Kazakhstan declared its independence in 1991 from the former Soviet Union and in 1998 Astana was declared the country's new capital. It was chosen due to its strategic location on the Ishim River, which today is a lively part of town and a desirable place for expats to live. The city's population is on a steady rise as many professionals from around Kazakhstan and the world move here following the new location of the country's political sector. In hopes of making Astana not only the center of Kazakhstan but of all central Asia - Astana, itself, has become one of the country's greatest building projects. As government buildings continue to dot the skyline, numerous parks and monuments, and other impressive buildings are appearing around town. Living here it is easy to feel this city shedding its stunted past and preparing for the growth, and international recognition that is about to come its way.
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