Top Ten Kazakhstani Attractions

Top Ten Kazakhstani Attractions


       Kazakhstan is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the 9th largest country in the world, it is also the world’s largest landlocked country; its territory of 2,727,300 square kilometers (1,053,000 sq mi) is greater than Western Europe. Kazakhstan is one of the six independent Turkic states, and an  active member of the Turkic Council and the TÜRKSOY community. It is neighbored clockwise from the north by Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and also borders on a significant part of the Caspian Sea. The capital was moved in 1997 from Almaty (formerly Alma-Ata), Kazakhstan’s largest city, to Astana. Vast in size, the terrain of Kazakhstan ranges from flatlands, steppes, taigas, rock-canyons, hills, deltas, and snow-capped mountains to deserts. With 16.4 million people (2010 estimate) Kazakhstan has the 62nd largest population in the world, though its population density is less than 6 people per square kilometer (15 per sq. mi.). For most of its history, the territory of modern-day Kazakhstan has been inhabited by nomadic tribes. By the 16th century, the Kazakhs emerged as a distinct group, divided into three Jüz. The Russians began advancing into the Kazakh steppe in the 18th century, and by the mid-19th century all of Kazakhstan was part of the Russian Empire. Following the 1917 Russian Revolution, and subsequent civil war, the territory of Kazakhstan was reorganized several times before becoming the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic in 1936, a part of the USSR. During the 20th century, Kazakhstan was the site of major Soviet projects, including Khrushchev’s ‘Virgin Lands’ campaign, the Baikonur Cosmodrome, and the Semipalatinsk “Polygon,” the USSR’s primary nuclear weapon testing site. Kazakhstan declared itself an independent country on December 16, 1991, the last Soviet republic to do so. While the country’s economic outlook is improving, President Nazarbayev maintains strict control over the country’s politics. Nevertheless,Kazakhstan’s international prestige is building. It is now considered to be the dominant state in Central Asia.Kazakhstan is ethnically and culturally diverse, in part due to mass deportations of many ethnic groups to the country during Stalin’s rule.Kazakhstan has a population of 16.2 million, with 131 ethnicities, including Kazakh, Russian, Uyghur, Ukrainian, Uzbek and Tatar. Around 63% are Kazakhs.Kazakhstan allows freedom of religion, and many different beliefs are represented in the country. Islam is the religion of more than 70% of the population, and Christianity the faith of most of the remainder. The Kazakh language is the state language, while Russian is also officially used as an “equal” language in Kazakhstan’s public institutions.

  1. Astana
           Astana, formerly known as Akmola, Tselinograd and Akmolinsk, is the capital and 2nd largest city (after Almaty) of Kazakhstan, with an officially estimated population of 708,794 as of August 1, 2010. It is located in the north-central portion of Kazakhstan, within Akmola Province, though administrated separately from the province as a federal city area.
    Links: Pyramids,,
  2. Taraz
           Taraz, formerly known as Jambyl or Zhambyl, Dzhambul, Mirzoyan, Aulie-Ata and Talas, is a city and a center of the Jambyl Province in Kazakhstan. It is located in the south of Kazakhstan, near the border with Kyrgyzstan, on the Talas River (Taraz River). It has a population of 330,100 (1999 census), up 9% from 1989. One of the oldest cities in Kazakhstan and in Transoxania, Taraz celebrated its official 2000 anniversary in 2001, dating from a fortress built in the area by a Hun chanyu named Zhizhi and was a site of the Battle of Zhizhi in 36 BC. The city was first recorded under the name “Talas” in 568 AD by Menander Protector, the medieval city of Talas was a major trade centre along the Silk Road. Talas was later described by Xuanzang, who passed Talas in 629 and later wrote: “Traveling westward from the Thousand Springs 140 or 150 li, we come to the city of Daluosi. The city is 8 or 9 li in diameter; and was settled by Hu (“barbarian”) merchants from various nations. The products and the climate are about the same as Suyab.” The Talas alphabet, a variant of the Turkic “runiform” Orkhon script, is named for the town. Talas secured a place in history by virtue of the Battle of Talas (751 AD), which was fought between forces of the Chinese Tang Dynasty and those of the Arab Abbasid Caliphate. The battle took place somewhere along the Talas River in the Talas valley. One of its indirect outcomes was the introduction of paper to the west, via the Arab capture of Chinese paper makers.
  3. The Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasavi
    The Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed YasaviThe Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasavi2
           The Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi is an unfinished mausoleum in the city of Turkestan, in southern Kazakhstan. The structure was commissioned in 1389 by Timur, who ruled the area as part of the expansive Mongol Empire, to replace a smaller 12th century mausoleum of the famous Turkic poet and Sufi mystic, Khoja Ahmed Yasawi (1093–1166). However, construction was halted with the death of Timur in 1405. Despite its incomplete state, the mausoleum has survived as one of the best-preserved of all Timurid constructions. Its creation marked the beginning of the Timurid architectural style. The experimental spatial arrangements, innovative architectural solutions for vault and dome constructions, and ornamentations using glazed tiles made the structure the prototype for this distinctive art, which spread across the empire and beyond. The religious structure continues to draw pilgrims from across Central Asia and has come to epitomize the Kazakh national identity.
  4. Petroglyphs within the Archaeological Landscape of Tamgaly
    Petroglyphs within the Archaeological Landscape of TamgalyPetroglyphs within the Archaeological Landscape of Tamgaly1Petroglyphs within the Archaeological Landscape of Tamgaly2Petroglyphs within the Archaeological Landscape of Tamgaly3Petroglyphs within the Archaeological Landscape of Tamgaly4Petroglyphs within the Archaeological Landscape of Tamgaly5
    Tamgaly is a petroglyph site in the Semirechye, Kazakhstan. Tamgaly is located 120 km to northwest of Almaty. The majority of the 5,000 petroglyphs are in the main canyon, but there are a number in the many side canyons. The petroglyphs are mostly Bronze Age, but in some cases from the Iron Age and the Medieval. The name Tamgaly in Kazakh and other Turkic languages means “painted or marked place.”
    Links: Relieves and Petroglyphs,,
  5. Saryarqa (Steppe and Lakes of Northern Kazakhstan)
           Saryarka, Steppe and Lakes of Northern Kazakhstan, is a part of the Kazakh Uplands (known in Kazakh as saryarka, or “yellow range”). The site comprises the Naurzum State Nature Reserve (located in Kostanay Province) and Korgalzhyn State Nature Reserve (located in Akmola Province). The two reserves contain wetlands which serve as important stop-over points for migrating birds from Africa, Europe and South Asia. It is estimated that 15–16 million birds, including many endangered species, use the site as a feeding ground. The pink flamingos in particular are a major attraction within Korgalzhyn Reserve. The site is also home to wildlife commonly found on the Kazakh steppe, including marmots, wolves and the endangered saiga.
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