Top things to do

Top Choice Museum in Astana

National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan

This huge blue-glass-and-white-marble museum covers the history and culture of Kazakhstan from ancient to modern times. Themed halls comprise interactive displays and artifact exhibits, ranging from a yurt in the Ha…
Top Choice Museum in Northern Kazakhstan

ALZhIR Museum-Memorial Complex

During the Stalin years, Akmol, 35km west of Astana, housed ALZhIR, a notorious camp for wives and children of men who were interned elsewhere as ‘betrayers of the motherland’. The ALZhIR Museum-Memorial Complex poi…
Top Choice Museum in Karaganda

KarLag Museum

Housed in the old KarLag headquarters building, this poignant museum walks you through KarLag's role in the Soviet Gulag Archipelago. The repression of Kazakh 'kulaks', the post-1917-Revolution Red Terror, the man-m…
Top Choice Architecture in Astana

Khan Shatyr

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…
Top Choice Architecture in Astana

Palace of Peace & Reconciliation

This beautiful glass-and-steel pyramid was opened in 2006 as the home for the triennial Congress of World and Traditional Religions, hosted by Kazakhstan. The 30-minute tour (English-speaking guides available) shows…
Top Choice Italian in Astana

Pane & Vino

Decorated with framed recipes from different regions of Italy, this refined, contemporary restaurant really delivers when it comes to pasta, risotto and grilled meat dishes. Homemade gnocchi and prosecco and shrimp …
Top Choice Nature Reserve in Korgalzhyn

Korgalzhyn Nature Reserve

With more than 200 steppe lakes in and around the reserve, the area is a vital stop on major bird migration routes from Africa, the Middle East and India to summer breeding grounds in Siberia and is particularly ren…
Top Choice Museum in Astana

Museum of the Armed Forces

The yurt-shaped museum showcases beautifully presented exhibitions on weaponry and warfare, with striking murals greeting visitors. On the ground floor, chainmail armour, powder flasks and swords surround the atrium…
Top Choice Monument in Astana

Bayterek Monument

Nurzhol bulvar's centrepiece is this 97m-high monument, a white latticed tower crowned by a large glass orb. This embodies a Kazakh legend in which the mythical bird Samruk lays a golden egg containing the secrets o…
Top Choice Notable Building in Astana

Soviet Grain Silo

This rare relic of the 1950s may be gone in a few years' time, banished by the relentless wrecking ball, but for now you can see this enormous, decaying grain silo, inscribed with 'The Virgin Lands have been raised.…