Baiterek is a monument and observation tower in Nur-Sultan, the capital city of Kazakhstan. A tourist attraction popular with foreign visitors and Kazakhstanis, it is emblematic of the city, which became capital of the country in 1997. The tower is located on Nurjol Boulevard, and is considered a symbol of post-independence Kazakhstan.
The project was launched on the initiative of the first President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, the architect of the project is Akmurza Rustembekov.
The 105m tall structure rises from a wide flat base within a raised plaza. It consists of a narrow cylindrical shaft, surrounded by white branch-like girders that flare out near the top, supporting a gold-mirrored 22m diameter sphere. The base contains a ticket booth and exhibition space, with two lifts rising within the shaft to the observation deck within the 'egg'. Entrances to the monument are sunk below eye level, reached by stairs from the surrounding plaza.
The observation deck is 97m above ground level. It consists of two levels, one with 360 degree views of Nur-Sultan and beyond, with a second, higher level, reached by a flight of stairs. The top level features a gilded hand print of the right hand of Nursultan Nazarbayev, the first President of independent Kazakhstan, mounted in an ornate pedestal. A plaque invites visitors to place a hand in the imprint and make a wish. Alongside the handprint, and also oriented in the direction of the presidential palace, is a wooden sculpture of a globe and 16 radiating segments, commemorating the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, held several times in Nur-Sultan.
The monument was built as a symbol of the transfer of the capital from Alma-Ata to Akmola in 1997.
The monument is meant to embody a folktale about a mythical tree of life and a magic bird of happiness: the bird, named Samruk, laid her egg in the crevice between two branches of the tree.
The significance of "Baiterek" as a symbol of a new stage in the life of the Kazakh people is emphasized by the artistic composition "Ayaly alakan" (Kazakh: Аялы алақан - "caring hands") with an imprint of the president's right hand, located at a height of 97 meters, which symbolizes 1997 - the year of the proclamation Astana as the new capital of the state and, accordingly, a new starting point in the history of the country.