The ninth-largest country in the world, Kazakhstan is located in the territory of Central Asia surrounded by Altai Mountains in the East, Caspian Sea in the west, and Russia in the north to China in the south. This country is not your typical tourist destination, and you won’t find it on many travellers’ bucket lists. With an array of large canyons, beautiful mountain tops, pristine mountain lakes, seamless deserts, and ancient structures, it’s definitely one of the mots beautiful countries you’ll ever visit. Want to know more about Kazakhstan? Here are 14 interesting facts about the country!
1. Kazakhstan is located in both Europe and Asia. The Ural River, which forms the traditional boundary between these continents, cuts through Kazakhstan in the west.
2. UNESCO has voted the country as number one in the world Education Development Index for providing universal primary education, maintaining a high level of adult literacy and promoting gender parity.
3. Kazakhstan is one of the world’s most mineral rich nations and is considered to be leading the way in the future of the oil industry. The oil reserves may rise to 60 billion tons. Two times more reserves than Iran, Iraq or Arabia.
4. Although Kazakhstan has a very large area, the population of the country is low. Therefore, it is one of the countries that have the lowest population density in the world. The country has a population density equal to 7 people per km2.
5. The border between Russia and Kazakhstan is the longest continuous land border in the world (7512.8 kilometers). It is also considered to be the largest country in the world that is land-locked.
6. The Balkhash Lake in Kazakhstan is the 12th largest lake of the world. This lake has confused personality because half of the lake consist fresh water and another half having salt water. It maintains this unlikely balance in part because the two halves are joined by a narrow strait that is 3.5 kilometres wide and six meters deep.
7. Kazakhstan is the country where the horses were first domesticated. The ancient Kazakhs were the first to tame the horses and use them for travel purposes. Later, they started using horses in war. This is the reason why Kazakhs have a special association with horses. They also love eating horse meat.
8. Kazakhstan’s traditional drink kumis has also been referred to as “milk champagne.” It is made from fermented horse milk and is believed to be a cure-all for everything from the common cold to tuberculosis. The Kazakhs living on the steppes also drink shubat, or fermented camel’s milk.
9. Did you know Kazakhstan celebrates three New Years? First, they celebrate “orthodox new-year” then “Nowruz- a Kazakh new year” and last one a generally celebrated or global new-year.
10. Kazakhstan has a space launch facility. And not just any space launch facility, but the world’s first and largest. The first satellite that was sent into space, Sputnik 1, was made in Kazakhstan. This satellite was sent into space from a space station, Baikonur Cosmodrome, located in present-day Kazakhstan.
10. The GRES-2 power station located in Ekibastuz city of Kazakhstan, is the tallest chimney in the world which is 419.7 meters high from sea level, 120 meters taller than Eiffel Tower.
11. There is a Kazakhstani culture which involves men usually not shaking women’s hands in a public gathering. Whenever they enter a room, they use both their hands to shake other men’s hands.
12. Apples are reputedly to originate from Kazakhstan and there are still wild apple forests in the country.
13. Land of the Kazakhs became the first former Soviet Republic to repay all debt to the IMF. Seven years before it was due, thanks to booming oil and metals industry.
How to reach?
Flying to Kazakhstan is easy, with top domestic and international airlines such as Jet Airways, Aeroflot, Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, Air India, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, Thai Airways, etc. Every week, numerous direct and connecting flights operate from India to Kazakhstan with convenient flight schedules. Almaty International Airport is the country’s largest international airport, located at about 15 km from Almaty. Buses, minibuses, taxis, trams, and trolleybuses are the modes of transport in this country.
Almaty: The former capital of Kazakhstan, Almaty is guarded by the beautiful, snow-capped Tian Shan mountains, that are home to the last wild apple forests. Home to Medeu, the highest skating rink in the world, Shymbulak, a wonderful ski resort, and the stunning Big Almaty Lake, the mountains have a wealth of amazing sights to discover.
Click here to check out five best day trips from Almaty!
Kolsai Lakes: Kolsai is one of the most beautiful places for recreation, hiking, and horse riding in Kazakhstan. There are three lakes situated at an altitude of 1800 to 2700 meters above sea level. A very popular tourist destination amongst local Kazakhs, the region surrounding Kolsai Lake has lots of great campsites and homestays for you to stay at, and many people go horseback riding between the lakes.
Click here to check out some of the most beautiful lakes of Central Asia!
Kaindy Lake: Another beautiful lake hidden in Tien Shan Mountains! This magical lake with birch trees is the result of an earthquake in 1911 that flooded the forest. The natural calamity caused the occurrence of a natural dam in the gorge amidst spruce trees. With water that shifts from turquoise to emerald green depending on the light, it’s particularly scenic to walk here, either on a day trip from Almaty or on a longer trek.
Charyn Canyon: Charyn Canyon is known as the little brother of Grand Canyon in the USA, plunging to 300 meters in places. Visitors can choose to hike the trails, or join a coach/minibus tour, or hire a care and a private driver to give you a guided tour without the waiting around or strict time schedule.
Turkistan: Turkistan is an important city with a rich cultural and historical heritage. It used to be the most important commercial centres of the Silk Road. An important Sufi saint, Khodja Ahmed Yassawi, preached and was buried here. The beautiful mausoleum is one of the most impressive and important historical sites in the country.