Museums & Galleries in Astana
- National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan (Main bus routes stop outside). 10am - 6pm (Closed on Monday). The national museum moved to this new location in 2014. The museum is huge and very modern with interactive displays in English, Russian and Kazakh. The displays take you through the history of Kazakhstan up to the modern day. It also hosts an art gallery with many temporary exhibitions, you might find yourself alone with some bored looking gallery attendants on some of the upper floors. The main entrance hall is huge with a golden eagle that flaps its wings to patriotic music at certain times in the day. One of the highlights is on the ground floor where an animated diorama of the planned Astana emerges out of the floor on the hour, be sure to get there early as it can get crowded. The golden hall display has a model of the golden man costume along with a range of other beautiful golden objects found around Kazakhstan. Don't miss Nazabayev's rough sketches for the presidential palace and Baiterek. T500 (additional T1000 to visit the golden gallery).
- Museum of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan. This is situated north of the river on the junction of Abai Street and Bebeishelik Street. This magnificent building was the seat of power before the new presidential palace was built. There is an entrance on Abai Street where you will have your baggage searched and you will be scanned for metal. Once inside be sure to ask the people at the front door for an English guide book. Pictures are allowed on the ground floor (1st in Kazakh speak) and outside, but no where else. Most people will have to don covers for their shoes and all luggage must be stored in lockers. Entry is free. The building consists of displays outlining the struggle for independence, gifts and awards given to Nazarbayev including a machine gun from the Saudis, and state rooms preserved as they were when Nazarbayev was there. On the top floor there is a comprehensive photo display of Yeltsin, someone that Nazarbayev seems to have a lot of sympathy towards. Be sure to see the full sized recreation of the golden man. The museum is often on the empty side and don't be surprised to find yourself trailed by anxious (maybe bored) gallery staff. There isn't much for the kids here, it is more suited to those interested in the art of state diplomacy and the history of Nazarbayev. There is a small gift shop on the ground floor with the normal tourist paraphernalia.
- The Military Historical Museum of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Barayev 3 (Surrounded by scary looking roads, there are several underpasses to get you to this museum). 10am-8pm (Closed on Mondays). Built like a yurt with a dome resembling a mosque. It contains exhibitions about the history of the military of Kazakhstan. There is large focus on the Great Patriotic War and a collection of memorabilia related to Nazabayev, including some of his official stationery, a tank commander's hat that he wore and a big official painting of him. Don't miss the upper levels that have some excellent war paintings or the soviet style paintings as you enter the building. Free.
Kazakhstan - Travel guide