iStock/Aleksandr Shuman
iStock/Aleksandr Shuman

Legendary Baiterek Tower, the symbol of Nur-Sultan

3 minutes to read

I remember the time when Baiterek Tower was just under construction and every citizen was curious about what it is going to be. Back then, I had no idea that this high slender building, resembling either a tree or a person who rejoices in victory, will be recognized as a symbol of the capital of Kazakhstan 17 years later. The tower got its name after the poplar tree (baiterek), which in the Kazakh language also means “reliance, support”. It is the most popular and best-known building of Nur-Sultan (former Astana). Well, every city has its must-see attraction, and every tourist wonders what should be the first thing to see upon arrival to a new place. The answer of any local here would be the legendary Baiterek Tower, the symbol of Nur-Sultan, rooted in history and beliefs of common people. 

The symbol of the city

There are so many buildings in Nur-Sultan city. But, why did this tower, among many, become a symbol of the city? Kazakhstan had historically essential events from 1996 to 2002, such as the proclamation of the new capital, the re-election of the president, the creation of the National Fund. The tower's construction took place during the vital years for Kazakhstan, and that's why the tower became a symbol of the city

© iStock / Eplisterra
© iStock / Eplisterra

The belief of nomads

Do you want to know why the tower resembles the poplar tree? The reasons have roots in the cultural prehistory of my country. Kazakhs are superstitious people since ancient times, and the names of natural places, cities, architectural structures, and even the names of children always carry a deeper meaning. We believe in the power of words and stick to a famous saying “As you name the boat, so shall it float”. So, naturally, the tower has a symbolic name, and it reminds us of the legend of the poplar tree, that I am about to tell you.

© iStock / Nikolay Sivenkov
© iStock / Nikolay Sivenkov

The poplar tree legend

Our ancestors believed that the roots of the poplar tree were nailed to the ground so that the top of the tree could hold the sky. As a kid, I used to listen to my mother's stories, and I recall one specifically about the poplar tree. Once upon a time, the poplar tree grew in the Kok-Tobe Hill. The tree was the connection between the earth and the sky. Every year, the sacred bird samruk flew into this tree and laid its egg, which turned into the sun, symbolizing the power of new life. The dragon who lived at the foot of the tree wanted to swallow the sun to bring darkness to the world. But, the warrior Yer-Tostik appeared there and killed the dragon. This story makes the poplar tree a symbol of shifting days and nights, the "upper" spiritual and "lower" manly worlds, the battle between good and bad, life and death even. The warrior in the story tells the world that the land is under the protection of brave men. Now imagine the power and importance of the building that bears the name based on such a great story. 

© instagram / Andrei Pugach
© instagram / Andrei Pugach

Inside the tower

The cost of entering the tower is a little less than $2. The tower is divided into 3 parts, as well as the tree of life from the story: ground level, connection level, and upper levels. The ground zone has a gallery of modern art. There is a golden elevator waiting to bring you up to the base of the stunning sphere on top. Then, you can use the steps and reach the last level. When you look up, take the time to observe the brilliant chandelier made of Czech crystals in the form of flying birds. They are just amazing! 

© Nazerke Makhanova
© Nazerke Makhanova
© Nazerke Makhanova
© Nazerke Makhanova

Additionally, you will find a wooden globe autographed by representatives of 17 religious movements of the world. Five steps from it, there is a handprint of the first president of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The unofficial anthem of Kazakhstan plays when you insert your hand in the handprint. Some people believe that if you make a wish at that moment, it will come true. The panoramic view from the top will add up to the fantastic experience, overlooking the capital of nomads

Travel in time by getting to know the history of Kazakhstan, feel the friendship of our people, make a wish, and rest your eyes on Nur-Sultan from its symbolthe legendary Baiterek Tower!


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The author

Nazerke Makhanova

Nazerke Makhanova

Hi, I am Nazerke from Kazakhstan. Traveled to 15 countries, lived in Malaysia and Spain, I am currently located in Western Kazakhstan, and I’d love to take you on an adventurous journey throughout Kazakhstan. Ready? Let’s go!

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