Astana, the capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan is ten years old this year. The city's designation as capital initiated one of the most ambitious urban development projects of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. This film -- THIS IS ASTANA - shows captures the unique atmosphere of a capital that rivals all the dynamism of longer-established cities like New York.
Kazakhstan is the 9th largest country in the World. Archaeologists believe that humans first domesticated the horse on Kazakhstan's vast prairies. The chariot was invented here about 4,500 years ago. The apple was first cultivated in Kazakhstan, Alexander the Great found dwarfed apples in Kazakhstan in 328 B.C., he sent root stocks back to Macedonia.
The people of Kazakhstan are mostly Turkic now but it was originally inhabited by Iranians. The best known of those groups was the nomadic Scythians.
The world's first and largest operational space launch facility, Baikonur Cosmodrom, is located in Kazakhstan. The first manned spacecraft in human history, was launched from one of Baikonur's launch pads