Kazakhstan is an important cultural and economic bridge between Asia and Europe, a junction of several largest civilizations. It is the 9th biggest country in the world and the second largest among CIS countries, bordering with Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Population of Kazakhstan exceeds 18 million people and comprises about 130 ethnic groups.
Kazakhstan has a unique combination of geographical zones with rich biological and landscape diversity due to its size and location. It is the world largest country with no access to the World Oceans. Deserts and semi-deserts can be found in the South and West, mountains in the Central, East and South-East Kazakhstan, and North is mainly steppe and forest-steppe zones. The highest peak is KhanTengri Mountain which is 6,995 meters above the sea level. 7 large rivers with a length of over 1,000 km (it is the Volga, the Ural and the Emba flowing into the Caspian Sea, the Irtysh, the Ishim and the Tobol flowing into the Arctic Ocean, and also the Syrdarya), 12 rivers over 500 km long and several thousands small rivers flow throughout Kazakhstan territory. There are numerous lakes, comprising one of the largest and unique ones in the world Lake Balkhash with fresh water in the western part and salt water in the eastern.
The nature of Kazakhstan is very diverse. The county’s flora and fauna are represented by various species of rare and unique animals and plants, many of which are listed in the Red Book and on the verge of extinction. In general, there are over 6000 species of plants, 500 of which are endemic. Fauna of Kazakhstan is represented by numerous animals — 180 species of mammals, 500 species of birds, 52 species of reptiles, 12 species of amphibians, over 100 species of fish.
Snow Leopard is an official symbol of Kazakhstan. This animal can be found in sanctuaries around Kazakhstan, including Almaty State Nature Reserve, Ile-Alatau State National Nature Park.
Kazakhstan has 5 cultural and natural heritages on the UNESCO World Heritage List: The Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi (inscribed in 2003), Petroglyphs within the Archaeological Landscape of Tamgaly (inscribed in 2004), Saryarka – Steppe and Lakes of Northern Kazakhstan (inscribed in 2008), and two transnational routes, Silk Roads: The Routes Network of Chang'an-Tianshan Corridor (shared with China and Kyrgyzstan) and Western Tien-Shan (shared with Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan).
In addition, there are 13 more sites which are being considered to be included in the World Heritage List:
Aksu-Zhabagly State Natural Reserve, Archaeological Sites of Otrar Oasis, Barrows with Stone Ranges of the Tasmola Culture, Cultural Landscape of Ulytau, Megalithic Mausolea of the Begazy-Dandybai Culture (24/09/1998), Northern Tyan-Shan (Ile-Alatau State National Park), Paleolithic Sites and Geomorphology of Karatau Mountain Range, Petroglyphs of Arpa-Uzen, Petroglyphs of Eshkiolmes, Silk Road, State National Natural Park “Altyn-Emel”, Turkic sanctuary of Merke, Petroglyph Site of Sauyskandyk.
Nur-Sultan (former Astana). In compliance with official data, Nur-Sultan is the youngest capital globally.
3 biggest cities, Almaty, Nur-Sultan and Shymkent, are located in UTC+ 6 zone.
Geographically, Kazakhstan is equally far from both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and the Indian and the Arctic ones. Vast territory and remoteness from the oceans affect significantly the climate which can be characterized as continental and sharply continental with average temperature between -4 °C and -19 °C in January and between +19…+26°C in July. So it has 4 distinct seasons: sunny and hot summers, snowy and cold winters, colorful spring and autumn.
Kazakh is a state official language. Russian is the second official language.
Citizens of over 60 countries can travel without visa to Kazakhstan:
Currency was introduced on 15th November 1993. It possesses 18 degrees of protection and is considered to be one of the most protected currencies worldwide. US dollars (USD) and euros (EUR) can be easily exchanged to tenge (KZT) practically in all money exchanges and banks within Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan is often called “the intersection of civilizations”. Both historians and archaeologists discovered and confirmed the artifacts of Buddhism, Zoroastrianism and Tengriism. Currently, there are plenty of creeds and beliefs, yet the mainstream of population is divided into Muslims (Sunnites) and Russian orthodox Christianity.
Electrical current in Kazakhstan is 220 volts; AC 50Hz. European two-pin power sockets are used.
Kazakhstan has immense reserves of mineral wealth. 99 out of 105 elements listed in Mendeleyev’s periodic table are found in the country. It is among top 10 in the world with oil reserves. The country has about 4% of the world’s gold reserve as well as significant silver reserves. According to official statistic Kazakhstan is rated second after the Russian Federation in terms of phosphoric deposits.
For this reason businesses and enterprises, which extract and refined oil, gas, coal, non-ferrous and ferrous metals, play a key role. Moreover, by far the largest deposited of chromium, fluorine, iron, zinc, tungsten, molybdenum, copper, potassium and cobalt have been discovered on the territory of Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan is the place of apple fruit origin
The apple genome sequence confirmed that the central Asian apple Málus sievérsii is the ancestor of the modern apples. Along the Great Road Route vendors and animals fed on wild apples and spread it both to China and Europe. So, with the time apples became domesticated and cultivated.
Kazakhstan is the birthplace of tulips
Several countries today use tulips as a tourist brand. Tulips from Amsterdam are world-famous, but most Dutch varieties can be traced back to their origins to Central Asia. The mountains of Central Asia are considered to be the birthplace of wild tulips. 34 species of tulips grow on the territory of Kazakhstan. Along the Silk Road tulips were transported to Iran and Turkey and further to Europe.
Kazakhstan is the place where the largest spaceport is located
The largest and first spaceport called Baikonur Cosmodrome is situated in Kazakhstan. In 1957 first unmanned artificial satellite was launched from Baikonur spaceport and 4 years later first manned one with Yuri Gagarin on board. Furthermore, first artificial satellites of the earth, the sun and the moon were launched from the same site. Area of Baikonur makes up 6717 km². Russia has signed a lease contact of Baikonur with Kazakhstan, which is valid till 2050. The price is $115 000 000 per year.
Kazakhstan is the place where the highest mountain skating rink in the world is located
Sport complex Medeu (the literal translation from the Kazakh language is «support») is located in the mountains of Trans-Ili Alatau Mountains on 1691 meters above the sea level. Currently Medeu is the highest mountain complex in the world for winter sports with the largest area of artificial ice field — 10 500 m². Its location and pure mountain water, which is used for ice formation in Medeu, contributes to the achievements of high results in skating. About 170 world records have been set there.
Kazakh people have a unique alphabet
Kazakh alphabet is based on Cyrillic alphabet and has 42 letters: 33 letters of Russian alphabet and 9 specific letters of Kazakh. Along history different systems of writing were used: Arabic, Latin and Cyrillic. By 2025 it is expected to switch to Latin-based alphabet again.
The New Year in Kazakhstan is celebrated twice
New Year is celebrated on the 31 of December according to European tradition and on the 21-23 of March in accordance with Turkic tradition. Both of above mentioned holidays are public ones.
It is a well-known fact that Great Steppe gave the world the horse breeding and in general horsemanship culture. The domestication of horses by man took place on the territories of modern Kazakhstan. It can be considered as the biggest revolution in the economy and military affairs on the global scale at that time. It became the “culture code” of the nomad culture. High saddles and stirrups were also invented by Nomads to improve the control of the horse riding.
Interestingly, the horsemanship culture gave the start to the clothing vision to upper and lowers parts. Striving to comfort in clothing Nomads invented first types of trousers. It is also known that modern boots are the “successors” of the soft shoes with a metal rod and heel which nomads used for riding.