Astana and Almaty, Kazakhstan

In the slumbering stillness Nature looked kindly on us:
What pride we take in a soul as boundless as the steppe,
We inhale the wind rushing across the plains so free,
Treasure the meditative translucence of our lakes,
Stubborn and stoic, we stand firm as the rocks.
Nomadic life the sand-hills taught us long ago,
And to stand tall – the ridges showed us how,
Caution came to us on the wings of the dark night.
Our destinies are like paths forged in the steppe.
And our smiles – the sun in the grey skies above
A guest is always welcome in a Kazakh home,
For we know that a guest in the home
Brings joy – just like a newborn boy!

Kazakh poetry, Myrzaliev, excerpt from Surviving the silent steppe, Mukhamet Shayakhmetov

I have been longing to visit Kazakhstan for many years, ever since I read the “Dawn of Eurasia” where a memory of Leonid Brezhnev from his years in Kazakhstan is to be found.

Leonid Brezhnev observed that Kazakh officers and soldiers would sing mournfully, not about the wives or girlfriends left behind but about the steppe at home.

Reading this, I could not help but think that there had to be something uniquely profound and beautiful about the Kazakh people, something as beautiful as the endless steppe.


Independence square and Kazakh Eli Monument in Astana
National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Astana
Hazrat Sultan Mosque in Astana
The Astana Opera
The Astana Opera. One does not expect this sort of greek / roman classical architecture in the middle of the Eurasian steppes
The Bayterek Tower, a symbol of Astana
A symbol within a symbol : May Kazakhstan the land of peace and accord be blessed. This globe within the Bayterek tower celebrates the religious diversity and tolerance in Kazakhstan with all the faiths represented
Another emblematic place of Astana : Khan Shatyr, an entertainment center celebrating the tent with a futuristic design. Astana is at the crossroads of the continent and at the crossroads of time

The National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan

National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Astana
Entrance of the National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The golden eagle of the steppe has a great importance in the history of the Kazakh tribes
The Kazakh Khanate. The Kazakh state dates back to the foundation of the Kazakh Khanate in the 15th century after the collapse of the Golden Horde into multiple Khanates (Crimean Khanate, Khanate of Kazan, Khanate of Astrakhan). Having not been attentive enough, I assume these are Janibek and Kerei Khan, the two founders of the Khanate
The seven Orders
The traditional Kazakh tent
The Organisation of Turkic States. One can notice that people of turc-mongol origine beyond the 6 member states are included : Balkan Turks, Chuvaches of Russia, etc. There is an ethno-cultural project that spans over Eurasia.
The horse has a great symbolic importance in the Kazakh culture


The Republic Square in Almaty, on a wintery day in December 2022
The Republic Square in Almaty
Panfilov Park – Memorial to the great patriotic war and the Panfilov 28 guardsmen, dead during the battle of Moscow in 1941. These 28 soldiers are said to have stopped 18 nazi tanks, thus decisively contributing to stopping the nazi advance on Moscow
The Ascension Church in the Panfilov Park – One of the most beautiful orthodox churches I have ever visited

Almaty – Kazakhstan Railways Museums

The Kazakhstan Railway network stretches over the immensity of the country and even beyond as it crosses the Russian Federation
It definitely took a lot of time and all the resilience of the brave kazakh people to build and expand a railway network in the harsh conditions of the steppe (from 10 to 14 thousand of kilometres between 1958 and 1999 for instance)
There are uncountable routes from one end of the Eurasian continent to the other, but almost all of them run through the immense Kazakh steppes
The great industrialisation projects of the soviet era were decisive in the development of the Kazakhstan railway infrastructure
The museum also offers glimpses into the tradition and identity of Kazakhstan. A beautiful artistic interpretation of the railway line running through the Steppe
A glimpse in the traditional Kazakh life. The “Aul”, a nomadic community of people belonging to the same clan or related through marriage. As this painting shows, yurts as a symbol of nomadism coexist with sedentary dwellings