This morning we got up to leave Astana after a stay of about 24 hours. It is truly a remarkable city, created in the steppe of Kazakhstan. In about 50 days, the Asian Winter Games will be held here and in Almaty. This is a huge deal as it is the first time in post-Soviet Russia that Olympic games are being held in a former republic.
Stadium for the Winter games.
A New Year tree stands in front of the Astana International Airport. After 1934 Stalin reintroduced the "Christmas" tree , which had been prohibited from 1917 until 1934. The tree was renamed "New Years Tree" and the star on top was a Communist Star rather than the Star of Bethlehem. Alexei Streltsov told me it was a remarkable day, when after being a Christian for a number of years that the star on the tree was not a communist star but the star that led the wise men to see the Christ child.
Yesterday we visited some Lutherans who lived in Astana.
Here is a stained glass window of Jesus rescuing Peter from the sea. I have never seen this represented like this before.
A large mosque in Astana. Kazakhstan has a large Muslim population.
A mural from the hotel we stayed in.
Tim Quill, Collver, Gennadij, and Alexei at the airport in Astana.
The trip here was good and very educational.
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