Teaching Students About Astana, the Capital of Kazakhstan


Astana, now known as Nur-Sultan, is the capital city of Kazakhstan, a country located in Central Asia. Boasting a unique blend of modern architecture and rich cultural heritage, Astana provides an excellent opportunity for educators to teach students about the world beyond their immediate surroundings. This article will explore ways to integrate lessons about Astana, Kazakhstan into your curriculum and provide tips on engaging students with this fascinating city.

Background of Astana

In 1997, Astana was proclaimed the new capital of Kazakhstan, replacing Almaty. This strategic decision made by President Nursultan Nazarbayev aimed to reduce earthquake risks and distribute economic development more evenly across the country. Over the past two decades, the city has seen rapid growth and development exemplified by impressive architectural landmarks like the iconic Bayterek Tower and gleaming skyscrapers.

Teaching Astana’s History

Introducing students to the historical context of Astana helps them understand how events unfold in larger societal contexts. A possible lesson plan could include:

1. A brief overview of Kazakhstan’s history, with a focus on sovereignty gained after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

2. Discussing reasons behind moving the capital from Almaty to Astana.

3. Exploring how this change affected both cities and their residents.

Cultural Lessons

Kazakhstan is home to a diverse mix of ethnic groups which have influenced its culture throughout history. Teachers can explore various aspects of Kazakh culture through lessons related to:

1. Traditional Kazakh music such as “Dombra,” a popular two-stringed instrument.

2. Historical nomadic lifestyles and yurts, which were mobile homes carried on horseback.

3. Teach about traditional Kazakh dishes like beshbarmak or baursaks (a type of fried dough).

Exploring Astana’s Architecture

Astana’s striking architecture serves as an effective way to connect students to global architectural trends and showcase the infusion of culture into urban landscapes. Photos and videos of key landmarks can be used as visual aids in classroom lessons, focusing on:

1. Bayterek Tower: The 105-meter-tall symbol of Astana, which represents a poplar tree holding the golden egg of life in its branches.

2. Ak Orda Presidential Palace: A harmonious blend of classical and modern architectural styles.

3. Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, a pyramid-shaped building designed by renowned British architect Norman Foster that houses a theater, opera house, museum, and a meeting hall.


Teaching students about Astana, Kazakhstan presents rich opportunities for educators to incorporate global perspectives into their lesson plans. By highlighting the city’s unique historical background, diverse cultural heritage, and stunning architectural landmarks, teachers can enrich students’ understanding of the world and promote cultural appreciation.

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