Intended to be a symbol of the burgeoning new capital of Kazakhstan, the Astana Stadium has a spectacular elliptical form and a retractable roof that can be closed in harsh winter weather conditions to protect the players, the spectators and the playing surface. Located on the highway connecting the airport to the city the stadium is principally designed as a venue for soccer but it can be adapted for other sports and various events. The venue, set within extensive landscaping, has quickly become a landmark in the city. The 30,000 seats stadium was conceived as a large amphitheater with a distinctive and instantly recognizable form when viewed from a distance and from close proximity. Essentially a two tiered structure, the lower terrace, accommodating 16,000 seats, encircles the playing area while the upper stand on the east and west sides seats a further 14,000 spectators. All spectators are seated and have a clear sight line with an unobstructed view of the field of play. Spectators is welcomed and discharged via 24 separate portals. The playing surface is covered in high quality grass surface specified to meet FIFA and UEFA criteria.