In the north of Kazakhstan lies the city that has been its capital since 1997. Astana is a city of extremes: with a continental climate, it enjoys hot summers and endures very cold, long winters; in fact, it is the second coldest capital city in the world. The Ishim River which runs through Astana is frozen from November to April. Although a city with a long and chequered history, a new era has dawned for Astana and the old Soviet buildings are slowly but surely being replaced by architectural wonders created by some of the most creative minds in the world. Set for completion in 2030, new diplomatic areas south of the river are being busily built at present. Meanwhile, a stroll along The Green Boulevard, known locally - in Kazakh - as The Shining Path, is a journey among the most famous and distinctive buildings in the country, including the Tower of Bayterek. Reflecting and celebrating the varied cultures and influences that make up the peoples of Astana, there are many mosques, cathedrals and historic buildings to visit, not to mention museums, theatres and monuments.