After walking through the fresh snow for a while, it was easy to recognize the Monument of Independence. A tall obelisk rising up from street level, actually so tall I could hardly see what was on top, market the spot of the monument. It is more than just an obelisk: it is flanked by various statues and a screen in bronze. The screen tells you about some highlights of Kazakh history: defeats of several foreign forces who dared to attack the proud Kazakhs, but also modern history - even president Nazarbayev is featured on the right-hand panel, surrounded by Kazakhs and buildings forming the map of the country.
Three Kazakh women approached the Monument of Independence, and had their picture taken while holding their right hand on the bronze book at the foot of the obelisk, representing the Constitution of Kazakhstan. Close to it, on the base of the obelisk, you can find the most important dates of recent Kazakh history: the declaration of sovereignty of 25 October 1990, and the formal independence on 16 December 1991. The message on the bronze book is in Kazakh, Russian, and English; in the latter language, it invites you to make a wish. The hand is an imprint of the right hand of the president; so many people have already made a wish, it looks worn.
After looking around at the base and the bronze panels, I walked away a little bit to be able to see the figure on top of the obelisk. The grayish weather did not help to see it clearly, but I could finally discern the famous Golden Man, standing atop of a winged snow leopard. The Golden Man was a prince, or princess, who lived in the 3rd or 4th century BCE, and whose grave was discovered in 1969, together with some 4,000 pieces of gold - hence the name. It has become a symbol of Kazakhstan, which explains its prominent place on top of the Monument of Independence.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Independence Monument (). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Independence Monument.
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