Monday, August 19, 2013


This is a war memorial - that little light spot to the left of the 
base of the column is a full-grown man - that's how big this is.
We are spending a few days in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan.  This  city is similar to Brasilia and Canberra in that it is a chosen site for a national capital that was designed intentionally and built purposefully. Kazakhstan was part of the Soviet Union until the Union's collapse in 1991, when it became an independent republic.  Some of the statues in this capital city reflect the heroic scale of Soviet monuments, while others reflect the history, cultural touchpoints, and humor of the people of this region.
The war memorial is called Mother Motherland.  Here she holds an empty amber bowl, symbolizing the suffering caused by war. 

Walk around behind the column and you see that the globe includes a representation 
of the Silk Road, an ancient trade route which runs through Kazakhstan.  

Obviously the dates in this sundial-themed statue are significant - I haven't found an answer 
as to why 2012 is on the statue. I have lots of questions, but can't ask them in Russian yet, 
much less understand the answers!

The Bayterek Tower connects the new and the old.  There is an old Kazakh story about a bird laying its egg in the sacred tree of life.  This 97-meter tall tower symbolizes the tree and the sphere is the egg,which represents both happiness and new beginnings.  Visitors can ride elevators to the top of the tower and explore from inside the egg, viewing the promises of the new city being established in all directions, honoring the past, cherishing the present, and looking forward to the future.

Sitting in the middle of a patch of petunias, a stylized camel and rider.  

A mare and foal, on a streetcorner.  Signs of wear and tear, but still beautiful.

Painted topiary horses, too, along the sidewalk.

Fanciful dromedary and bactrian camels - baby camel symbols are everywhere here, much as baby rabbits in the US.

The statues are for touching, as well as looking, and who wouldn't want a ride
 on a painted pony?

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