Kazakhstan’s national EXPO 2017 pavilion Nur Alem attracts visitors and residents of Astana. The first level is devoted to Kazakhstan’s history, Kazakh customs and traditions. The pavilion’s concept was developed by a talented designer Aigerim Akenova. She says that her main task was to reflect the national identity following the international experience. The designer took into account personality types of men, and the theory of the five human senses.


 - The first part is a metaphorical journey that immerses us into the five senses. As Iliyas Yesenberlin wrote in his essays, a tree strengthens its roots first and then grows up. In the first part of the metaphorical journey, we are nurturing our roots - for what? - in order to move to the second part of the pavilion which is called the zone of ‘Creative Energy’. It means that we are reapprehending our culture, traditions and take only that part that will let us take confident steps towards the future.

It starts with the hospitality wall. I didn’t want to literally present the Kazakh traditions and the yurt itself, but instead, let the visitors touch and feel the yurt. So, I decided to use all the materials of the yurt. They are wood, metal, felt and velvet, things that can be touched, that can convey our culture. Let’s start with the first. The first legend is about the first Kazakh man, who had three sons. He has divided his wealth into four parts. He gave three equal parts to his sons. The fourth part was divided into three parts again and was dedicated to hospitality. So, that shows the roots of our traditions.

We have come to the next installation named ‘The Golden Cup’. The installation presents legends about the Urker Pleiades. Why did I want to tell about these legends? The main idea is to reveal Kazakh people’s potential. Maybe our ancestors didn’t build a lot of architectural monuments as it can be seen in Europe, but there is always another side of the medal – they have gained a lot of knowledge about the sky and about the stars. The first legend here is telling about how the stars appeared in the sky.

What is Kazakhstan associated with? It is the country of the Great Steppe - Uly dala. In fact, this is something we can be proud of - our rich nature. It is something that shaped our culture, our relationship with the nature, harmony, our music. So, the first zone of the metaphorical journey is presented here. In fact, this installation presents four seasons, all our landscapes and it has the fragrance of the steppe, which was developed by a scientist from Kazakhstan together with perfumers from France.

One of the last installations triggers our audio senses. It is named the ‘Life Thread’. Here we are presenting 16 strings performing 16 kuyis that have been selected specifically according to schools of traditional music. Four traditional music schools that have been developed in four different regions of Kazakhstan are presented here. So, there are four kuyis from every region. A person touches the string and hears a kuyi. In this case we are telling that Kazakhstan is a vast country because what sounds in the west and what sounds in the east of Kazakhstan is very different, same as the music of the south and the north. So, here visitors immerse into the culture of Kazakhstan.

National pavilion "Nur Alem" became an invaluable heritage of the international exhibition Astana EXPO 2017. At present, the sphere is one of the main sights of the capital; it is becoming a recognizable symbol and attracting foreign travelers.