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    ASTANA, January 10th, 2004 (RIA Novosti special correspondent) - Russian and Kazakh Presidents Vladimir Putin and Nursultan Nazarbayev visited the Astana-Baiterik monument on Saturday.

    The monument is situated at the very heart of Astana's new administrative centre, still under construction. In line with the general plan of the city's development, an administrative-and-business as well as a social-and-cultural centres of the new Kazakh capital are to be built.

    Now the presidential residence, the buildings of parliament, ministries, the Islamic cultural centre, a circus and an outpatient clinic are under construction. Four facilities have already been commissioned. Among them is the Astana-Baiterik monument, 97-meters high. This figure is not accidental. It was in 1997 when the capital was moved to Astana surrounded by endless steppes with poplars, or baiterik in Kazakh.

    Vladimir Putin and Nursultan Nazarbayev climbed to the concluding part of the monument by lift. It is a huge ball offering a wonderful view on the new administrative centre under construction.

    On the way to the monument, the two presidents, on Nazarbayev's initiative, visited an ocean centre, the world's remotest from the ocean, which is part of the future entertainment centre, Duman, to include an aqua park, a hotel and a casino.

    In the ocean centre, the two leaders saw water pools with piranhas, small sharks, porcupine fish, and skates. The two presidents also saw an underwater tunnel - one of the longest in the world.

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