built in 10 years in the 21st century.
“The creation of Astana is closely connected with the fate of the nation and chronicles its independence. In this capital, we opened a new page in the history of our nation and look into the future with confidence. Astana has become an important symbol of statehood and sovereignty. All of these are results of our joint hard work,” Nazarbayev said.
The President also met July 6 with the country’s leadership, who congratulated Nazarbayev on the Day of the Capital and his own birthday.
Thirty-seven of Astana’s couples also marked this year’s anniversary by getting married on July 6. The ceremony was held in the square in front of the Atameken Complex. Weddings on Astana Day have become a tradition, and this year was the seventh such ceremony.
“The ceremony of marriage dedicated to the celebration of Astana Day is a colourful, fun project that includes a lot of joy, laughter, smiles, champagne, dancing and fun contests. The young couples decided to register their relationship on this day exactly, and I wish a happy family life to all the newly married,” said Elmira Suhanberdiyeva, head of the Astana Department of Education.
After the ceremony, the couples released white balloons into the sky.
Other celebrations were held in the days leading to July 6, including a flag-raising ceremony on July 4 marking the official start of Astana Day celebrations. President Nazarbayev, who is also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, presented epaulettes to graduates of the country’s military institutions. Youth festivals were also held around the city on July 5.
An international kite festival was also held on July 5, attracting kite masters from around the world. It was the first such festival held in Kazakhstan, and the public was treated to a sky full of marine animals, dragons and other fantastic creatures.
On July 5, the Magic Astana international illusionists’ festival took place in the Palace of Peace and Accord. The Safronov Brothers, participants of the Amaze Me show, as well as illusionists Alexandra Skachkova, Anton Abrashekov, Alexander Muratayev and Pavel Karakhtanov performed.
As part of the 16th anniversary celebration, squares and public gardens transformed into spaces for folk festivals and youth events. One such event in front of Mega Astana shopping and entertainment mall included a celebration of Kazakh and world hip-hop culture and sports.
Thematic park festivals were also held as part of the celebrations, including the opening of the first Kun Alemi festival.
“Our parks may be of interest to anyone. You can come to the Lovers’ Park and walk or immerse yourself in the memories of Retro Park. You can learn to play the drums [or admire] pottery in Zheruiyk Park. … You can immerse yourself in Art Nouveau style [or] climb in the mirror maze,” a city park administration statement said.
Astana officially became the capital of Kazakhstan in December 1997. In the summer of 1998, its formal presentation to the world took place.
Annual celebrations also include the commissioning of new buildings or infrastructure projects in the city which has grown from a town of 280,000 people to a major city of 840,000. This year was no exception, as the National Museum of Kazakhstan and the Nazarbayev Centre were commissioned, in addition to new campuses of the National Defence University.