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The king of tents

The most impressive pinnacle in the brand new Astana skyline is not a building but a tent. More specifically, the largest tent in the world. The 150-metre-high Khan Shatyr tent made of thermoplastic polymer keeps visitors warm and toasty, even in the harsh cold of the Kazakh winter. Visitors to this exceptional structure will find a mall and an amusement park with a monorail, all under one canvas.

British architecture firm Foster + Partners pulled out all creative stops when they were commissioned to design a ‘lifestyle centre with world-class shopping’. It seemed fitting to create a tent in a country where the nomadic population originally lived in yurts. Temperatures range from blistering hot to freezing cold so the tent canvas is composed of a special lightweight plastic that provides excellent insulation. The insulation works so well that in addition to a futuristic shopping centre, the tent also houses a tropical swimming pool.

Swaying palm trees

The tent has a total surface of approximately 17 football fields and boasts a number of unique attractions. You can shop, dine out or watch a movie, as well as take a relaxing break on a real beach. The sand has been especially imported from the Maldives. The beach is right next to a pool with slides. Swaying palm trees surround the pool and the beach. And because nobody likes to laze on a cold beach, the tent is usually kept at a warm 30 degrees Celsius. Explore Astana’s tropical oasis on the tundra.

Sand from the Maldives
The Khan Shatyr in the Astana skyline

A paradise for kids

Although nobody will be easily bored in the mega tent, there are many activities which are especially fun for children. After playing on the beach, swimming in the wave pool and going down the slides at the Sky Beach Club, kids can head to the amusement park to enjoy a wild water course and a free-fall tower. A Dino Park was recently inaugurated where visitors can travel 150 million years back in time to the Jurassic era. And if you are too tired to walk, just hop on the monorail.

Everything under one tent

Photo credits

  • Sand from the Maldives: Nigel Young / Foster and Partners
  • Everything under one tent: Nigel Young / Foster and Partners