Welcome to Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan, officially known as the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a vast and diverse country located in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. It is the world's largest landlocked country and ninth-largest country by land area and stretches across two continents, with most of its territory situated in Asia and a smaller portion in Europe(shares borders with Russia to the north, China to the east, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan to the south, and the Caspian Sea to the west ). Kazakhstan has a rich and complex history, a diverse population, and a rapidly evolving economy.
Capital: The capital city of Kazakhstan is Astana , which was renamed in 2019 in honor of Nursultan Nazarbayev, the country's first President. Then renamed again 2022.
Largest City: The largest city in Kazakhstan is Almaty, which is a major cultural and economic center in the country.
Population: almost 20 million people
Official Language: Kazakh is the official language of Kazakhstan, and Russian is also widely spoken and considered a co-official language.
Ethnic Diversity: Kazakhstan is a multi-ethnic country with a diverse population, including Kazakhs, Russians, Uzbeks, Ukrainians, Tatars, and many other ethnic groups.
Religion: The majority of Kazakhs are Muslims, with Sunni Islam being the predominant branch. There is also a significant Christian minority, primarily Russian Orthodox.
Economy: Kazakhstan has a rapidly growing economy, driven by its vast reserves of natural resources, including oil, natural gas, minerals, and metals. It is known for its oil-rich region in the Caspian Sea.
Kazakh Culture: Kazakhs make up the majority of Kazakhstan's population, and their culture is of great significance. It includes traditions related to nomadic herding, music, dance, national dishes (such as beshbarmak and pilaf), as well as national costumes like shapan and tobyz.
Russian Culture: The Russian-speaking population of Kazakhstan also contributes to the country's culture. The Russian language, literature, cuisine, and traditions have an impact on Kazakhstan's cultural life.
Islam: Islam is an important religious and cultural component of Kazakhstan. The majority of Kazakhs practice Sunni Islam, and many aspects of Islamic culture, such as mosque architecture and religious holidays, have their place in Kazakh culture.
Traditional Arts: Kazakhstan is rich in various traditional arts, including music (both classical and folk), national dances, painting, and crafts.
Multinationality: Kazakhstan is also home to numerous other ethnic groups, such as Uzbeks, Uighurs, Tatars, Ukrainians, and many more. These ethnic groups maintain their traditions and contribute to the country's culture.
Kazakhstan is a multi-ethnic and multicultural state, and its culture is rich and diverse due to the multitude of cultural influences and traditions that coexist in this country.
Kazakh cuisine is diverse and reflects the nomadic traditions and the harsh climate of the region. It features a variety of meats, dairy products, and grains, often prepared in ways that make them suitable for preserving in a cold climate. Here are some key elements and dishes of Kazakh cuisine:
Meat: Meat is a central component of Kazakh cuisine. Lamb, beef, horse meat, and mutton are commonly used. Horse meat, in particular, is a traditional favorite and is used in dishes like "besbarmak."
Besbarmak: This is Kazakhstan's national dish, consisting of boiled meat (usually lamb or beef) and pasta squares. It's typically served with a broth and sometimes accompanied by onions and served with a special noodle dough called "tastyk."
Kazakh Kebabs: Grilled meat on skewers, known as "shashlik" in Russian, is a popular street food and can be made with various types of meat.
Plov (Pilaf): Kazakh plov is made with rice, carrots, and meat, typically lamb or beef. It's seasoned with various spices and can include garlic, cumin, and barberries.
Kumys: This is a traditional Kazakh beverage made from fermented mare's milk. It's slightly alcoholic and has a sour taste. It's believed to have health benefits.
Manti: These are large steamed dumplings filled with ground meat (often lamb or beef) and onions. They are typically served with sour cream or yogurt.
Lagman: Lagman is a noodle dish made with hand-pulled noodles, vegetables, and meat (usually lamb or beef). It's often seasoned with a flavorful broth and various spices.
Kazy: Kazy is a traditional sausage made from horse meat, and it's a delicacy in Kazakhstan.
Kurt: This is a popular snack in Kazakhstan, made from dried yogurt or cheese balls. It's a good source of protein and can be quite salty.
Bread: Bread, particularly flatbreads like "naan" or "lepyoshka," is a staple in Kazakh cuisine and is served with most meals.
Desserts: Kazakh desserts often feature ingredients like honey, nuts, and dried fruits. Popular desserts include "chak-chak" (fried dough with honey), "baursak" (deep-fried dough), and various types of pastries.
Kazakhstan is home to several important cities, each with its unique character and cultural significance. Here are some of the most notable cities in Kazakhstan:
Formerly knows as Akmolinsk, Tselinograd, Akmola, and most recently Nur-Sultan, is the capital and one of the most modern cities in Kazakhstan. It became the capital in 1997, and since then, it has seen rapid development and urbanization. The city is known for its futuristic architecture, including the Bayterek Tower and the Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center. Astana is also a political and administrative hub, hosting government institutions and international events.
Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan, served as the capital until 1997. It remains the country's cultural and economic center. Almaty is surrounded by beautiful mountains, including the Tian Shan range, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The city boasts a vibrant cultural scene, with theaters, museums, and a bustling nightlife.
Located in the central part of Kazakhstan, Karaganda is an industrial city with a rich history. It played a significant role during the Soviet era as a center for coal mining and metallurgy. Today, it is known for its cultural institutions, such as theaters and museums, as well as historical sites like the KarLag Museum, which commemorates the Gulag system.
Shymkent is the third-largest city in Kazakhstan and an important economic and cultural center in the southern part of the country. It has a diverse population and a blend of Kazakh, Uzbek, and Russian cultures. Shymkent's attractions include parks, bazaars, and historical sites like the Ordabasy Square, which marks the site of an important 1729 battle.
Located in western Kazakhstan, Aktobe is an industrial city with a growing economy. It is known for its oil and gas industry, as well as its role as a transportation hub. Aktobe offers a mix of modern amenities and traditional Kazakh culture, making it an interesting destination for travelers.
Atyrau is a city situated in the western part of Kazakhstan, near the Caspian Sea. It is a key center for Kazakhstan's oil and gas industry and has a diverse population due to its strategic location. The city has a unique blend of cultures, and you can find various international restaurants and cuisines here.
Traditional ART & Handricrats
Felt Crafts (Shyrdak and Tush Kyiz): Felt is a central material in Kazakh traditional crafts. Shyrdak and Tush Kyiz are two distinctive types of felt rugs or wall hangings made by the Kazakh people. These are often adorned with intricate geometric patterns and bright colors.
Yurts (Nomadic Dwellings): Yurts are traditional nomadic dwellings that are still used in Kazakhstan today, especially in rural areas. They are constructed using a wooden framework covered with felt or woven reed mats. The interior of a yurt is often decorated with textiles, rugs,
and traditional ornaments.
Embroidery: Kazakh women are known for their skill in embroidery. Traditional Kazakh embroidery often features intricate patterns and motifs, and it is used to decorate clothing, bags, and household items.
Jewelry: Kazakh jewelry is highly regarded for its craftsmanship and symbolism. Silver and semi-precious stones are commonly used to create intricate jewelry pieces, including necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. These pieces often carry cultural and spiritual significance.
Ceramics: Kazakh ceramics are known for their distinct designs and motifs. Ceramics are used for both practical and decorative purposes, including dishes, bowls, and decorative tiles.
Traditional Clothing: Traditional Kazakh clothing includes items like the shapan (a robe-like garment), the tobyz (a traditional hat), and various types of coats and headscarves. The clothing often reflects the nomadic lifestyle and the need for practicality in harsh weather conditions.
Musical Instruments: Traditional Kazakh music is an important part of the culture, and various musical instruments are used. The dombra (a type of two-stringed lute) is one of the most iconic musical instruments in Kazakhstan.
Carpet Weaving: Carpet weaving is a well-established craft in Kazakhstan. Kazakh carpets often feature bold patterns and vibrant colors. These carpets are used for decoration and can also serve as wall hangings or floor coverings.
Leatherwork: Leathercraft is another traditional craft in Kazakhstan. Skilled craftsmen create items such as saddles, belts, wallets, and shoes using high-quality leather.
Woodcarving: Woodcarving is used to create intricate patterns and designs on various wooden items, including furniture, utensils, and decorative objects.
How to get to Kazakhstan
You can get to Kazakhstan by air, as it has several international airports, including Almaty International Airport, Nursultan Nazarbayev International Airport in Astana, and Aktau International Airport, among others.
You can also enter Kazakhstan by land through neighboring countries, such as Russia, China, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan, depending on your point of origin.
Kazakhstan has several international airports that serve as major entry points for travelers. Some of the key airports include:
- Almaty International Airport (ALA) in Almaty
- Nursultan Nazarbayev International Airport (NQZ) in Astana
- Aktau International Airport (SCO) in Aktau
- Atyrau International Airport (GUW) in Atyrau
- Shymkent International Airport (CIT) in Shymkent
- As well as other airports in the small cities.