Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan since 1997, is a thriving and modern city developing at an amazing pace and a major political and cultural centre which has already hosted important international forums.
While the old part of the town was located on the right bank of the River Ishim, construction in recent years has led to the appearance of a totally new city centre on the left bank, complete government offices, buildings of the Senate and the Majilis of the Parliament of Kazakhstan, private housing and entertainment facilities.
One of ideas of the General Plan is that all zones and regions of the capital must be connected by transport nets allowing its citizens to commute conveniently from one its part to another. It is planned to introduce high-speed monorail and build a subway in the long term.
Since 1997, the population of Astana increased from just fewer than 300,000 to more than 500,000 as of the end 2003. This growth is attributed mainly to the massive influx of government and, more importantly, private employees, and their families, seeking job and business opportunities in the city's prospering economy. Specialists predict that due to the natural growth and additional immigration the population may grow to under a million people in a decade. The area of the city of 248 square kilometres easily allows for such an increase.
Astana is located in the very centre of the Eurasia continent at the crossroads of routes from East to West, West to East, From South to North and from North to South. At present, Astana serves as a major transport hub of the Republic, all roads leading from Siberia to Central Asia, from China to Europe meet here. In general, Astana has become one of the major centres and pillars of development of the country, which truly corresponds to the President’s initiative program - “Flourishing Astana - Flourishing of Kazakhstan”.