I said: In 1997, the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbaev, decreed that the capital of the Republic should be moved from Almaty to Astana, a provincial town about a thousand kilometers to the north. Ed Jajko comments: The name "Astana" means, by extension and common usage, "capital city." Persian "astan" or "asitan" is the place where one takes off one's shoes, hence threshhold. From this it becomes king's court or royal palace, or tomb of a prophet or saint. Adopted by the Ottomans, it became one of the names of Constantinople, and from that usage got its meaning of "capital city." This particular Astana was originally called Akmola and was renamed "Astana," Capital City, on October 20, 1997. See http://www.kazakhembus.com/Astana.html. RH: This information was included in the posting as I originally wrote it, but I deleted it because it did not relate to John Brademas' mission to Kazakhstan.
Ronald Hilton 2005
April 13, 2005