Astana is the new(ish) capital of Kazakhstan. It is one of the newest capitals in the world in that it was built from nearly the ground up in 1997/8. Our president decided to move the capital from Almaty because having just escaped from communist Soviet Union, there was fear of our capital being so close to communist China. So he moved it up to little Akmola, which was in the middle of nothing. Just a tiny run down town which was demolished and 10 billion was spent to develop Astana (Kazakh for capital, creative I know). This is why the town has such a futuristic appearance to it. But everywhere you look, if you look hard enough, you will see bits of Kazakh culture hidden. The city is still under constant contruction.
Expo 2017 is what you might know better as the world's fair. It's like the Olympics, but without sports. It's held every few years in a different country. This year was the first time Kazakhstan got to host it. The theme was Future Energy. It's running most of the summer, ending in just over a week. This year 115 countries participated. Some countries (or continent) have their own pavillions, and each country got their own national day, where they showcased their country and their efforts and contributions to future energy.
Almaty, formelerly Alma-Ata, is my birthplace. Almaty translates to city of apples and is known as such because to the south is the Tian Shen mountain range which is believed to be the birthplace of apples. It is also known as the city of gardens because the Soviets built up gardens and parks all over the city. It was the former capital of the country, still is the cultural capital, and is the largest city double the size of Astana. Alma-ata was where Stalin would send the enemies he was too afraid to kill, most notably Trotsky. It's nestled in the south, near the mountains and while I may be biased, it's a beautiful city.