Astana

Akmola was announced the capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan on December 10,1997 by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan of October 20,1997 on approval by the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The International presentation of Astana, the new capital of Kazakhstan was held on June 10, 1998.

The first ever capital of Kazakhstan since 1920 had been the city of Orenburg (now included in the Russian Federation).

In 1925 the capital of Kazakhstan was transferred to Kzyl-Orda.

Construction of the Turksib railway served the basic reason for transferring the capital to Alma-Ata. Legally the event occurred on April 3, 1927 while de facto the transfer was effected in 1929.

As to the transfer of the capital from Almaty to Akmola it is prompted by economic, ecological and geographic expediency.

First, Almaty is but too far from the actual geographic centre of the Republic. Besides the population of the city is nearing the 1,500,000 mark with no further prospects of spacial accomodation. In fact the city is fairly overbuilt, densely populated and can afford no spare areas for its development. No less acute are transport problems. Year in year out ecological condition of the "southern capital" deteriorates dramatically: virtually, in terms of aggravated environmental pollution it may well be rated as one of the topmost among Kazakhstani cities.

Upon a thorough study of the entire territory of Kazakhstan subject to 32 parameters including social-and-economic indices, climate, landscape, seismic condition, natural environment, engineering and transport infrastructure, construction facilities, labour resources and others the city of Akmola was chosen as the most optimum alternative of all.

Overall condition of the city, its territory, its being virtually the geographic centre of Kazakhstan, its proximity to major economic regions on the crossroads of important arterial lines, an opportunity of bringing the number of the population up to 400,000 people, pretty stable heat-, water- and power supplies, well-developed transport infrastructure, balanced natural environment - all these factors came to be decisive in making the choice.

The history of Akmola starts from the year of 1830 when they launched construction of an Akmola fortress in the area of Karautkul: "Akmola is the main town of the Akmola county pertaining to the region of Siberian Kyrhyzes on the Ishim river. Being geographically central with regard to the whole of the area it is linked with the township of Kargaly by picket roads and lines in the East, with the fortification of Aktau in the South, with the Atbasar stanitsa in the West and - through the latter - with the town of Kokchetav". This is an extract from the "Geographic-and-statistical Dictionary of the Russian Empire", issued in 1863 in St.Petersburg. Actually it testifies to the fact of the fairly advantageous geographical position of the city as early as those years.

According to other sources Akmola steppes have always been a territory of inter-ethnic communication of various nations and cultures. In the middle of the first millenium BC it is through these steppes that the so called route through the Great Steppe ran, the very one mentioned by the great ancient Greek historian Herodotus. Subsequently it turned into the well known Grand Silk Route. Numerous caravan routes gave birth to cities with prosperous trade and handicrafts while the population - apart from traditional cattle breeding - was engaged in farming. Obviously these were perspective seats of civilization

In the XIXth century too Akmola was a substantial commercial and economic centre in the steppe. On July 16, 1863 Akmola was officially announced a district city.

On October 21, 1868, in keeping with the "Provisional Regulation on Administration in Steppe Regions of Orenburg and in the West-Siberian General-Governorship" they set up an Akmolinsk region with its centre in the city of Omsk. In those days Omsk was the centre of the West-Siberian General Governorship. It may well be conjectured that the name of the Akmola region owns its name to the fact that they might have entertained an idea of transferring its centre to Akmola. This assumption maybe substantiated by the circumstance that in 1879 Major - General Dubelt submitted to the Ministry of Communications of Russia a project of constructing a railway to connect Tyumen with Akmolinsk.

In the course of the first 30 years of its existence the population of Akmola numbered a trifle more than 2,000 people. However, over the next 30 years, i.e. from the '60s to the '90s of the XIXth century the city's population became thrice as large as was mentioned in the collection "Volosts and settlements of the Akmolinsk region" issued in 1893 in St.Petersburg. Akmolinsk was an uyezd (district) city with a 6,428 - strong population which could boast of 3 churches, 5 schools and colleges and 3 factories.

Such was the first stage in the brightest days of the development of the city.

The second stage whose impact was paramount for the destiny of the city was the development of virgin lands. In December 1960 the city numbering a mere 100,000 people turned into the centre of the Tselinny territory which embraced all northern regions of Kazakhstan. Shortly after, in 1961 Akmolinsk changed its name for Tselinograd.

With time, in 1971, the Tselinny territory was abolished with the city of Tselinograd turning into the centre of the region. In 1992 the city was returned its former name - Akmola.

There exist several versions of the origin of the city's name - Akmola.

As the first one has it, the area of Akmola was given its name after that of a white-coloured lime-stone hill.

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