Astana (/æˈstænə/; Kazakh and Russian: Астана, translit. Astana; Kazakh pronunciation: [ɑstɑˈnɑ]; Russian pronunciation: [ɐstɐˈna]) is the capital city of Kazakhstan. It is located on the banks of the Ishim River in the north portion of Kazakhstan, within the Akmola Region, though administered separately from the region as a city with special status. The 2017 official estimate reported a population of 1,029,556 within the city limits, making it the second-largest city in Kazakhstan, behind Almaty.
Astana became the capital city of Kazakhstan in 1997, and since then has developed economically into one of the most modernized cities in Central Asia. After Astana became the capital of Kazakhstan, the city cardinally changed its shape. As the seat of the Government of Kazakhstan, Astana is the site of the Parliament House, the Supreme Court, the Ak Orda Presidential Palace and numerous government departments and agencies. It is home to many futuristic buildings, hotels and skyscrapers. Astana also has extensive healthcare, sports and education systems.
In 1999 Astana was awarded with the medal and title of City of Peace by UNESCO.
The time offset from the UTC used by Astana is 6 hours after UTC, or UTC+6:00. This is also used by most of Kazakhstan and Almaty.
Astana has an continental climate with warm summers (featuring occasional brief rain showers) and cold, dry winters. Summer temperatures occasionally reach +35 °C (95 °F) while −30 to −35 °C (−22 to −31 °F) is not unusual between mid-December and early March. Typically, the city's river is frozen over between the second week of November and the beginning of April. Astana has a well-deserved reputation among Kazakhs for its frequent high winds, the effects of which are felt particularly strongly on the fast-developing but relatively exposed Left Bank area of the city.
Overall, Astana has a humid continental climate. The average annual temperature in Astana is +3.5 °C (38.3 °F). January is the coldest month with an average temperature of −14.2 °C (6.4 °F). July is the hottest month with an average temperature of +20.7 °C (69.3 °F).
Public transport in Astana consists of buses and share taxis. Over 720,000 people use public transport daily. There are over 40 bus lines served by more than 1000 vehicles, with over 3000 people working in the public transport sector. Just like buses, share taxis have their own predefined routes and work on a shared basis. There are nine share taxi routes in total. In 2011, Akimat of Astana established a company to implement a series of changes and programmes in the metropolis known as the "New transport system of Astana". As the part of these programmes, Bus rapid transit (BRT) lines are expected to start operating in Astana in 2016. Astana Light Metro is a proposed light rail system. Astana also has air taxi service and the modern Astana Bike bicycle-sharing system.
Astana International Airport (IATA: TSE, ICAO: UACC), located 17 kilometres (11 mi) south-east of the city centre, is the main gateway for the city's domestic and international civilian air traffic. It is the second-busiest airport in Kazakhstan.
As of September 2017, the population of Astana was 1,029,556; over double the 2002 population of 493,000. The ethnic makeup of the city's population as of September 4, 2014 was: Kazakh: 65.2%, Russian: 23.8%, Ukrainian: 2.9%, Tatar: 1.7%, German: 1.5%, Other: 4.9%
Islam is the predominant religion of the city. Other religions practiced in Astana are Christianity (primarily Russian Orthodox, Roman Catholicism, and Protestantism), Judaism, and Buddhism.