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Is this the world’s biggest tent?

13 June 2012 No Comment

A night under the canvas takes on a whole new meaning if you visit this giant ‘tent’ in Astana, Kazakhstan.


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Could you?…. window cleaners scaling the wallsKhan-Shatyr-5

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This is the Khan Shatyr – or ‘Royal Marquee’ – entertainment centre. Inside there’s so many attractions and facilities it’s like a city all by itself. There’s even cobbled streets. Along with shops, restaurants, cinemas, a water park, boating river, botanical garden, mini golf course – and even a monorail.


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You can even enjoy the ‘sunshine’ on its very own beach. But why does it have so much under one roof? Well you can’t really depend on the weather here. Temperatures in Kazakhstan are extreme to say the least – it can go below -30°c in Winter right up to 35°c and above at other times of the year.

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So what’s the answer for Astana’s inhabitants? An amazing entertainment city, courtesy of Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, which – thanks to the special lightweight plastic it has been made of – keeps the climate inside at a very pleasant 15°c to 30°c all year round.

Created by Foster & Partners

Made by architects Foster & Partners, at a cost of £400m, this 100,000 sq metre super-tent structure has no guide ropes, no canvas and no pegs. The special transparent ETFE material is suspended from web of cables hung from a central spire which is a massive 150m high.


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This incredible building isn’t the only bit of development taking place in Astana. Like a kid with a giant box of Lego, President Nazarbayev is essentially building his own dream city. Billions has already been invested with some of the world’s biggest and best architects and designers called forth to turn the dream into reality. Astana is the new capital for the country, there’s even an Astana Day.


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‘Pyramid of Peace’ was Foster’s first creation in Astana

And in fact, Khan Shatyr isn’t Lord Foster’s first creation here. Foster & Partners has already built a ‘Pyramid of Peace’ in Astana, which is home to an opera house, library and research centre.


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Having the freedom to create a city must be amazing, and you have to agree that this tent is one place you wouldn’t mind seeking shelter in.

Author: Liz Wilson   Date Written: 12 June 2012

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