One of the first major construction projects in Astana, Baiterek Tower (‘Tree of Life’) is an imposing, 97m high tower (97 to reflect the year the capital was moved to Astana) in the middle of Nurzhol Boulevard. Since its unveiling, it has become the unequivocal symbol of the young capital. The tower holds a spherical glass-and-metal observation tower in its centre that symbolises a Kazakh legend in which the mythical bird Samruk (symbolising happiness) laid a golden egg in a poplar tree. From this observation tower, you get a bird’s-eye-view of the capital, which – when looked at from above – appears to have been dropped in the middle of the steppe. Built at the behest of the President, the golden imprint of the President’s hand that stands at the centre of this observation tower may be the closest you’ll ever come to actually shaking hands with him.