Nur-Sultan was proclaimed the capital of Kazakhstan on 10th December 1997 by the President of Kazakhstan and the Parliament. The international presentation of Nur-Sultan, as the new capital of Kazakhstan, was held on 10th June 1998. Today the city’s territory is over 200 sq. km.
In 1999 Nur-Sultan was awarded with the medal and title of City of Peace by UNESCO. The first capital of Kazakhstan was Orenburg (now in the Russian Federation) in 1920 then it was moved to Kyzylorda in 1925. The construction of the Turkish railway was the main reason for transferring the capital to Alma-Ata in 1929.
The capital was moved from Almaty to Nur-Sultan for economic, ecological and geographical reasons. Almaty is too far from the actual geographic center of the country. The population in Almaty is close to 1.5 million with no further prospects for accommodation. In fact the city is fairly overbuilt, densely populated and has no spare areas for development. Transport is also a problem. Year in year out the ecological condition of the ‘southern capital’ deteriorates dramatically. It is one of the most polluted cities in Kazakhstan. Nur-Sultan was chosen as the best alternative, based on a nation-wide study taking into account 32 parameters including socioeconomic indices, climate, landscape, seismic condition, natural environment, engineering and transport infrastructure, construction facilities and work force.
The Nur-Sultan region and north Kazakhstan have tremendous development prospects for mining, in particular with reserves of industrial diamonds, tin, zirconium, uranium and gold. The transfer of the country’s capital to Nur-Sultan is sure to have synergies on neighbouring industrially developed Karagandy, Pavlodar, East Kazakhstan and Kostanay regions. In addition it will boost local entrepreneurship and business through the creation of foreign companies’ headquarters, branches of major banks and eventually their headquarters.
The country’s administration moving to Nur-Sultan by 1999 will create an influx of experts improving management, information, technical and technological expertise and trade. All this will promote business both in Akmola and its suburbs. The local market in the capital will become more diversified with a higher capacity and goods and services will grow. In short Nur-Sultan will consolidate its international position for trading agricultural goods. Agriculture, stocks and shares, currencies, banking, insurance and transport, permanent fairs and exhibitions will see a sustained development and there are also good prospects for transport and trade facilities.
Local companies are seeing results through mastering new technologies and installing up-to-date production lines. Major industrial giants which – in their former obsolete condition were below the new economic standards are being restructured and split up and new enterprises created to manufacture household appliances, provide spare parts and maintenance of agricultural equipment or self-contained power supply equipment operating on liquid fuel. A huge construction project for housing was also launched. In 1997 the volume of construction was worth 14 billion tenge, six times the 1996 level. No less advanced is the programme for developing telecommunications aiming to provide as many as 30 handsets per 100 residents in Nur-Sultan by 2010.