French writer Victor Hugo once wrote of shopping that, “As the purse is emptied, the heart is filled.” And if you’re one who relates to that sentiment and loves a good day of shopping, Astana is the city for you.
In Astana, shopping goes beyond just stores with the latest fashions and electronics. It’s an experience. The first place you’ll want to stop for that experience is the Khan Shatyr, opened with great fanfare in 2010. This three-story complex is billed as the world’s largest tent and includes everything from a wave pool to sauna to an amusement ride that drops you three stories from the top of the complex. And, of course, you can shop at dozens of stores on three levels that offer the hottest brands. The Khan Shatyr was designed as an indoor entertainment center for locals to enjoy during the city’s renowned sub-zero winters. But you can also enjoy it year round.
Mega Mall is another of Astana’s large shopping experiences. Mega is located in the heart of the city and is a great place for both kids and discerning adult shoppers. Adults will find dozens of shops on multiple levels offering international name brands from familiar outlets. Kids will love the in-door “Babylon” entertainment center which offers arcades games, racing cars, pin ball machines and 3D battle simulations.
More hardcore shoppers will want to head to the Sary Arka or Sine Tempore centers where the emphasis is on shopping rather than entertainment. Sine Tempore is Astana’s oldest shopping center and features the city’s most expensive and prestigious boutiques. You won’t find a multiplex or entertainment center at Sine Tempore. Just quality shopping.
And if you’re looking to pick up a souvenir for the family, try Empire Casa, which features exclusively-designed Kazakh-related items.
Regardless of what you are looking for, in Astana you can shop to your heart’s content.
Asia Park Shopping Center
This mall and entertainment center is spacious (45,000 sq. meters), up to date, has a 5-theater multiplex and a fabulous entertainment center for the kids. With 168 shops in the galleria, there are plenty of shopping opportunities. It boasts a fully-equipped Fitness First club and offers convenient middleclass shopping in a safe and friendly atmosphere.
This is the place to get high quality souvenirs of Kazakhstan. They have an exclusive range of products with original designs. Their products are perfect as corporate gifts or for weddings and other memorable occasions.
Boutiques are also located in the Astana International Airport and the following malls: Mega, Keruen, Sine Tempore.
Eurasia Shopping Centre
A hallmark of the Eurasia shopping centre is its international diversity and availability of goods from around the world. In fact, the centre was named Eurasia from a combination of Europe and Asia because Kazakhstan helps bridge those worlds.
Here you’ll find not only the staples of everyday life, but also high-end items. Shoppers will find furs from Greece, China and the United Arab Emerites and jewelry from Turkey, Russia and Ukraine. Eurasia also has a diverse selection of food items.
Though Eurasia is a regular stop for Astana residents, it also offers a souvenir shop called Shefer and a national clothing store called Kovolek of interest to visitors. In both, tourists can sample Kazakh culture and find items that will help them remember their time in Kazakhstan.
In 2005, the shopping centre added 14,000 square metres to its existing 19,000 square metres of shopping.
Located on the Left Bank this mall attracts the younger crowd. It includes a food court, restaurants, a full grocery store and shops. It is considered to have the best multiplex with seven movie theaters.
The Khan Shatyr is the latest addition to the Astana shopping and entertainment scene. It has a unique design, like a large transparent tent, created to manage the extreme temperature range of the Central Asian steppe. Described as an urban-scale indoor park, shopping and entertainment venue, the shopping is upscale and varied. This is one place not to miss while in Astana.
Mega is one of the first shopping malls in Astana and is still quite popular. (As part of a promotion, the mall received about 100,000 birthday wishes on stickers on the anniversary of its establishment.) Mega is shaped like a glass doughnut with a dome in the center instead of a hole. As with most malls in Astana, Mega is family oriented and has movie theaters, a food court and restaurants.
The two-level Men Style store boasts an impressive 800 square meters of showrooms. It offers leading European brands such as Rene Lezard, Strellson, Lodenfrey, Jacques Britt, and Marz with about 25 brands in total. It offers everything from modern business to every day casual and classic wear to suit even the most discriminating customer. And in September 2011, Men Style raised the city’s style bar by organizing a men’s clothing club in which members get together to discuss new fashion trends and show off new collections.
Men Style Astana is situated conveniently between the left and right banks near the Samal Bridge. It is easy to spot as it has a large sign that reads “MEN STYLE” with a black and white silhouette of a man wearing a tie.
Sary Arka Shopping Mall
This mall is for the shopping aficionado. It focuses on shopping more than entertainment and has a wide variety of brand name shops and independent boutiques. Of course, it also has cinemas and an extensive food court. But keep in mind that its culture is shopping.
Situated in the heart of a thriving neighborhood on the right bank of the Yessil River, the Sine Tempore Shopping Centre is a great place to people-watch.
Sine Tempore, known locally as TsUM — which is pronounced “zoom” and is a Russian acronym for Central Department Store which this location was during Soviet times — is one of the oldest modern shopping centers in the city having opened its doors in a slightly different form in 1978. It’s a real neighbourhood shopping center where you can find both international brand names and small, locally-owned outlets. Among the brand names you’re likely to find at this 90-store complex are Benetton, Mont Blanc, and Bally’s. But you’ll also find local shoe repair shops, a dry cleaners and even a sewing shop. There’s also a drug store, a local beauty salon and a children’s centre.