May 22, 2018 / 1:39 PM / in a month

Gales damage peace pyramid in Kazakh capital

ASTANA (Reuters) - Gale-force winds have punched holes in one of Astana’s best known buildings, a granite-and-glass pyramid, the Kazakh authorities said, warning that stormy weather could continue.

A general view shows the Palace of Peace and Harmony, the 62 metres (203.41 feet) high pyramid designed by British architect Lord Norman Foster, damaged by gale-force winds in Astana, Kazakhstan May 22, 2018. REUTERS/Mukhtar Kholdorbekov

The Palace of Peace and Accord, a 62-metre high pyramid designed by British architect Lord Norman Foster, is in the heart of the city and is used for conferences and stages opera performances in its basement.

Gusts moving at up to 90 kph (about 56 mph) also ripped the roofs off at least three buildings on Tuesday, including a school and a kindergarten, Astana mayor’s office said in a statement. A crane toppled over.

A general view shows the Palace of Peace and Harmony, the 62 metres (209.97 feet) high pyramid designed by British architect Lord Norman Foster, damaged by gale-force winds in Astana, Kazakhstan May 22, 2018. REUTERS/Mukhtar Kholdorbekov

The mayor’s office said 13 people suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the storm and warned that winds of a similar strength were expected on Wednesday.

Known for its eye-catching architecture, Astana, once a small provincial center, became the capital of the oil-rich Central Asian nation 20 years ago, prompting a construction boom.

Among its notable buildings are a tent-shaped shopping mall and a 105-metre high tower with an observation deck inside a sphere on top, with a gilded print of the right hand of Nursultan Nazarbayev, the country’s leader since 1989.

Reporting by Raushan Nurshayeva; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Alison Williams

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