Kazakhstan for most people is associated with the steppes, nomads and a nomadic lifestyle. But let’s leave these associations for the 20th century. Now in Kazakhstan, of course, sometimes you can still meet nomads, but this is not at all the same country as before. Tourists in Kazakhstan are waiting for beautiful nature, mountains, birch and coniferous forests, therapeutic lakes with mineral salt water, mineral and thermal springs, therapeutic mud, koumiss, unique historical and archaeological monuments, including the mausoleum of Khoja Akhmet Yasawi, ancient cities and even ski resorts.
Geography of Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan is located at the crossroads of Central Asia and Eastern Europe. In the north and west, Kazakhstan has a border with Russia, in the south – with Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, and in the east – with China. The total area of this country is 2,724,902 sq. km., and the total length of the state border is 13,392 km.
The Kyzylkum desert is located in the south of Kazakhstan. In general, deserts and semi-deserts occupy almost 60% of the territory of Kazakhstan. Another 26% of the territory of Kazakhstan is steppes.
The largest rivers in Kazakhstan are the Ural, Emba, Ishim, Irtysh and Syrdarya. There are several large lakes in Kazakhstan – Balkhash, Aoakol and Zaisan.
Capital of Kazakhstan
Since 1997, the capital of Kazakhstan has been Astana, which now has a population of more than 750,000 people. According to itypemba.com, archaeologists claim that people lived on the territory of modern Astana already in the Bronze Age.
Kazakhstan has two official languages - Kazakh (it has the status of a state language), belonging to the Kypchak subgroup of the Turkic languages, and Russian (it has the status of an official language).
About 70% of the population of Kazakhstan professes Islam (its Sunni branch), and even more than 26% are Orthodox Christians.
According to equzhou.net, Kazakhstan is a parliamentary republic. Its head is the President, elected for 5 years.
Parliament in Kazakhstan consists of two chambers – the Senate (47 people) and the Majilis (107 people).
The main political parties in Kazakhstan are the Nur Otan Party, the Ak Zhol Business Party, and the local Communist Party.
Climate and weather
The climate in Kazakhstan is temperate, with warm summers and cold winters. The average air temperature is +8.9C. The highest average air temperature in Kazakhstan is observed in July (+30C), and the lowest in January (-12C). The average annual rainfall is 581 mm.
The best time to visit Kazakhstan is from late April to late October.
Sea in Kazakhstan
In the west, Kazakhstan is washed by the warm waters of the Caspian Sea, and in the south of the country is the inland Aral Sea.
Rivers and lakes
Several tens of thousands of rivers flow through the territory of Kazakhstan. Most of them are very small. The largest rivers in Kazakhstan are the Ural, Emba, Ishim, Irtysh and Syrdarya.
There are also several tens of thousands of lakes in Kazakhstan. The largest of them are Balkhash, Aoakol, Zaisan, Big Almaty Lake, Sibinskiye Lakes. In this country, many lakes are not only very beautiful, but they also have healing properties due to mineral salts and hydrogen sulfide mud.
History of Kazakhstan
People on the territory of modern Kazakhstan lived already in the Bronze Age. In the VI-III centuries. BC e. on the territory of modern Kazakhstan there was a state of the Scythians. Around the 5th century AD. Turkic tribes settled in Kazakhstan.
In the Middle Ages on the territory of Kazakhstan there were several states that succeeded each other – the Turgesh Khaganate, the state formations of the Oguzes, Karakhanids, Kimeks, and then the Kypchaks, as well as the Karluk Khaganate. At the beginning of the 13th century, Kazakhstan became part of the uluses of Jochi and Jagatai of the Mongol Empire.
It is believed that the first Kazakh state was formed at the beginning of the 16th century under Khan Kasym. In the 16th century, territorial tribal associations of the Senior Zhuz, the Middle Zhuz and the Younger Zhuz were formed in Kazakhstan.
From the middle of the 18th century, the process of Kazakhstan’s entry into the Russian Empire began, which finally ended in the 1860s.
In 1918, part of the territory of Kazakhstan became part of the Turkestan ASSR, and in 1920 the rest of the territory of Kazakhstan was included in the Kirghiz ASSR, which was then renamed the Kazakh ASSR. In 1936, the Kazakh ASSR was transformed into the Kazakh SSR.
In December 1991, Kazakhstan declared its independence.
Kazakhstan only in 1991 became an independent country. Kazakhstan has been part of different states for many centuries, but the Kazakhs managed to preserve their identity, their traditions. Islam had a great influence on the culture and customs of the inhabitants of Kazakhstan.
The main religious holidays in Kazakhstan are Ramadan, Navruz, Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha. During these righteous days, horse races, musical performances, as well as various national games are arranged.
There are a lot of interesting folk customs and traditions in Kazakhstan. So, grandparents in Kazakhstan, according to tradition, must raise their first grandchild themselves.
When a Kazakh boy turns 6 or 7 years old, he is given a horse. This custom develops responsibility in Kazakh boys. they become “jigits”.
The cuisine of Kazakhstan was formed under the influence of Uzbek, Tatar, Russian and Uighur culinary traditions. The main food products are meat, dairy products, vegetables.
In Kazakhstan, we recommend that tourists definitely try beshbarmak (lamb meat with noodles), manti (steamed dumplings stuffed with lamb), kaurdak (potato and lamb roast), surpa broth, kazy (horse meat sausage), and, of course, pilaf.
Traditional soft drinks in Kazakhstan are koumiss made from mare’s milk, shubat made from camel’s milk, kymyran made from a mixture of milk and boiled water, and, of course, tea to which milk is added.
Sights of Kazakhstan
According to official data, there are now more than 9,000 historical, architectural and archaeological monuments in Kazakhstan. Some of them are under the protection of UNESCO. Thus, the mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2004. The top 10 best sights in Kazakhstan, in our opinion, may include the following:
- Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi
- Buddhist petroglyphs in Tamgaly-Tas
- Mausoleum of Abdul-Aziz-baba in Shymkent
- Mausoleum of Aisha-Bibi in Taraz
- Mausoleum of Ibrahim-ata in Shymkent
- Turkestan mosque
- Minaret in Shymkent
- Mausoleum of Sypatai-Batyr
- Tombs of Ablai Khan and Abulkhair Khan
- Dungan mosque in Karakol
Cities and resorts
The largest cities in Kazakhstan are Astana, Karaganda, Shymkent, Pavlodar, Taraz, and, of course, Alma-Ata.
The Caspian Sea is located in the west of Kazakhstan, so if you wish, tourists can visit local beaches.
However, the natural conditions in Kazakhstan are more conducive to the development of not beach, but ski resorts. Among the Kazakhstani ski resorts, one should definitely highlight Medeo, Tabagan, “Altai Alps”, Chimbulak, Ak-Bulak. The skiing season in Kazakhstan starts at the end of November and continues through April. There are no problems with snow in Kazakhstani ski resorts, because. artificial snow is used where necessary. Most of the ski resorts in Kazakhstan have a well-developed infrastructure, including rides, horseback riding, ice skating and much more.
There are also several good mountain climatic and balneological resorts in Kazakhstan. The most famous of them are Borovoe, Saryagash, Lake Alakol, Bayanaul and Alma-Arasan.
The main healing factors in Kazakhstan’s mountain climatic and balneological resorts are mineral, thermal, “soda” springs, therapeutic mud, air, nature, mineral-rich salt water of lakes, as well as hot springs with hydrogen sulfide water with radon.
Tourists from Kazakhstan usually bring folk art products, dolls in traditional Kazakh costumes, kamsha (leather whip), Kazakh-style silver jewelry, traditional Kazakh women’s headdress “saukele”, koumiss, curd salted balls “kurt”, as well as traditional Kazakh folk musical instruments (for example, dombra).
Many shops are open on weekends as well.
Ukrainians do not need to apply for a visa to visit Kazakhstan (if the trip does not exceed 90 days).
The official currency in Kazakhstan is the Kazakh tenge (international designation: KZT). Credit cards are not yet widely used.
If you decide to bring into Kazakhstan (or take out of it) foreign currency or local currency in the amount of more than 3 thousand dollars, then it must be declared. Customs rules are practically no different from the customs rules of other countries. When leaving Kazakhstan, customs officers may ask you to present receipts for the exported goods, so keep such documents.
Useful phone numbers and addresses
Address of the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Ukraine:
Index: 04050, Kiev, st. Melnikova, 26 Т:
mail: [email protected]
Address of the Embassy of Ukraine in Kazakhstan:
Index – 01000, Astana, Kenesary St., 41
32-85-37 mail: [email protected]
101 – Fire brigade
102 – Police
103 – Ambulance
The difference with time in Kyiv is +4 hours. those. if in Astana, for example, it is 09:00 am, then in Kyiv it is only 05:00 am.
Tipping is not common in Kazakhstan. Many hotels and restaurants in this country include a service charge on the bill.
No special vaccinations are required to enter Kazakhstan.
In Kazakhstan, we advise foreign tourists to exercise caution, because petty theft is common in this country, especially in crowded places. Do not take a large amount of money with you to the street. Be wary of people claiming to be local police officers or officials – criminals extort bribes from foreign tourists in this way.