Kazakhstan Desert


The presidential republic of Kazakhstan- a large part of the erstwhile USSR- became independent on December 16, 1991, the very last of the numerous states within the Soviet Republic to do so. Geographically speaking, it is the ninth-largest country in the world, with an area of close to 2.7 million sq km, larger than Western Europe.

Kazakhstan Tours, Tickets, Activities & Things To Do

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Moreover, it holds the unique distinction of being the largest landlocked country on the globe. It is hemmed in by Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, China and part of the Caspian Sea. Essentially an Asian country, a small portion thereof intrudes into the Western segment of the Ural range in East Europe. It has six cities that are both large and populous, these being Almaty, its biggest city; Karagandy, Astana, Atyrau, Shymkent and Oskemen.

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On independence, Almaty was nominated its capital but for some unusual reason, it shifted capital to Astana in 1997. Its population totals sixteen million, most of whom speak Kazakh, the national language, or Russian. After the breakup of the USSR, the influence of the Internet and access to mass media, most urbanites speak English as well. Its primary religion is Islam, closely followed by Christianity. Given its size, its territory is a combination of snow-capped mountains, hilly areas, steppes and forests, flatlands, taigas, rock-canyons, deltas and deserts.

Almaty Lake

by Martin de Lusenet

Its population density is less than 6 people per sq km. The variations in natural landscape promote aesthetic beauty, with over thousands of varieties in flora and fauna, from the uppermost reaches through the forests, and from the steppes to the high southern mountain range. Its climate is not very friendly, being of the extreme continental type. Rain is irregular and it is possible to see sowing going on in the South, with snowfall in the North, accompanied by blizzards. The cultivable soil is very rich and makes for good harvests.

Kazakh culture is a mix of the best of the East and West, without bias towards either. Its originality is characteristic of the standards observed in most Indo-European civilisations, the primary feature being absence of political or ethnic conflicts, despite its ethnic and cultural diversity. Kazakhstan reportedly has 131 nationalities, mainly because unwanted people were deported to this part of the country during Stalin’s purge.

Tourists to Kazakhstan find the Zhetysu region of Almaty popular for its equability of rivers, unique mountains and thousands of gushing streamlets. Astana, Aktau and Atyrau are historical cities, dating back to Genghis Khan. The Borovoye lake resort is the pride of the Borovoye area, situated in Shuchinsky district in Central Kazakhstan. The water in the lake is pellucid, allowing you to peer at flora and fish swimming around the bottom of the lake. The resort has sanitariums and camping sites, with crowds thronging the beaches, stores, restaurants and dance halls. Shymkent, Taldykorgan and Taraz cities are also popular for the variety in life styles prevalent in these diverse cities.

Kazakhs sit on the ground to eat from a low table called a “dastarkhan”. The most eaten dish is the national meat dish, “beshparmak” (“five fingers”, because it is eaten by hand). Traditionally, Kazakh cuisine comprised of meat and milk products. However, vegetables, fruits, baked dishes, fish, seafood and sweets now feature on the menu.

Kazhakstan has seven airports, the international ones only at Almaty and Astana. Roadways leave much to be desired, but the railways are reasonably good. Travel across this vast country is time consuming. Tourist packages include horseback travel, apart from buses and rail trips. These packages are expensive, strange to say. A visit to the Caspian Sea is a must. Regarding its economy, Oil export has been the backbone of its strength; other major exports include wheat, textiles, and livestock. Kazakhstan believes that it will become the world’s number one exporter of uranium in the very near future.

Citizens of Australia and New Zealand do not require visas. Certain other countries do and necessary formalities have to be completed in advance. Kazakh currency is the Tenge (KZT); 1 US Dollar = 150 Tenge. Its time zone is split into West Kazakhstan at UTC+5 and East Kazakhstan at UT+6.

Date posted: 14th July, 2018

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