Astana is the capital and third largest city in the nation of Kazakhstan. It is located in central Kazakhstan, on the Ishim River? in a very flat, semi-desert steppe region. The city did not become the capital of Kazakhstan until 1997 and to this day the move is considered very controversial.
The city was originally founded as a fortress for Russian Cossaks in 1824, and named Akmolinks. During the 20th century the city became a major railway junction until the Russian Civil War. During the rule of the Soviet Union it was renamed Tselinograd and became an important capital in the region. The country gained independence in 1991 and by 1997 the city was renamed Astana and made Kazakhstan's capital city. The city is now being built up with government buildings and new infrastructure with money gained from oil trades in the hopes of making it the most important city in the region.
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