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Kazakhstan Travel Guide

Area: 2 724 000 sq.km
Population: 16,196,800 (2010)
Capital: Astana
Major languages: Kazakh, Russian
Religions: Islam, Christianity
Monetary unit: Kazakhstan tenge
Internet Domain: .kz


The Republic of Kazakhstan is a presidential democracy; a secular, stable and social state whose highest values are its people and their lives, rights and freedoms.

The Republic of Kazakhstan lies directly between Europe and Asia, between 45° and 87° of East longitude, 40° and 55° of North latitude.

It stretches from the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea and the Volga plains to the mountainous Altai and from the foothills of the Tien Shan in the south and southeast to the West Siberian lowlands in the north. The size of the territory places Kazakhstan ninth in the world, after Russia, Canada, China, USA, Brazil, Australia, India and Argentina.

In the east, north and northwest, Kazakhstan borders with Russia (6,477km). In the south it borders with the states of Central Asia: Uzbekistan (2,300km), Kyrgyzstan (980km) and Turkmenistan (380km). In the southeast it borders with China (1,460km). The total extent of Kazakhstan's borders is nearly 12,200km, including 600 kilometers along the Caspian Sea in the west.

Kazakhstan lies in the center of the European and Asian continents, and is approximately equal distance from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. More than a quarter of the land consists of a portion of the gentle steppes that stretch from central Europe to Siberia. The rest of the republic reflects the beauty of forests, mountains, rivers, lakes and reservoirs. The natural landscape is enhanced by thousands of plant and animal varieties found from the northern forest steppes to the high southern mountains
Kazakhstan has an extreme continental climate. It is characterized by irregular distribution of precipitation in its various regions. In certain years, spring arrives from south to north over a period of 1.5 - 2 months. When it is spring sowing time in the south, the northern area is still covered with snow and blizzards blow through frequently.

The land of Kazakhstan is rich in soils. The greater part of the forest-steppe zone is chernozem, which turns to dark-chestnut, light-chestnut and brown soils in the south. There are gray-soil lands in the deserts and semi-deserts, replaced by mountain soils in mountain zones. Crossing the territory of Kazakhstan from north to south you will encounter many different climatic zones, each with its own flora and fauna.

Kazakhstan is also rich in natural resources. In short, 99 of the 110 elements of the Mendeleev Periodic Table are found in the depths of Kazakhstan. For the present time, 60 elements are being extracted and utilized: chromium ore, tungsten borides, phosphorites, molybdenum, bauxites, asbestos, manganese, coal, oil, gas, titanium, magnesium, tin, uranium, gold and other non-ferrous metals and minerals.

TopographyKazakhstan is known for an extremely diverse topography: from high snowy mountains to steppes, semi-deserts and deserts. The lowest spot is the Karagie lowland (-132m) and the highest point is Khan-Tengri Peak (7,010m).

Flora and fauna
Flora and Fauna: Thousand rare species of plants and animals, including the turanga and black ash trees, brown bear, pink flamingo, snow leopard, and steppe antelope (Saigak). Many of these animals and plants are native to Kazakhstan. Thus far, 155 mammals, 480 bird species, some 150 different fish and more than 250 medicinal plants have been counted.

Political structure
In 1991, Kazakhstan became independent. According to the Constitution, the president is the Head of State and the Chief Executive. The highest legislative body is a two house Parliament.

President of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Since April, 1990 the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan has been Nazarbayev, Nursultan Abishevich.
 

Kazakh Language
The official language of Kazakhstan is Kazakh, a Turkic language. State organizations and local governmental bodies also use Russian. The government encourages citizens to study and speak several languages. Everybody has the right to use their native language and the right to choose their language for communication, study and work. This contributes to people of various ethnic origin and religions living and working peacefully in the country.

Religion
Diversity of religions; most prevalent are Islam and Christianity.

Urbanization
Almost 60 percent of Kazakhstan is urbanized, the highest level of urbanization among the republics in Central Asia. Almaty, the southern capital, is the largest city with more than 1.5 million residents. It is followed in size by Astana (500,000), Karagandy (436,000), Shymkent (360,000), Taraz (330,000), Oskemen (311,000) and Pavlodar (300,000).

Capital
Since 1997 Astana.

Largest city
Almaty was the capital until 1996. These days, Almaty is a major tourist, social, cultural, economic and financial center.

Time
6 hours ahead of GMT (Almaty, Astana). Time difference with New Delhi is half an hour behind.

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