Astana (Kazakh and Russian: Астана, translit.Astana; Kazakh pronunciation: [ɑstɑˈnɑ]; Russian pronunciation: [ɐstɐˈna]) is the capital city of Kazakhstan. It is located on the banks of the Ishim River in the north portion of Kazakhstan, within the Akmola Region, though administered separately from the region as a city with special status. The 2017 official estimate reported a population of 1,029,556 within the city limits, making it the second-largest city in Kazakhstan, behind Almaty.
Astana became the capital city of Kazakhstan in 1997, and since then has developed economically into one of the most modernized cities in Central Asia, with futuristic-looking buildings designed by world famous architects.
Founded in 1830 as a settlement of Akmoly or Akmolinsky prikaz (Russian: Акмолинский приказ), it served as a defensive fortification for the Siberian Cossacks. In 1832 the settlement was granted a town status and renamed Akmolinsk (Russian: Акмолинск). On 20 March 1961 the city was renamed Tselinograd (Russian: Целиноград, lit. 'City of tselina') to mark the city's evolution as a cultural and administrative center of the Virgin Lands Campaign. In 1992 it was renamed Akmola, the modified original name meaning "white grave". On 10 December 1997 Akmola replaced Almaty as the capital of Kazakhstan. On 6 May 1998 it was renamed Astana, which means "capital city" in Kazakh.