Most name changes by capital
Most name changes of a capital city in the 20th century The capital of Kazakhstan is Astana, which literally means `the capital'. Astana became the capital of the Central Asian republic in 1997, but was called Aqmola (originally spelt Akmola), which means `the white tomb', a name that led to jibes about this windswept Soviet-built city. Akmola was adopted as the name of the city in 1991 when Kazakhstan gained independence from the USSR. From 1961 to 1991 the city was known as Tselinograd (meaning, in Russian, `Virgin Lands City'), as it was one of the centres of the agricultural expansion programme of the Soviet Virgin and Idle Lands Campaign. Prior to 1961 it was called Akmolinsk.