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Photographer's Note

It is time to present the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana. In Kazakh language Astana means... the capital. The city is located in central Kazakhstan, on the River Ishim in very flat, semi-desert areas, which constitute the majority of the country. The elevation of Astana is at 347 meters above sea level.
Climatically Astana is the second coldest capital in the world, with temperatures of -35 to -40 °C common in the early winter.
In 2013, Astana has been chosen to host EXPO 2017 - the largest international specialized exhibition, which demonstrates the latest scientific and technical achievements, prospects for development as well as the history, traditions and culture of the world’s countries. EXPO-2017 will be a landmark event for Kazakhstan: no international exhibition of such level has taken place in the Central Asian and the CIS countries.

The tower you see here is called Bayterek. It is highly symbolic structure. he monument embodies the idea of the Kazakh people related to the structure of the universe. According to the legend, Baiterek is the tree of life, the destination of the sacred bird, Samruk. It takes refuge in the tree’s high crown to lay a golden egg - the sun - giving life and hope.

At the same time, at the roots of the tree the hungry dragon Aydahar is hiding in attempt to eat the egg. That is how the eternal struggle between good and evil is represented. Not far from the monument flows the World River, on the banks of which Baiterek stands propping up the sky with its crown, and holding the earth with its roots.
The observation deck is 97 m above ground level, corresponding to 1997, the year that Astana became the nation's capital. The golden sphere has a diameter 22 m. There is elevator there and of course I have gone up. I will show the views later.

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Close up of the golden sphere

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Additional Photos by Malgorzata Kopczynska (emka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 12448 W: 133 N: 32005] (147839)
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