Kazakhstan: Astana + Almaty

Astana (since 2019, Nur-Sultan)

The capital of Kazakhstan returned in 1997 to its historic capital, Astana (which the Soviets had re-named Akmola – Turkish for white grave). The embassies, which had been ensconced in Almaty since Kazakhstan’s independence in 1991, hoped they would not have to move to Astana but the Kazakh government was determined that they should. The EU established in 1998 a “bureau de passage” for joint use by EU missions, with hot- desking and en-suite rooms for overnight stays. All could fly their flags from this building [address?] in the hope of satisfying the Kazakh government.

By the early 2000s, however, it was clear that moving permanently to Astana was operationally unavoidable. The idea of the FCO itself building an embassy anew was too risky in the circumstances, not least because the only sites on offer were on a desolate former Soviet airfield some distance from town. The Italian contractor Renco SpA was quick to establish itself as the leading potential developer of good quality premises in Astana, and the FCO negotiated with them a 10-year renewable lease of 6th floor office space in one of their proposed developments in downtown Astana, at 62 Kosmonavtov St. Jeff Nolan was the FCO project sponsor for the fit-out works, which were completed in late 2006 under the project management of Musser Architects.


The embassy was established in November 1992, with its offices within a co-location scheme under which the UK sub-leased space from the Germans in a building that they jointly leased with the French at Furmanov Street 173. The residence was at first in a leased cottage in the grounds of a sanatorium, and later in a large leased house [addresses?]. It became apparent during the late 1990s that the Furmanov building was less than structurally sound for this seismically active region but by then the move to Astana was on the cards. When it took place in 2006, the Post at Almaty was downgraded to a consulate-general, and moved in the summer of 2007 to Samal Towers, and later to the Rahat Palace Hotel Business Centre at 29/6 Satpaev Street.