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Great Britain and Kazakhstan
4. National Gallery
London, one of the permanent national art collections of Great Britain. Its building, in Greek style, stands in Trafalgar Square. It was designed and erected (183238) by William Wilkins and was shared for 30 years with the Royal Academy of Arts. In 1876 a new wing was added, designed by E. M. Barry. The nucleus of the collection was formed in 1824 with 38 pictures from J. J. Angerstein's collection. The gallery is rich in Italian paintings of the 15th and 16th cent. and has fine collections of French, Flemish, and Dutch masters. The National Portrait Gallery, whose collection dates from 1858, has adjoined the National Gallery since 1896. Originally controlled by the National Gallery, the Tate Gallery attained complete independence in 1955 by an act of Parliament. An extension designed by Robert Venturi was completed in the early 1990s.
5. Hyde Park
This is 615 acres (249 hectares) in Westminster borough, London, England. Once the manor of Hyde, a part of the old Westminster Abbey property, it became a deer park under Henry VIII. Races were held there in the 17th cent. In 1730, Queen Caroline had the artificial lake, the Serpentine, constructed. It curves diagonally through Hyde Park; in Kensington Gardens the lake is called the Long Water. Distinctive features of the park are Hyde Park Corner (near the Marble Arch), the meeting place of soapbox orators, and Rotten Row, a famous bridle path.
1. Astana - The new capital
Other names for Astana include Akmola, Aqmola, Tselinograd and Akmolinsk. This city was originally founded as a fortress in 1824 and named Akmolinsk. It was renamed Tselinograd (Russian for Virgin City) during the rule of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. The main reason for this name change was to promote more permanent agriculture in Northern Kazakstan during the Virgin Lands Program. The cities name was again changed in 1991 to Aqmola, when Kazakstan gained it's freedom. Because the name Aqmola sounded too much like "White Grave", Nazerbayev changed the name to Astana (literally "Capital") in 1998. Astana has been an important rail junction in Northern Kazakstan. It is located along the Ishim River and they produce agricultural machinery, chemicals and has meat-packing plants. Due to it's location in Northern Kazakstan, there is speculation, that has been officially denied, that the reason for the move of the capital to the north is to exert a more Kazak influence on the more russified Northern Kazakstan.
2. Almaty - The City of apples
The City of Apples, Kazakhstans capital of Almaty -- a.k.a. Alma-Ata, from 1922-1991 -- is a thoroughly Russian city, from its foundation back in 1854, as an imperial frontier outpost, to its decidedly orderly Soviet-style architecture and street plan.
Situated near the Kyrgyzstan border at the foot of the Tian Shan ("the mountains of heaven"), a magnificent range connected with the Himalayas, Almaty is a popular destination for skiers, climbers and other mountain sports enthusiasts.
Almaty is also renowned for its orchards, and it is indeed a city of trees, with wide boulevards lined with leafy guardians. Its a big city, sprawling out over some 12.5 miles. Populated by about 1.5 million residents (Kazakhstans total population is around 16 million), most of whom speak Russian, Almatys growth has been exponential in this century, especially after the Turk-Sib Railway was completed in 1930. That event catapulted the population from 46,000 in 1926 to more than 220,000 in 1939.
Unlike many cities in Central Asia, Almaty itself does not have a long history...
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