© iStock / Anney Lier
© iStock / Anney Lier

Winter pleasures in Nur-Sultan, world's second coolest capital

4 minutes to read

Winter has already arrived in the second coolest capital city in the world - Nur-Sultan. Since the creation of the metropolis in the heart of steppes of Northern Kazakhstan, people have adapted the comfortable living and entertaining activities to do once the frost knocks on the door. If you wonder what can that be, keep reading, and you will soon discover the best activities and places for winter pleasures in Nur-Sultan

Winter in Nur-Sultan

© iStock/Andrey Orekhov
© iStock/Andrey Orekhov

Nur-Sultan is known as the second coolest capital city in the entire world. Summers here are quite short, and winters are long and dry. It is a dream place for those who love the winter season, snow and winter activities. The snowy time can start early enough from the mid or end of November and last till April. In the first three months of winter, the average temperature can be from -20 to -40 °C. The Ishim River flows through the city, splitting the city into two parts - the right and left bank of Nur-Sultan. The river becomes frozen under such low temperatures, and dozens of ice skating rinks are made on it. 

Winter activities in Nur-Sultan

Every local kid and adult wait for the winter to come in Nur-Sultan because they know how much fun they can have during winter activities such as sledding on the hills and ice-skating. Apart from that, there are sledding hills made of ice, which slightly remind of mini versions of amusement parks that catch the eye in winter. There is even more to try - when you see snow scooters, you will be double excited if you take this ride.

Where to find winter pleasure in Nur-Sultan

1. Old Square 

The oldest icy sledding hill and ice skating rink first appeared in the old city center's square, right in front of the city hall building. This square has a special place in locals' hearts because of the first icy slides made right here. Every year, the old square welcomes people to have fun in an icy town with icy sledding. When the winter season comes to Nur-Sultan, huge ice cubicles are prepared to build the imitation of castles, houses, sculptures, hills with slides, etc. Every year, the ice town's theme changes, which keeps people intrigued till the winter season starts. In the summertime, the square serves as a place for farm fairs and public holiday's concerts

Old central square, Nur-Sultan
Old central square, Nur-Sultan

2. Riverside 

The pride of Nur-Sultan is the Ishim River, which gets frozen hard enough to be home to several ice skating spots. The main one is located 7-10 min away from the Old central square and stands right in between the staggering Seruen Bridge and Atyrau Bridge. There, you can take a ride on winter scooters, rent the 'tubing' or in Russian 'vatrushka', which serves as a sledge and translates as a donut. There are many cafes to visit under the four glassy looking residential buildings, warm up and get full at a very fair price. 

Staggering Seruen Bridge, Nur-Sultan
Staggering Seruen Bridge, Nur-Sultan
Atyrau Bridge, Nur-Sultan
Atyrau Bridge, Nur-Sultan
© wikimedia / Ken and Nyetta
© wikimedia / Ken and Nyetta

3. Khan Shatyr Square

The first two winter activities spots are located in the right bank of the city. The Khan Shatyr Square is located on the right side of a mall. This place amuses people with its very own icy installations in the winter season, which have sliding hills. You can also see beautiful icy sculptures and have great photos with a view of the ice town and the Khan Shatyr futuristic-looking mall. Usually, the square is equipped with snack spots on wheels where you can get something to eat. Apart from that, you can have a tour in the Khan Shatyr Shopping mall, which from the outside looks like an illustration of a Kazakh traditional authentic housing - kiiz ui. Inside of it, it has clothing stores, food courts, and on the top of the mall, there is a covered beach club where you can swim. This is a unique experience to try - swimming at 25 degrees on top of the mall whilst it is -25 degrees outside.

Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center, Nur-Sultan
Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center, Nur-Sultan
Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center, Turan Ave 37, Astana 020000, Kazakhstan

4. Nur Alem Expo

The Nur-Alem Expo spherical museum is now a historical place because Kazakhstan hosted guests from all over the world for EXPO 2017 under the slogan 'The future of Green Energy'. So, apart from visiting a legendary place for Kazakhstanis, there is also a chance to do ice-skating under the big sphere! Cross the road, and you will see the biggest shopping mall in Nur-Sultan city - Mega Silk Way, which in the inside has its own ice-skating rink. Certainly, there you will find a lot of places to eat and some souvenir shops as well.  

© instagram / yuliya_malamen
© instagram / yuliya_malamen
EXPO museum Nur Alem,  Nur-Sultan
EXPO museum Nur Alem, Nur-Sultan

5. Sledding hill in the Pyramid park

The park, where the Pyramid - the Palace of Peace and reconciliation is located, has a hill for a light climb in the summertime, and in wintertime, it is equipped for sledding. Concretely, it is located right in front of the Highvill Residential houses. These residential houses have lots of cafes and restaurants on the ground floor. Once you reach the area of the Pyramid, you can see the hill from afar. Close to the entrance to the Pyramid, there is an ice-skating rink where you can glide with a joyful view

Highvill Astana, Nur-Sultan
Highvill Astana, Nur-Sultan
Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, Nur-Sultan
Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, Nur-Sultan
Tauelsizdik Ave 57, Astana 010000, Kazakhstan

Practicalities

To rent the sledding donut Vatrushka, please make sure you have a document with you such as ID, driving license or a passport, which you will exchange for skating and sledding equipment. Once you are done, you shall return them and get your document back.  

If you happen to be in Nur-Sultan during the winter, you need to enjoy the winter pleasures in the world's second coolest capital. Usually, around winter amusement places, there are many food services on wheels, where you can grab your hot coffee, chocolate or tea with some hot and tasty bakery products. When you are full of energy and enthusiasm, take a challenge to have fun in five best places for sledding and ice skating in Nur-Sultan


The author

Nazerke Makhanova

Nazerke Makhanova

Hi, I am Nazerke from Kazakhstan. Traveled to 15 countries, lived in Malaysia and Spain, currently I'm located in my hometown Nur-Sultan city, and I’d love to take you on an adventurous journey throughout Kazakhstan. Ready? Let’s go!

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