Bayterek Tower: A Symbol of Prosperity for Kazakhstan

Bayterek Tower is a stunning monument and observation tower located in Nur-Sultan, formerly Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan.

From the tower’s notable height to its color and shape, to the golden observatory, every aspect of the tower’s design is steeped in symbolism and celebration of the Kazakh culture.

Symbolism in Numbers

The architect, Akmurza Rustembekov, designed Bayterek Tower with the symbolism of numbers in mind. The tower was built to a height of 97 meters, to celebrate the year 1997, when Nur-Sultan, then Astana, became the capital city of Kazakhstan.

Prior to 1997, the capital of Kazakhstan was Almaty, about 1,300 km to the southwest. The government of Kazakhstan feared that Almaty was too susceptible to damaging earthquakes, and too close to the Chinese border for comfort, and relocated the capital North and East to Astana. In preparation for the new capital’s celebration, construction of the Bayterek Tower began in October 1996. The sparkling golden egg observation tower, spans 22 meters and overlooks the picturesque Kazakh capital from 86 meters above ground. Inside the observation tower sits a wooden globe at the center of a flower with 17 petals to symbolize the world’s religious movements.

Samruk and the Tree of Life

The symbolism that Rustembekov built into tower’s design derives from an old Kazakh legend about the great bird of happiness, Samruk, and the golden egg she laid among the branches of the Tree of Life, a poplar tree. The legend varies based on the region, but it is generally agreed that the egg symbolizes the sun, and is laid by Samruk in the Tree of Life. The sun is later swallowed by the dragon Aydahar, a representation of the light and dark cycles of summer and winter, day and night, good and evil.

Even the name of the tower, Bayterek, is the historic name of the Tree of Life, symbolizing strength and prosperity. As a celebration of the new Kazakh capital, the Bayterek Tower succeeds admirably by combining an uplifting sense of prosperity and bright hopes for the future with profound insight into depths of Kazakh folklore and history.

Sources:

“The Bayterek Tower”. Explore Astana. http://www.astana-kazakhstan.net/attractions-2/culture-and-entertainment/the-bayterek-tower/. Accessed 23 August 2019.

“Bayterek Tower”. Astana Hotels. http://www.astanahotels.ru/eng/astana/bayterek.htm%20Bayterek%20Monument. Accessed 23 August 2019.

“Why Did Kazakhstan Move Its Capital?” Infoplease. https://www.infoplease.com/askeds/why-did-kazakhstan-move-its-capital. Accessed 23 August 2019.

“Baiterek – A Symbol of Modern Astana”. Advantour. https://www.advantour.com/kazakhstan/astana/bayterek.htm. Accessed 23 August 2019.

Enjoy a History Lesson Through Architecture

Through the years, cities have offered historical tours, while architectural landmarks have offered tours of their own facility.

It is a way to introduce tourists a view of the city or landmark, while offering a history lesson.

Home tours offer a different view, directed more toward local residents as well as visitors, with a limited opportunity to see older and/or modern residential architecture often with an emphasis on interior and landscape design, as well.

Architectural Tourism

When visiting a city for the first time, you may first opt for that city tour as a way of introduction. From that, you may learn of niches you may further want to explore. This can lead to a desire to see various forms of the local architectural history and development.

For instance, let’s say you are on a visit to London. First, you may want to take a half-day tour on one of their iconic red double-decker buses. This will orient you and give you an outside glimpse of some of the city. You catch a view of some of the concrete buildings, similar to those you may have seen in Washington, DC, Chicago, or San Diego. Curious, you learn of a tour that will give you more insight into this architecture, built sometime in the mid-20th century and known as Brutalist in design, the name taken from French, Béton brut meaning raw concrete.

Such tours, whether taken of the 19th-century architecture of Chandigarh, India or of art deco design in Miami, are offered in almost any location around the world including, perhaps, your own hometown.

Architecture through the Eyes of Architects

These days, there is at least one company offering a look at architecture with architects. Not those who have necessarily designed the homes or buildings, but those who appreciate the design and theme of their city. The good thing is you don’t have to be an architect, yourself, to appreciate these tours.

Guiding Architects offers tours in 41 cities of 22 countries throughout the world to various groups including developers, university staff and students, and public authorities. However, many of the tours have room for a lone wolf to join in, be it for half-a-day or multiple days of viewing architecture. From Rio de Janeiro to Germany’s Gerling Quarter, or Doha in Qatar to the riverways and walkways of Amsterdam, you can get an education from an architectural perspective.

If there is an architectural tour where you live and you haven’t taken it, you should. You may also wish to look up similar tours in neighboring communities. Take a weekend trip to learn more about a city you have been curious about, but haven’t yet found the time to visit. And, when you are on vacation to a new spot for the first time, a city tour or architectural tour will have a lot to offer!