AW80D: Astana, Kazakhstan

Astana - Dolphie w Mosque

Where do some of the world’s great architects go to try out their most cutting-edge designs and stretch the limits of their imaginations?

Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. Of course. The city is located in the middle of the central Asian steppe, the wide grasslands where the horse was first domesticated.

Astana - White House Astana - Tree of Life

The white building (reminiscent of the White House, except for the blue dome) is the presidential palace, and the two golden towers are—well, they’re two golden towers. There’s nothing about them that can be found in a quick search of the webternets, other than that they are apparently sometimes referred to as “the beer cans.”

The tower in the picture on the right is the Tree of Life (sorry, Terrence Malick, it was around before your film of the same name), whose design is based on a folktale about “a mythical tree of life and a magic bird of happiness: the bird, named Samruk, had laid its egg in the crevice between two branches of a poplar tree.

(Two things: 1 – AW80D stands for Around the World in 80 Dolphies, wherein we follow the international adventures of Dolphie, mascot of Shoreline Community College; 2 – Credit where credit’s due, so thanks Wikipedia and CNN, and if you’d like to see where I got my information, just click the links.)

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