Astana, Kazakhstan Geography

Astana, now known as Nur-Sultan, is the capital city of Kazakhstan. Its geography is shaped by its location in the heart of the country, the Ishim River, the surrounding steppe landscape, and the nearby Nura River. In this essay, we will explore the geography of Astana (Nur-Sultan), focusing on its geographical features, the rivers that flow through it, the steppe surroundings, and the city’s cultural, historical, and economic significance.

Location and General Geography:

According to, Nur-Sultan, formerly known as Astana, is located in the north-central part of Kazakhstan. Its geographical location includes several key features:

Inland City: Nur-Sultan is an inland city, situated away from the country’s coastlines, which significantly impacts its climate and geography.

Continental Climate: The city experiences a continental climate with cold winters and hot summers. The temperature can range from extremely cold in winter to relatively warm in summer.

Geographical Features:

Nur-Sultan’s geography is marked by its inland location, the Ishim River, the steppe landscape, and the nearby Nura River:

Ishim River: The city is situated along the Ishim River, which flows through Nur-Sultan, dividing it into the right bank and the left bank. The river is a prominent geographical feature and plays a vital role in the city’s development.

Steppe Landscape: The surroundings of Nur-Sultan are characterized by vast, flat steppe land with sparse vegetation. The steppe extends for hundreds of kilometers in all directions, creating a unique geographical setting.

Nura River: The Nura River is another important river that flows near Nur-Sultan, providing a source of water for irrigation and agriculture.

Cultural and Historical Significance:

Nur-Sultan is a city with a unique cultural and historical heritage, shaped by its geography and its role as the capital of Kazakhstan:

Historical Significance: The city was officially designated as the capital in 1997, and its rapid development since then reflects Kazakhstan’s modern history and aspirations.

Cultural Heritage: Nur-Sultan is home to a diverse cultural scene, reflecting the ethnic and cultural diversity of Kazakhstan. The city’s cultural heritage includes art galleries, museums, theaters, and various cultural events.

Economic and Administrative Significance:

Nur-Sultan serves as the economic, administrative, and political center of Kazakhstan, contributing significantly to the nation’s economy and governance:

Government Institutions: The city houses Kazakhstan’s political and administrative offices, including the Presidential Palace, government ministries, and foreign embassies. It serves as the nation’s political heart.

Economic Hub: Nur-Sultan is a major economic center, housing businesses, industries, and financial institutions. The city’s economy is diverse, with a focus on services, manufacturing, and energy.

Transportation Hub: The city’s transportation infrastructure, including Nursultan Nazarbayev International Airport, plays a crucial role in connecting the city to other parts of Kazakhstan and the region.

Challenges and Opportunities:

Nur-Sultan faces various challenges and opportunities related to its geography, including those related to urban development, transportation, environmental sustainability, and cultural preservation:

Urban Development: Managing urban growth, preserving cultural heritage, providing infrastructure and services, and accommodating government and diplomatic needs are essential for Nur-Sultan’s development.

Transportation Networks: Addressing traffic congestion, improving public transportation, and ensuring efficient transportation networks are vital for the city’s accessibility and mobility.

Environmental Sustainability: Addressing issues related to water resources, sustainable land use, and environmental protection is vital for the city’s long-term sustainability.

Cultural Preservation: Preserving and promoting Kazakhstan’s diverse cultural heritage, including its traditional arts, music, and cuisine, is essential for the city’s identity and appeal.


Nur-Sultan, the capital of Kazakhstan, offers a unique geography characterized by its inland location, the Ishim River, the steppe surroundings, and the presence of the Nura River. Understanding the geography of Nur-Sultan is essential for appreciating the city’s cultural diversity, the challenges related to urban development and sustainability, and the opportunities for economic growth, diplomacy, and a vibrant cultural identity in this dynamic and historically significant landscape. Nur-Sultan’s commitment to preserving its cultural heritage, its status as the political and economic center of Kazakhstan, and its cultural expression reflect its dedication to being a thriving and culturally rich city at the heart of the nation.