National Pantheon design chosen in Astana14 october 2014, 19:43
Astana Akimat (Municipal authorities) conducted a competition for the best idea of the National Pantheon from December 1, 2013 to March 1, 2014. Three foreign and four Kazakhstani companies were invited to participate in the competition: KazGor, Kazakhstan’s Architects Union, Kazakhstan’s Designers Union, NIPI Astanagenplan, AECOM (USA), Mario Cucinella Architects (Italy) and Kourosh Rafiey (Iran). Besides, the committee received 13 more applications. The contest results were unveiled in the end of July. KazGor's design won.
In December 2013 it was reported that the National Pantheon, a cemetery for people who made sizable contribution to development of Kazakhstan, would be built in Astana. Later, it was said that the Pantheon would be build in Kabanbai Batyr Village near Astana.
Deputy Akim (Vice-Mayor) of Astana Sergei Khoroshun said that similar pantheons were being built in different countries. Pantheons do not only attract tourists but also foster patriotism, citing Turkey and Portugal as examples.
Not everyone is happy with the idea of building a national pantheon in Kazakhstan. Critics said that worshiping graves is considered a sin both in Islam and Christianity. “A pantheon is idolatry, which is a sin for a righteous Muslim. We pray to Allah for the dead but do not worship them,” Armangazy Muratov of the Heritage of Ancestral Traditions social fund said.
By Gyuzel Kamalova