The ninth largest country in the world, Kazakhstan is one of the most developed countries in Central Asia. It is very rich because of its abundance of oil and minerals. If you walk through the capital of Astana, you will feel as though you are in the future, because of all of its futuristic architecture. The cities are great places to meet people, experience the energy of the nightlife and shop to your heart’s content. Not only does it hold promise in the cities, but also outside, as there are many adventures you may embark on whether in the steppes, valley of Tian Shan or quaint villages.
KAZAKHSTAN – IMPORTANT AND INTERESTING FACTS
- Kazahstan is the 9th largest country by size in the world. It’s a huge place with a very small population of only 16 million people.
- It’s the largest landlocked country in the world, with Russian to its North, China to the West, Uzbekistan down South and the Caspian Sea on its Western Border.
- Kazakhstan is landlocked, but it has a naval force, which is based on the similarly landlocked Caspian Sea.
- Most of the country is extremely flat and barren. This is the famous “steppe” (semi-arid and generally without trees, this area is extremely hot in summer and very cold in winter).
- The country is nominally Muslim, but there are few outward signs of this. Mosques are not frequently seen or heard. The many years of Soviet rule, when religion was downplayed, have diluted its importance in the country as a whole.
- Kazakhstan is the 9th largest country by size in the world. It’s a huge place with a very small population of only 16 million people.
- The Downtown in Astana has relatively new city with a fancy, over-the-top skyline!
- War heroes’ monument is located in Almaty and Uralsk as memory of the lost ones during the World War II.
- Kazakhstan is home to the Baikonur Cosmodome, the world’s first and largest space launch facility. It is leased by the Russians until 2050.
- About 0.5% of the population is of Korean descent. Many women of all ethnicities set up market stands selling Korean salads and pickled vegetables. We loved making a lunch from these delicious offerings and the spicy carrots were amazing!
- The New Year for Kazakhs is called Nauryz, and it is celebrated on the 22nd of March.
- The largest water body inside the bounds of the country is Lake Balkhash, which is one of the biggest lakes of the world. The lake has a unique quality about it. One half of the water remains saline, whereas the other half of the lake has fresh water.
KAZAKHSTAN – COOL, FUNNY AND FUN FACTS
- The name of the major city and the former capital of Kazakhstan, Almaty, mean a “place full of apples”.
- Almaty has a brand-new Metro System all individually decorated and designed. Very fancy for a subway! It was about 50 cents per ride for adults (all destinations are the same price).
- Virtually nothing is written in English and very few people speak the language. If you don’t speak Russian, at least come with a phrasebook to help you get around.
- Often time’s pipes for water and gas are above ground! This makes it easier to repair them if needed.
- Apples are reputedly to originate from Kazakhstan and there are still wild apple forests in the country.
- About 0.5% of the population is of Korean descent. Many women of all ethnicities set up market stands selling Korean salads and pickled vegetables.
- Kazakhstan has been an active trade route for merchants and travelers from time immemorial. This country used to be a hub of economic and socio-cultural exchange between two major continents of the world, namely, Europe and Asia.
- Kazakhstan used to be a part of the silk route and hence has marvelous constructions which were erected during the years of silk trade
- The Lake Balkhash, which is one of the biggest lakes of the World has a unique quality about it. One half of the water remains saline, whereas the other half of the lake has fresh water.
- After the formation of former USSR the path of two rivers, Ama Dariya and the Syrdariya, which were the main source of water for the sea, was diverted.
- Interestingly, it is believed that Kazakhstan was the place where the horses were first tamed to ride. It is also said that Kazakh means ‘a free rider’.
- One of the popular monuments in Kazakhstan is the Issyk burial mound, located in Almaty. It is the burial place for a young Scythian, interestingly known as the “Golden Man” because the clothes the corpse was wearing was covered with a number of plates of gold.
KAZAKHSTAN – HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL FACTS
- Kazakhstan was part of the former USSR and has been independent since 1991. It is an authoritarian regime with the same man at the helm since that time.
- The first manned space flight from the Baykonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan was made in 1961, by Yuryi Gagarin, a Russian cosmonaut.
- During the World War II, the Soviet Union suffered greatly with losses nearing 30 million soldiers and civilians of most of any country. There are monuments everywhere in memory of the lost ones.
- In 2011, Almaty has opened a brand-new Metro System that serves 7 stations which are well decorated.
- The early residents of the country, who were the antecedents of the current day Kazakhs, were farmers and relied on agriculture and animal husbandry.
- It is believed that it is in Kazakhstan where man first rode a horse, thousands of years ago.
- Koumiss, the traditional drink was referred to as the milk champagne by A. Myers in 1877, in his Treatise on Koumiss “The Great Russian Remedy for Wasting, Debilitating and Nervous Diseases.
- Kazakhstan was amongst the first Central Asian countries, outside Turkmenistan, to breed the Akhal-Teke horse, in 1930.
- Turkestan, the historical center of Kazakhstan’s culture, was founded over fifteen centuries ago.
- The 420-meter (1377.95 feet) high chimney-stalk Ekibastuz GRES-2 is the highest chimney-stalk in the world, which is listed in the Guinness Book of Records. The thermal power plant EGRES-2 could be included in the book as the most powerful in the world, but at that moment it was left unfinished.
- In 2010, Kazakhstan was on the 14th place in the ranking of the top 100 countries in terms of education. In the 2011 UNESCO EFA Development Index, Kazakhstan ranked #4 in the world in terms of education behind Japan, the UK, and Norway and has remained in the top 10.