A Photographed Wintry Journey in Kazakhstan

Nursultan – The egg-shaped building is just one example of the city’s recent wave of flamboyant and unrestrained architecture.

photography by: Omri Westmark

In some parts of the northern hemisphere, the beginning of April implies the impending spring, however, it’s hardly the case for Kazakhstan, where -15° is frequent at its north provinces, including the newly constructed capital, Nursultan, formerly known as Astana. Eager to explore this remote, yet emerging nation, i went on a short one-week excursion to Nursultan, Almaty and few other places throughout the country.

Khan Shatyr, Nursultan

Khan Shatyr is a 150 meter high tent-shaped shopping center, architecturally reflecting Kazakh traditions. This quaint behemoth was designed by the world-renowned architect Norman Foster.

photography by: Omri Westmark


An indoor perspective of its giant structural columns supporting a semi-transparent roof made of fluorine-based plastic.

photography by: Omri Westmark


The last floor hosts an indoor amusement park with various attractions such as a large dinosaur model.

photography by: Omri Westmark


Baiterek Tower, Nursultan

One of Nursultan’s most iconic landmark, inspired by a legendry bird named Samruk who laid an egg on a poplar tree.

photography by: Omri Westmark


The Presidential Palace, Nursultan

The lavish blue domed building where the president of Kazakhstan works and holds conferences and meetings with world leaders.

photography by: Omri Westmark


Kazakhstan Central Concert Hall, Nursultan

The whimsically designed building hosts both performances, concerts and other large scale events. The Italian architect who designed the concert hall made an attempt to architecturally mimic flower petals, I guess it is up to you to judge whether he succeeded.

photography by: Omri Westmark


Congress-Centre EXPO, Nursultan

The ultra-modern complex culminating in a spherical glass buildings hosted the Expo 2017 international exhibition.

photography by: Omri Westmark


The Spherical building also known as Nur-Alem served as the Kazakhstan Pavilion and Science Museum during the exposition, incorporating environment friendly design and elements, corresponding to Expo 2017 main goal of debating over climate change and carbon emissions.

photography by: Omri Westmark


Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, Nursultan

Another outlandish oddity in the architectural hodgepodge of Nursultan is the pyramid shaped building, regularly hosting the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions every three years.

photography by: Omri Westmark


The Pyramid panels are colorfully embellished with all sorts of figures and shapes, correlating with the center’s proclaimed goal of promoting global peace.

photography by: Omri Westmark


Nursultan Downtown

Since the capital city was relocated from Almaty to Nursultan, the city has undergone a rapid urbanization resulting in a brand new skyline in just a matter of decade.

photography by: Omri Westmark


Lake Burabay, Burabay National Park

Located 250 Km north of Nursultan, Lake Burabay freezes during winter-time, forcing local fishermen to drill the thick ice in order to catch fish under the icy layer.

photography by: Omri Westmark


Katarkol

The small remote town of Katarkol next to Burabay National Park is home to a regional market offering all sorts of local products, most notably dried fish, caught from the nearby lakes.

photography by: Omri Westmark


Charyn Canyon National Park

Roughly 200 Km east of Almaty, at the southern part of Kazakhstan, lies Charyn Canyon National Park, reminiscent of the Grand Canyon while attracting just a fraction of the number of tourists in comparison to its well-known twin.

photography by: Omri Westmark


Saty

The village of Saty is not particularly interesting, yet it provides a glimpse into Kazakh traditional rural life.

photography by: Omri Westmark


Lake Kaindy

Probably the most iconic natural site in Kazakhstan, its unique colors are the results of limestone and other minerals.

photography by: Omri Westmark


The unpaved path leading to and from the lake was covered by snow, resulting in somewhat mystical ambience.

photography by: Omri Westmark


Koktobe Park, Almaty

Overlooking the city of Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest metropolis and former capital, Koktobe Park is the perfect place to enjoy breathtaking panoramas of Almaty while sipping a Kazakh beer or vodka.

photography by: Omri Westmark


One of the park’s most famous attraction is the Beatles monument, created in an attempt to further strengthen the city’s cosmopolitan image.

photography by: Omri Westmark