Astana: The Illuminati Capital of Kazakhstan

As the first new capital of the 21st century, the city of Astana in Kazakhstan has been received by many as a revolution in social architecture. Rising out of the barren steppe in the north of the country, this surreal capital represents the investment of billions upon billions of petrodollars; and features some of the most radical, revolutionary design the world has ever seen.

Not everybody is queueing up to welcome this city of the future, however. Critics and conspiracy theorists the world over have pointed out the rich occult symbology which seems so deeply ingrained into the aesthetics of Astana… and many are heralding this as the ‘Illuminati Capital of the World’.

Astana, Kazakhstan

Earlier this year I spent the best part of a month in and around Astana. I had heard nothing about the Illuminati theory then, and the city didn’t exactly strike me as a capital for the New World Order.

However, there is certainly something strange about Astana. While the central and business districts have been laboriously designed by some of the most prestigious architects in the world, this 15-year-old capital is still seriously lacking in residential zones. Even now, many government officials commute by plane from the old capital of Almaty. The result is the most elaborately futuristic ghost town you could imagine – and feels like walking onto the abandoned set for a 1970s sci-fi film.

The rich symbolism and peculiar structural design of Astana do raise certain questions… questions which are best answered by superimposing lightning effects over footage of the city’s more notable landmarks, as this clip by xlivescom so amply demonstrates.

I’m going to continue referring back to points made in this video clip as the report goes on; not because xlivescom is anything approaching an authoritative source of information, but rather because this video offers a concise summary of the dozens of Astana-Illuminati theories scattered across the Internet [1].

Don’t worry if you didn’t make it to the end of the video, I’m sure you get the point. While the feature certainly manage to highlight some bizarre features of the city, there is little here that can’t be understood better when you consider the history and context of Astana.

The White Tomb

Kazakh culture has its roots in nomadic traditions, and the majority of permanent settlements didn’t begin appearing here until relatively recently. In 1824 a band of Siberian Cossacks travelling across the Central Asian steppe stopped on the banks of the Ishim River, where they built what would later become an important fortress defending central south Russia. They named it ‘Akmolinsk’: the word for a Holy Shrine, translating literally as ‘White Tomb’.

The town grew into the 20th century, and Akmolinsk served as a pivotal rail depot around the time of the Russian Civil War. Under the Soviet Union Kazakhstan became a powerhouse of industry; factories, chemical plants, mining rigs and missile silos were built far and wide across the country, in addition to a number of notorious gulags.

Perhaps the cruelest of these camps was situated at Akmolinsk itself, and known as ALZHIR: the ‘Akmolinskii Camp for Wives of Traitors of the Motherland’.

Kazakhstan staked its independence after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1990; a year later, they struck oil in the southern Caspian region.

The decision to move the nation’s capital from the heavily Soviet-influenced Almaty to the small northern town now known as ‘Ak Mola’, was taken by many as a gesture of defiance on the part of the Kazakh government… although official motives included Almaty’s risk of seismic activity, its proximity to volatile foreign borders and limited space for expansion.

The move became official on 10th December 1997; and the town of Ak Mola adopted the Kazakh title of ‘Astana’, meaning ‘Capital’.

The Great Architect

To return to the suspicions levelled by xlivescom in the video above, perhaps the strongest recurring theme is that of ‘sun worship’. While a naive observer may be justified in comparing the appearance of the Bayterek Tower to some kind of sun altar, it would nevertheless be a gross misunderstanding of the monument’s true meaning.

The Bayterek is Astana’s most enduring icon, with a design based on an ancient Turkic folk tale.

Like many of Astana’s landmarks, the tower was conceived by the renowned British architect Sir Norman Foster. The golden sphere represents an egg, the pillar the ‘tree of life’. This symbolism comes from the tale of Samruk, the ‘magical bird of happiness’: a mythical being common to Persian, Iranian, Armenian, Byzantine, and a range of Turkic traditions.

Personally, I don’t have an issue with sun worship anyway – of all the things you might care to deify, the sun strikes me as a fairly natural choice. Sun worship predates any other belief or teaching in the history of human culture, and the sun and eagle emblems serve as important, historical symbols of the Kazakh race. The conspiracy theorists would have us believe that the sun is a symbol of Lucifer, and the ultimate occult icon; but the sun was nourishing all life on this planet long before Christians had invented the notion of ‘Lucifer’.

However, the comparisons which can be drawn between Astana’s city centre and the traditional layout of a masonic temple are interesting to say the least.

The Ak Orda Presidential Palace sits in the East of the city centre, at the same position as the Grand Master’s chair. President Nazarbayev’s palace is flanked on either side by vast golden pillars, which correspond neatly with the twin pillars called ‘Joachim’ and ‘Boaz’ that stand on either side of a masonic temple.

Many masonic rituals require initiates to pass between these pillars, and those with a little imagination might suggest that placing golden pillars on either side of Astana’s central Nurzhol Boulevard allows for occult workings on a grand scale [2].

While the eastern station of a masonic temple is occupied by the Grand Master (whose wisdom is often associated with Divine Light), the western position is the realm of the Senior Warden. His duties are to preside over the Lodge at times of labour, and this position could be said to represent the soul; reflecting Divine Light the same way the moon reflects that of the sun [3].

It’s hard to draw a parallel between the apparent sun symbology of the Bayterek Tower and the moon associations which characterise the corresponding position of the masonic lodge. Unless of course we look even further west… considering the Bayterek as the mid-point of the temple then, at the far western end of Astana’s central plaza we find the Khan Shatyr leisure complex. I’m not sure that this is any easier to compare to the masonic position of Senior Warden though. Perhaps it’s fair to conclude that this masonic parallel is merely superficial and aesthetic, rather than intended to serve as a functional reconstruction.

A labelled overhead photo of the centre of Astana shows the layout more clearly, with the linear orientation of the Bayterek Tower, Nazarbayev’s Palace and the Pyramid of Peace in the far East. The graphic below comes from David Icke‘s website.

Another key point to consider might suggest that any similarities between Astana’s city centre and a masonic temple are no more than eccentric, provocative design: just a small amount of research into the history of freemasonry will reveal that the Craft was heavily persecuted by the Soviets; as well as remaining to this day strictly illegal in most of the Islamic world. I just don’t see it catching on in Kazakhstan, a predominantly muslim country which is still struggling to shake off the ghosts of its recent communist past.

The Eye in the Pyramid

That brings us to one of the more striking buildings on Astana’s skyline, the 77m tall pyramid known as the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation.

Theorists such as xlivescom tend to pick up on this one structure more than any other, when presenting Astana as the ultimate Illuminati capital. “Much more than being a tourist attraction,” they claim, the pyramid “is a representation of the philosophy of the initiates.” Further associations are drawn between the pyramidal design and the teachings of figures such as Pythagoras or even Manly P. Hall. While these include some interesting observations, it does not follow that Astana’s Palace of Peace and Reconciliation (or ‘Palace of Peace and Accord’ as it is sometimes translated) was necessarily built to embody these same esoteric ideals.

As a design concept, it seemed no stranger to me than the Louvre in Paris or the Las Vegas Luxor Hotel… but then again, countless websites already argue the case for an Illuminati agenda behind those buildings too. It seems unacceptable to believe that an architect ever chose a pyramid design simply to create a dramatic effect.

A great deal of fuss is also made of the Palace’s interior, where the Kazakh congress meets around a circular ‘sun table’. Directly beneath this is the city’s new opera hall, and xlivescom notes with suspicion that the former is considerably more ‘luminous’ than the latter. Perhaps this genuinely does symbolise the path to godliness along which the Kazakh elite are treading… or maybe theatres simply work better when the house lights are turned off. You decide.

The pyramid’s apex is decorated with dove motifs. If you played the video to its end you’ll already know that these doves appear, “representing peace, which will result in the unification of the world governments and religions in the NEW WORLD ORDER.” You will also note that the image of a sun appearing on the glass ceiling represents Satan, and not the actual sun itself.

As for the All-Seeing Eye in this pyramid, President Nursultan Nazarbayev himself seems an unlikely Illuminati pawn. This old-school Soviet joined the Kazakh Communist Party in 1962, working his way up to the position of First Secretary by 1989. He stands today as Kazakhstan’s first – and only – democratically elected president.

There have been many criticisms of Nazarbayev’s seemingly unshakable rule; a 2004 study by the Transparency International organisation declared Kazakhstan to be suffering from “rampant corruption”, and civil activists both inside and outside of Kazakhstan cite instances of “human rights abuses”.

The Nazarbayev family has been investigated in the past for allegations of money laundering, bribery and assassination, while former ministers of the Kazakh government claim Nazarbayev has accepted millions of US dollars in bribes, while discretely transferring at least $1 billion of oil profits into his personal account. None of these allegations have been proven however, and Nazarbayev continues to gain international regard for his work in dismantling former Soviet nuclear weapons, as well as pushing to see more women in government and politics.

It is worth noting that the former allegations couldn’t be further from the modus operandi of the theoretical Western Illuminati. Rather than a sophisticated and secretive cartel controlling society through the worlds of finance and media, Kazakhstan’s perceived problems have perhaps been more accurately surmised by references to a “Soviet bully-boy mentality”; for a more accurate parallel to this lavishly opulent capital built by a charismatic-yet-overbearing leader figure, one should look East rather than West; toward the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, for example.

A New World Order

One very good question which ought to be asked at this point, is why would a secret ruling elite put so much time and money into designing a capital city which reveals their purposes in such a spectacularly un-secretive way? As is often the case however, the conspiracy theorists have an answer for this as well.

Externalisation of the Hierarchy was the title of a 1957 book by British writer and theosophist Alice A. Bailey; put very simply, the ‘externalisation’ is the process by which the masses are gently prepared for the future, as those controlling the world from behind the scenes gradually make themselves known through increasingly explicit signs [4].

I never made it to the top of the Bayterek, and nor did I step inside the Palace of Peace and Accord. However, I did spend a lot of time getting to know the people of Astana, and seeing their city as they see it.

I visited a range of museums, restaurants and bars, and explored the extensive green park beside the Ishim River. The city has a lively nightlife, and much of the ex-pat culture in Astana is centred around the ‘Guns N’ Roses Pub-Grill’. The city’s modern entertainment complex is housed inside the Khan Shatyr, or ‘Khan’s Marquee’. This vast, translucent tent-like structure covers an area greater than 10 football stadiums, with floor upon floor of shops, entertainment venues and sports facilities. On the top floor of the Khan Shatyr, you’ll find a tropical beach – complete with real sand, convincing palm trees and a wave machine.

I even had the chance to take in a performance of ‘Coppélia‘ by the Kazakh National Ballet; the story of a young man who falls hopelessly in love with an automaton created by a cruel inventor, only to grow increasingly isolated from the real world around him. (Don’t worry, the irony wasn’t lost on me – this is Monarch Programming at its finest.)

There is a lot to like about Kazakhstan, and I really warmed to the Kazakh people. In my considered opinion, the seemingly blatant and oft-reported Illuminati symbolism of Astana is no more than the superficial veneer of an adventurous modern capital: Astana is what happens when an eccentric and powerful ruler hires a team of world famous architects to build the ultimate capital city on an unlimited budget.

Sir Norman Foster, Kisho Kurokawa and other architects involved in this multibillion dollar project have trawled through the history books for their inspiration, incorporating elements of Greek, Egyptian and Arabic design [5].

Astana brings ancient mythologies to life, whilst providing a canvas for some of the world’s most striking contemporary architecture… but to attribute this unique design to a secret society hellbent on establishing a New World Order, is just plain silly.


[1] You can find some more sources of Astana-Illuminati theories at Vigilant Citizen, Conspiracy Archive and Illuminati Italia. Do take the time to check some of these out, as they’re often hilarious.

[2] See for example The Occult Ritual Of The Gloriana – a fascinating account of the esoteric subtext to Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant.

[3] I’d like to thank Burning Taper for the excellent source of information on masonic symbology.

[4] Alright, so I put it very, very simply. While the concept of the ‘externalisation of the hierarchy’ is often used to illustrate the same New World Order theory presented here, Bailey’s original work (which she claimed to be a transcription of an ancient body of wisdom dating back as far as Atlantis), focussed more on a messianic hierarchy regaining shape and substance until it is able to “function openly upon the physical plane”.

[5] Some people have taken the analysis deeper still, looking at the structural layout of the city in detail; and drawing parallels with the ‘sacred geometry’ of freemasonry. Curious? You can check out this video and decide for yourself.


Comments are closed.

  1. You didn’t mention any baked-in technological wizardry which I thought might have been fun! Also what’s the significance of putting your hand into Nazarbayevs golden handprint?

  2. I appreciate your open-mindedness on the subject. The majority of illuminati-theorists mistakenly examine things in their contemporary context of world hegemony. In other words, whoever runs the show at the time gets the blame. Since the freemasons have long been connected with capitalistic enterprise and imperialism leading up to the globalized present, it is natural for them to become the scapegoat. However, the truth, as always, is far more complex, and even the masons are merely puppets of some darker, more sublime power. They merely play a role in the ontogeny of power in our present age of history, as you said the “externalization of the hierarchy.”

    As history moves along, kingdoms rise and fall. Basic historical theory, right? The cyclical motions of history thus bring about the changes of ages with the eventual teleological aim of bringing about various zeitgeist-type orders on the “physical plane.” As an anthropologist, I am willing to bet that Astana has been made in preparation for the next great paradigm shift. It represents the freedom and self-determination, as well as potential for power and wealth, of “indigenous” peoples globally. As ideology always precedes the paradigm shift, the category you likely recognize as “indigenous” is a construct, the product of sedentary thought on the noble savage going back to at least the Epic of Gilgamesh (e.g., Enkidu). As the social and environmental destructiveness of the current Eurocentric paradigm passes into oblivion, I would posit that the countless cultural groups of every marginal corner of the world who have suffered the consequences of “progress” at the hands of colonialism and imperialism will unite under the preconceived other-identity of indigenous in a dramatic bout of Heideggerian self-realization as dasein, but on a global scale. Thus the indigneous will inherit the earth. If, hypothetically, its nuclear war with which the current global powers destroy one another, then the steppelands of Central Eurasia, and a futuristic, utopian city like Astana, will likely remain insulated from the fallout due to their geographic solitude. Then the Turkic states will serve as the model for the construction of a new indigenous world emerging from the past worldwide. Moreover, shamanism, another imaginary construct like the category of indigenous, will become the new world religion. This is just my theory though, not a prophecy. Anyways, cheers and thanks for the analysis. Sorry it is a few years late, but as an anthro I had to chime in.

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    • Hello Alzhan,

      Thank you very much for sharing this comment!

      I completely agree with you about the ‘evidence’ for these Illuminati theories. While I find them entertaining, and sometimes interesting, really it’s just a big misunderstanding of much older Kazakh symbols.

      It makes me very happy that you – as a Kazakh – appreciated this article! I hope that by writing this I am able to share a little critical thinking on the subject of these Astana rumours… and hopefully, also inspire more people to travel and visit Kazakhstan for themselves.


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  6. Well I believe that Astana is definitely a satanic capital. From the very start, the name of satan is found in both the capital a(stana) and the country kaz(a)kh(stan). They try and hide satans name just like they do in santa claus. You have the tree of life and the masonic brass pillars of Jachin and Boaz. Stop being ignorant and just look at whats before you. Beating around the bush isn’t helping the world right now, we need the truth. I think Kazakhstan as a whole has something going on there. First off, it’s said to be the birthplace of apples, which is the representation of satans trickery in the garden of eden. Second, there’s that evil pentagram there which is 666 feet above sea level and 666 feet across. Now we have this capital being built rapidly with masonic symbology everywhere you walk. The tree of life, pyramid of peace, jachin and boaz which are from Solomons temple in the bible in Jeremiah. Starting to get the picture?? Yes Dubai is also fascinating, but it doesn’t have all of this masonic crap in it. Pyramid of peace sounds way too much like a satanic principle in itself. The Antichrist of Revelation is said to make a peace pact for 42 months. this is why the answer to life the universe and everything is 42 on GOOGLE when you type it in the search bar. The Antichrist literally makes peace with the whole world and then breaks the peace pact after 42 months. The pyramid of peace is said to bring every religions and everyone together for peace purposes. Sounds good for peace, but there is only one God and his name is JESUS. Back to the apple. The apple is said to represent satan because of the core of the apple has a star with seeds in it, satans seed. Kazakhstan is known for birthplace of apples and maybe even horses. Astana has something going on there. We need to figure it out

    • Dude, you clearly have a very rich imagination or read too much of Dan Brown’s book. I am a Kazakh girl, living in the city of Almaty. I have traveled to Astana many times and read Dan Brown’s books as well. Yes, there are some coinсidences but all of this doesnt make sense unless you actually try to find it and make yourself believe all the crap you just wrote down. We are a very young country. Yes, the fact that Astana has become this magnificent on such short notice is kind of shocking, but then, we live in 21st century and such leaps from “nothing” to “something” always tend to look magnified.
      It’s like I can look at the clock right now its it will say 6hr6min6sec, oh my god, its Satan’s symbol! You can look for these things everywhere and you’d be amazed how many “hidden symbols” of Illuminati’s presence you will find ALL OVER THE WORLD.
      Yes, maybe there is some bigger organization/force we don’t know about, but then what? You are just a small person, so am I. Just leave it.
      Also, I haven’t really read this article, but dear Darmon, have you been to Kazakhstan? You are welcome to explore more culture. I am not mad here, actually I am amused by this article, as it raises more curiosity about my country. So, I hope lots of tourists will visit us anytime soon to uncover the truth! Thank you very much!

    • Aizhan –

      Thank you for leaving a comment, it’s really good to have an input here from a local Kazakh.

      You mention you didn’t really read the article… Well, in the same way that you suggest it’s best not to judge a city before visiting, I would suggest it’s best not to judge an article before reading it!

      I spent a month in the summer of 2012 backpacking around Kazakhstan, and I really fell in love with the country – visiting Astana, Lake Burabay, Almaty, Karagany and a few other places.

      As I researched Astana later, I began to find many of the sorts of theories as are described above. It interested me, but also did not fit in with my own experience of the city. In the article here, I have reviewed some of the main “illuminati” theories which tend to be associated with Astana… and have concluded that they’re not true.

      If you read my very last paragraph, it says:

      “to attribute this unique design to a secret society hellbent on establishing a New World Order, is just plain silly.”

      I didn’t set out to disprove or debunk anything – I just looked at theories, compared them to my own experience and research, and that was the conclusion I came to.

      As you’ll see from the comment immediately above yours, “trav W” has called me ignorant for coming to that conclusion… but that’s fine, we all have different opinions.

      Anyway, I think you’ll find that you and me are actually arguing on the same side in this! Like you, I also hope that this article will inspire more people to visit, as I really feel that Kazakhstan is one of the most beautiful and welcoming countries on this planet.

      Best wishes,

    • A very interesting read, Darmon. I surely get more perspectives on Astana, and how ignorant some people can be. I couldn’t agree with you that the theory about Astana as an Illuminati capital is unfounded, to put it simply. I couldn’t help not to comment on Travis’ thought on this. For those who have the same opinion about Astana as a satanic capital because of its name and also the name of the country, did you know that astana means capital in Kazakh, and the -stan for the country’s name is based on Old Persian’s way of referring to a country? Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Afghanistan were all named in this fashion…and also Hayastan for Armenia’s original name, plus Hindustan as how India is called in Arabic. So I suggest everyone to delve deeper into historical aspect — broad historical aspect that is — before making a misguided conclusion on this subject.

    • Yes Bama, I completely agree with you. There are a lot of strange things about Astana, but I just don’t feel the name can be used in any argument like this. As you say, it all comes from a language so much older than Christianity. That part can only be a coincidence, I think.

      Thanks for commenting!

  7. Nice jog

  8. Fascinating. As a moderately informed student of the illuminati story, I found this a new and intriguing addition to the myth.

    • Good. I’m glad I was able to add to your repertoire of theories and suspicions.

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