Trans Eurasia travel

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Khan Shatyr

Khan Shatyr (

From the Duman Entertainment Centre take Saryarka Avenue southwards. With a line of new restaurants on your right and shopping malls on your left, this area is a new central hub in the growing city. Many of the apartment blocks in Astana display some interesting architectural touches and inspirations. The large clustered skyscraper construction to your left, with little obelisks adorning its roof areas, is one of the most intriguing. Named the Triumph of Astana building, it appears to draw its inspiration direct from the Stalinist 'Seven Sisters' skyscrapers which are prominent features of the Moscow skyline.

Around 1.5km south of Duman is the 150m-high Khan Shatyr, the world's largest tent. The extraordinary Khan Shatyr rises 1.5km south of Mega Astana. Designed by British architect Lord Foster, this is the latest addition to Astana's already eccentric skyline. Although from the outside the tent appears to be leaning precariously, on the inside you can clearly see the intricate and surprisingly attractive latticework of steel that supports much of the structure's weight. This view is not unlike the inside of a beehive, and the precision with which each glazed panel interconnects with the next is striking.

This 150m high, transparent, leaning, tentlike structure is made of a special heat-absorbing material that produces summer temperatures inside even when it’s -30°C outside. The complex is maintained at 24°C year round and includes botanical gardens, indoor canals with gondolas, a miniature train, designer label boutiques, minigolf, shops, a cinema and spa, restaurants, apartments, a large central performance space and, near the top, an aquapark with a large pool, slides and great views. Entrance to the inside beach is US$60 per day.

It was designed by celebrated British architect Norman Foster. The Khan Shatyr marks, for the moment, the western end of the main axis of new Astana. To its east, across a park, stands the grand headquarters of the state energy company, KazMunayGaz.