Astana may soon have its first crematorium31 march 2014, 11:10
Sabilov believes that there has been a need for a crematorium for a long time, especially now considering the rapid growth of the city's population.
There are literally no crematoriums in Kazakhstan. Back in 2003, the Almaty (Akimat) City Council was apt to build a city crematorium due to the growing number of cemeteries. In 2012, Total.kz reported the first crematorium to be built in Almaty. Two years later there are still no news on the opening of a cremation facility.
One of the reasons the construction was postponed is harsh criticism from religious groups. The major religious confessions in Kazakhstan are Islam, Orthodox Christianity and Judaism. They are all strongly against burning dead bodies.
A pensioner Aida Akhmetova, 63, told Alma Kenzhibekova of the Azattyk that she prefers to be cremated because it will save space. “I do not care if I’m cremated or buried. A soul is eternal while the body is not,” Akhmetova said. The ceremonies are for the living not for the dead, she added.
But despite of the belief of some Kazakhstanis, Islam or Orthdox Christiany do not recognize cremation as a proper burial practice.
According to the businessman from Astana, a crematorium is a must for every big city. “It is much easier and cleaner method than burying in the ground,” Sabilov said.
As cynical as it may be, Sabilov sees cremation as a profitable business. But it is a difficult business to set up, as it requires a great deal of paper work and a permission from the government.
“It will be a clean, beautiful and nice place. We will put a garden with flowers next to the place where caskets will be placed. We also plan to open a workshop for making all types of caskets. In general, it is a creative process,” the businessman said.
The Almaty city council is not planning to build a crematorium in the nearest future. But it is possible that if Astana will finally set things in motion, then Almaty will be more willing to follow suit.