Khan Shatyr

Architecture in Astana

Image by Jane Sweeney Getty Images

Astana's most extraordinary building (so far), the Khan Shatyr is a 150m-high, translucent, tentlike structure made of ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), a heat-absorbing material that produces summer temperatures inside even when it’s -30°C outside. Touted as a 'lifestyle centre with world-class shopping', from outside it resembles nothing so much as a drunkenly leaning circus tent, while the multilevel interior contains a high-end shopping mall, food court, and various attractions.

There's a drop tower, flume ride and 500m-long monorail (admission for all three 2000T) and, on the top level, the Sky Beach Club with a big swimming pool, sandy beach, palm trees and water slide, where those who can afford it can imagine they're on a tropical coast in the middle of the Eurasian steppe. Opened in 2010, the Khan Shatyr was designed by celebrated British architect Norman Foster and marks, for the moment, the western end of the main axis of new Astana.


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