Nur-Sultan, the capital city of Kazakhstan, is a striking example of modern architecture and urban planning. For those considering things to do in Nur-Sultan, visiting the Bayterek Tower, a monument and observation tower that has become a symbol of the city, and exploring the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, a pyramid-shaped conference hall, are top activities.
The city’s futuristic architecture is complemented by its green spaces, with the Central Park offering a tranquil escape in the heart of the city. Nearby, the Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center, a giant transparent tent, houses an indoor beach, shopping center, and various entertainment options.
Beyond its architectural wonders, Nur-Sultan also serves as a cultural hub, with the Astana Opera hosting world-class performances in a stunning setting. For those seeking the best places to visit in Kazakhstan, Nur-Sultan’s blend of innovative design, cultural richness, and urban greenery makes it a unique and captivating destination.
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Attractions & Things to Do in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan
1. Bayterek Tower
Bayterek Tower is a monument and observation tower that has become the symbol of Nur-Sultan, representing the tree of life and a golden egg from a Kazakh folk tale. From the top, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the rapidly growing city.
Travel Tip: Visit in the late afternoon to witness the stunning sunset from the observation deck.
2. Palace of Peace and Reconciliation
This pyramid-shaped building designed by renowned architect Norman Foster serves as a conference venue and cultural center, symbolizing global harmony and unity. It includes an opera house, a museum, and various exhibition spaces.
Travel Tip: Check the schedule for any concerts or events during your visit to experience the acoustics of the opera house.
3. The Nur-Astana Mosque
One of the largest mosques in Central Asia, the Nur-Astana Mosque stands out with its magnificent architecture and can accommodate up to 5,000 worshippers.
Travel Tip: Dress modestly when visiting and try to go outside of prayer times for a more relaxed visit.
4. Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center
Khan Shatyr is a giant transparent tent that houses an entertainment complex with a shopping mall, a beach resort, and various recreational facilities.
Travel Tip: Make sure to visit Sky Beach Club at the top level, where you can experience a sandy beach and tropical climate, even when it’s snowing outside.
5. Hazret Sultan Mosque
As the largest mosque in Central Asia, Hazret Sultan Mosque features stunning white marble construction and can host 10,000 people. Its traditional Islamic architecture is complemented by modern touches.
Travel Tip: Non-Muslim visitors are welcome, but remember to visit outside of prayer times and dress conservatively.
6. National Museum of Kazakhstan
This museum is dedicated to Kazakh history, art, and culture, with a wide array of artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of the nation from ancient times to independence and beyond.
Travel Tip: Hire a guide or use an audio guide to gain a deeper understanding of the exhibits, as English descriptions might be limited.
7. Presidential Park
Presidential Park is a beautifully landscaped area surrounding the Ak Orda Presidential Palace. It’s perfect for leisurely walks and offers a break from the urban environment.
Travel Tip: Try to catch the fountains when they’re operational—they add a wonderful atmosphere to the park.
8. Ak Orda Presidential Palace
While typically not open to the public, the Ak Orda Presidential Palace is an impressive building set within extensive grounds and is worth seeing for its architectural grandeur.
Travel Tip: The best views of the palace are from across the river; bring a camera with a good zoom.
9. Astana Opera
Astana Opera is a world-class opera house known for its impressive performances and stunning architecture.
Travel Tip: Plan in advance and book tickets for a performance, which will provide an opportunity to not only enjoy the show but also the lavish interior of the building.
10. EXPO 2017 Complex
Originally built for the International Exposition 2017, this complex now hosts various exhibitions, a museum, and a futuristic park.
Travel Tip: Don’t miss the chance to climb the central sphere, known as Nur Alem, for its interactive museum dedicated to future energy.
FAQ About Things to Do in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan
What are the must-see landmarks in Nur-Sultan?
Key landmarks in Nur-Sultan include the Bayterek Tower, symbolizing the city’s modern architecture, the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, and the stunning Nur-Astana Mosque.
Can visitors experience traditional Kazakh culture in Nur-Sultan?
Yes, the Kazakhstan National Museum offers insights into Kazakh history and culture. Also, traditional performances at the Astana Opera House provide a taste of local arts.
Is there any natural scenery to enjoy in or around Nur-Sultan?
While Nur-Sultan is a modern city, the nearby Burabai National Park offers beautiful landscapes, lakes, and opportunities for hiking and relaxation in nature.
Are there any family-friendly activities in Nur-Sultan?
Families can enjoy the Duman Entertainment Center, which includes an oceanarium, a 4D cinema, and various themed attractions for children.
What shopping experiences does Nur-Sultan offer?
The Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center is not only an architectural marvel but also a shopping paradise with a wide range of shops, boutiques, and eateries under its tent-like structure.
Where can I find the best local food in Nur-Sultan?
Nur-Sultan’s vibrant food scene can be best experienced at local bazaars like the Zelyony Bazaar or at restaurants serving traditional dishes like beshbarmak and kazy.
Are there any guided tours available to explore Nur-Sultan?
Guided tours are available for those who wish to learn about the city’s history and architecture. These tours often include visits to major landmarks and historical sites.
Does Nur-Sultan have any events or festivals that visitors should be aware of?
Nur-Sultan hosts several festivals throughout the year, including the Astana Day celebrations in July, which feature concerts, parades, and fireworks.