ASTANA -- Kazakhstani officials and business leaders gathered in Astana Thursday (April 5) to mark the 20th anniversary of the city's elevation to the country's capital and to discuss further development of the city, Kazinform reported.
Astana, formerly known as Tselinograd and Akmola, was declared the capital of Kazakhstan in 1998. The previous capital was Almaty.
President Nursultan Nazarbayev opened the celebration with a speech, calling Astana "a city of peace and harmony".
In just 20 years, Astana has become a city with a population of greater than 1 million and a reputation for hosting landmark events, he said.
Nazarbayev credited all of Kazakhstan's citizens for helping to build the city.
"We admire and rejoice at what we ourselves have done; it is the victory of our people, the victory of Kazakhstanis, the victory of those who built the city with their own hands, laying each brick," the president said.
"We are not going to stop here; we will continue the work," he said.