On July 6, 1994, the Supreme Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan decided to move the capital from Almaty to Akmola.

On December 10, 1997, the capital was officially transferred to Akmola. In line with the Presidential Decree signed on May 6, 1998 Akmola was renamed into Astana. 2019, on March 23, by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Astana was renamed the city of Nur-Sultan. 

In 1999, Nur-Sultan was awarded the title of the City of Peace by UNESCO. Since 2000, the capital city of Kazakhstan has been a member of the International Assembly of Capitals and Major Cities.

At present, the territory of Nur-Sultan makes up more than 797 square kilometres, its population is more than 1 million people. The city consists of  four districts – «Almaty», «Saryarka», «Esil» and «Baikonur».

Nur-Sultan is located in the centre of Kazakhstan in the dry steppe zone and in the grass steppe subzone. The area of the city stands above the flood plain. The Esil River is a major waterway of the capital. 


Nur-Sultan’s favourable location in the centre of the Eurasian continent makes it an economically advantageous transport, communication and logistics centre, and a natural bridge between Europe and Asia.

The transfer of the capital to Nur-Sultan gave a powerful impetus to its economic development. The city’s high economic growth rates attract numerous investors. The city’s economy is based on trade, industrial production, transport, communication and construction.

Industrial production is mainly focused on producing construction materials, food and mechanical engineering. Nur-Sultan holds the leading position in Kazakhstan in the field of production of metal goods, ready-mix concrete and concrete construction products.


Nur-Sultan is among the leading cities of the country in terms of the volume of construction. After the city became the capital of Kazakhstan, 22 million square metres of housing facilities have been built. Hundreds of companies from Kazakhstan and abroad took part in the construction of Nur-Sultan.

The architectural concept of Nur-Sultan was based on the idea of Nursultan Nazarbayev implying a special Eurasian style of Nur-Sultan should harmoniously combine the cultural traditions of both the East and the West. A well-known Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa became the author of the general layout of the capital city.

The major symbol and a brand of Nur-Sultan is the Baiterek monument. Among other unique buildings of the capital are the Palace of Peace and Accord designed by a renowned British architect Norman Foster, the Khan Shatyr shopping mall built in the shape of a tent and Duman, the farthest oceanarium from the sea in the world.

There are also Astana Opera theatre, the largest Central Asian mosque Hazret Sultan, Cathedral of the Assumption, Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Archdiocese of the Blessed Virgin Mary, synagogue Bate Rachel - Habad Lubavitch, as well as the Kazakhstan Central Concert Hall, the Kazakh Yeli monument.

The new sports facilities of Nur-Sultan include the 30,000-seat closed stadium Nur-Sultan-Arena and a unique 10,000-seat SaryArka National Cycling Centre acknowledged as the best cycling facility in the world in 2011. Another major sports facility is the Alau ice palace, which corresponds to the highest international standards.

The capital of Kazakhstan became the center of attention for students from across the country. In Nur-Sultan, the country’s leading universities are located, involving Nazarbayev University, Gumilev Eurasian National University, Kazakh National University of Arts, Seifullin Kazakh Agro Technical University, as well as Kazakh branch of the Lomonosov Moscow State University and Nur-Sultan Medical University.

A unique Green Belt project envisaging the forests are planted around Nur-Sultan turned the city into a green oasis in the steppe.

Today Nur-Sultan, located in the heart of Eurasia, is a venue for numerous international forums, congresses and large scale international events. The Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, the Astana Economic Forum and other forums are held regularly in the city. In December, 2010, the historical Summit of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe took place in the capital city of Kazakhstan, after which it hosted the anniversary summits of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. In early 2011, the city welcomed the participants and guests of the 7th Asian Winter Games. In 2017, Nur-Sultan will host the international specialized exhibition EXPO-2017.

Within a few years, due to the political will of First President Nursultan Nazarbayev Nur-Sultan transformed into the Kazakhstani national idea and became a symbol of independence and global success of the young state.