August 1, 2011
The Fragile Rise of Kazakhstan's 'Asia Model'
Joshua Kucera, Slate
If Guinness were to keep a record of Greatest Number of Heads of State To Attend the Opening of a Shopping Mall, it's safe to assume that the standard was set last summer at the grand opening of the Khan Shatyr in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan.
To be sure, this was not an ordinary mall. The Khan Shatyr (its name means king's tent in Kazakh) is a spectacular, shimmering silver structure sweeping up from the steppe. Designed by celebrated British architect Norman Foster to evoke the nomadic tradition that is only a couple of generations removed from today's Kazakhs, at 500 feet tall it qualifies—in a record that apparently does exist—as the tallest tent in the ...