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Kazakhstan Launches Contest for National Superhero

Thursday 17 May 2012

ASTANA (RIA Novosti) – Kazakhstan has announced a contest to create an image of a national superhero who will be named after the Central Asian country’s capital, Astana, the capital’s web site reported on Wednesday.

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The word Astana in Kazakh literally means Capital but the word itself originates from Persian Astaneh (آستانه) meaning “sublime threshold” or “royal porte”, implying a royal capital city or a holy shrine town.

A total of 123 people, including 37 Kazakhs, will take part in the contest, which will be held on July 1-3 during an action movie festival. The participants are supposed to add a Kazakh member to the pantheon of Batman, Spiderman, Captain America, etc., inventing his biography, costume and appearance.

According to organizers, Astana the superhero should become “a symbol of the young, energetic and rapidly developing capital of Kazakhstan” and should embody the values, traditions, culture and history of Kazakh people.

Astana became the capital of Kazakhstan in 1997. The capital was moved from Almaty to Astana due to its more centralized location. It is the second largest city (after Almaty) of Kazakhstan, with an officially estimated population of 708,794 as of 1 August 2010.

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