Kazakhstan: Building boom on Astana’s right bank

13 Oct

Kazakhstan’s snazzy new capital Astana is starting to spread its tentacles into the decaying  Soviet-era heartland on the right bank of the River Ishim as the building boom, which stalled a few years ago, seems to be taking off once again.

A last remnant of Astana's rapidly disappearing old town

While intense  efforts were focused on President Nazarbayev’s dream city on the left bank of the River Ishim, the old Tsarist buildings and Soviet blocks of Tselinograd, as was, were mostly left untouched after a rash of government buildings were put up in the late 90s in the old town.

Now all that is changing rapidly.  With land prices picking up once again, the developers have started clearing away swathes of one-storey houses which were once formed the outskirts of Tselinograd.

The tumbledown low-rise houses with their blue shutters and leafy gardens are rapidly being replaced by hulking skyscrapers that dwarf even the Soviet blocks.

The emerging face of Astana's right bank

It was only a matter of time before the village-like district, complete with stand pipes for water,  was consigned to history. In the brave new world of Astana  there’s no room for sentiment when there’s pots of money to be made.

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