The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.
— G. K. Chesterton, 1874 - 1936
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Kazakhstan

Background

Kazakhstan

Ethnic Kazakhs, a mix of Turkic and Mongol nomadic tribes who migrated into the region in the 13th century, were rarely united as a single nation. The area was conquered by Russia in the 18th century, and Kazakhstan became a Soviet Republic in 1936. During the 1950s and 1960s agricultural "Virgin Lands" program, Soviet citizens were encouraged to help cultivate Kazakhstan's northern pastures. This influx of immigrants (mostly Russians, but also some other deported nationalities) skewed the ethnic mixture and enabled non-ethnic Kazakhs to outnumber natives. Independence in 1991 drove many of these newcomers to emigrate. Kazakhstan's economy is larger than those of all the other Central Asian states largely due to the country's vast natural resources. Current issues include developing a cohesive national identity; expanding the development of the country's vast energy resources and exporting them to world markets; diversifying the economy outside the oil, gas, and mining sectors; enhancing Kazakhstan's economic competitiveness; developing a multiparty parliament and advancing political and social reform; and strengthening relations with neighboring states and other foreign powers.

About

Kazakhstan is by far the largest of the Central Asian states of the former Soviet Union. It has borders with Russia, China, and the Central Asian countries of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. It is the world's ninth biggest country by size, and it is more than twice the size of the other Central Asian states combined. Its lack of significant historical sites and endless featureless steppe have put many off Kazakhstan, while many still are captivated by the emptiness and mystery of this goliath state. It will be many travellers' first port of call on their Central Asian adventure, and there is much for the intrepid traveller to enjoy. Kazakhstan is the richest country in Central Asia, due to its large oil and natural gas reserves. The country is also said to be the largest landlocked country as well.

Read more about Kazakhstan in our Kazakhstan travel guide »

Featured journals from

Kazakhstan

Astana

by innomadsland

May 2010  »  Kazakhstan

Featured hotels in

Kazakhstan

KazakhstanRixos President Astana Hotel 

D. Kunayev Street 7
Astana 010000
Kazakhstan

Price (US$): $440 - $490 / night

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Location. Rixos President Astana Hotel is a business friendly Astana hotel in the business district and close to Korme Exhibition Complex, Bayterek Tower, and Palace of Peace and Reconciliation. Additional points of interest include Kazhimukan Munaitpasov Stadium. Hotel Features. Rixos President Astana Hotel features a bar/lounge and a snack bar/deli. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The hotel serves a complimentary buffet breakfast each morning in the restaurant. Recreational… more »

KazakhstanInterContinental Almaty 

181 Zheltoksan Street
Almaty 50013
Kazakhstan

Price (US$): $293 - $656 / night

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Location. InterContinental Almaty is a business friendly hotel located in central Almaty, close to Republic Square, Presidential Palace, and National Museum of Kazakhstan. Additional points of interest include Almaty Central Stadium and Almaty Opera House. Hotel Features. Dining options at InterContinental Almaty include 3 restaurants. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available. The hotel serves hot and cold buffet breakfasts each morning (surcharges apply). Recreational… more »

KazakhstanRoyal Tulip Almaty 

M. Ospanov Street 401-2
Almaty 050020
Kazakhstan

Price (US$): $298 - $299 / night

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Location. Royal Tulip Almaty is a business friendly Almaty hotel in the business district and close to Almaty Tower, National Museum of Kazakhstan, and Presidential Palace. Additional points of interest include Republic Square. Hotel Features. Royal Tulip Almaty's restaurant serves breakfast and dinner. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. Recreational amenities include an indoor pool, a health club, a spa tub, a sauna, and a steam room. The property's… more »

KazakhstanRixos Almaty Hotel 

506/99 Seifullina Ave at Kabanbai Batyr
Almaty 050012
Kazakhstan

Price (US$): $373 - $473 / night

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Location. Located in central Almaty, Rixos Almaty Hotel is near the airport and close to Almaty Opera House, Almaty Central Stadium, and Republic Square. Additional points of interest include Almaty Cathedral and Presidential Palace. Hotel Features. Rixos Almaty Hotel features a coffee shop/café and a bar/lounge. Room service is available 24 hours a day. Recreational amenities include an indoor pool, a health club, a sauna, and a steam room. The property's full service health spa has body… more »

KazakhstanGrand Hotel Victory 

25-A, 13 microdistrict
Aktau 130000
Kazakhstan

Price (US$): $281 - $1110 / night

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Location. Grand Hotel Victory is located near the beach in Aktau's midtown area. Hotel Features. Dining options at Grand Hotel Victory include a restaurant and a coffee shop/café. A poolside bar and a bar/lounge are open for drinks. The hotel serves a complimentary breakfast. Recreational amenities include an indoor pool, a health club, and a sauna. This 5 star property has a business center and offers small meeting rooms. Complimentary wireless Internet access is available in public areas.… more »

Browse more hotels in Kazakhstan »

Kazakhstan

Full name
Republic of Kazakhstan
Capital
Astana
Location

Central Asia, northwest of China; a small portion west of the Ural (Zhayyq) River in eastern-most Europe

Geographic coordinates

48 00 N, 68 00 E

Area comparative

slightly less than four times the size of Texas

Border countries

China 1,533 km, Kyrgyzstan 1,224 km, Russia 6,846 km, Turkmenistan 379 km, Uzbekistan 2,203 km

Coastline

0 km (landlocked); note - Kazakhstan borders the Aral Sea, now split into two bodies of water (1,070 km), and the Caspian Sea (1,894 km)

Climate

continental, cold winters and hot summers, arid and semiarid

Terrain

vast flat steppe extending from the Volga in the west to the Altai Mountains in the east and from the plains of western Siberia in the north to oases and deserts of Central Asia in the south

Lowest point

Vpadina Kaundy -132 m

Highest point

Khan Tangiri Shyngy (Pik Khan-Tengri) 6,995 m

Natural resources

major deposits of petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, manganese, chrome ore, nickel, cobalt, copper, molybdenum, lead, zinc, bauxite, gold, uranium

Population

15,460,484 (July 2010 est.)

Ethnic groups

Kazakh (Qazaq) 53.4%, Russian 30%, Ukrainian 3.7%, Uzbek 2.5%, German 2.4%, Tatar 1.7%, Uighur 1.4%, other 4.9% (1999 census)

Religions

Muslim 47%, Russian Orthodox 44%, Protestant 2%, other 7%

Languages

Kazakh (Qazaq, state language) 64.4%, Russian (official, used in everyday business, designated the "language of interethnic communication") 95% (2001 est.)

Government type

republic; authoritarian presidential rule, with little power outside the executive branch

Independence

16 December 1991 (from the Soviet Union)

National holiday

Independence Day, 16 December (1991)

Chief of state

President Nursultan A. NAZARBAYEV (chairman of the Supreme Soviet from 22 February 1990, elected president 1 December 1991)

Head of government

Prime Minister Karim MASIMOV (since 10 January 2007); First Deputy Prime Minister Umirzak SHUKEYEV (since 3 March 2009), Deputy Prime Ministers Yerbol ORYNBAYEV (since 29 October 2007), Aset ISEKESHEV (since 12 March 2010)

Internet country code

.kz

Internet users

5.299 million (2009)

Airports

97 (2010)

Ports and terminals

Aqtau (Shevchenko), Atyrau (Gur'yev), Oskemen (Ust-Kamenogorsk), Pavlodar, Semey (Semipalatinsk)

Other countries in the region