Situated in the north of the Central Asian Republic and bordered by China in the east, Russia in the north, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan in the south and Turkmenistan and the Caspian Sea in the west, Kazakhstan, with an area of 1,053,000 square miles, is the world’s largest landlocked nation that primarily consists of picturesque plateaus, lush hilly plains, steppe lands, snow-capped mountains and deserts. A tiny part of the nation’s Ural River flows into Europe.
Kazakhstan has been inhabited by nomadic tribes for centuries. With the conquest of Genghis Khan in the 13th century, the nation witnessed numerous internal conflicts between the conquerors, before the nomads reclaimed the power and emerged as a distinct group. Soon after the Russian invasion in 18th century, Kazakhstan became a part of the Russian empire by 19th century. In 1936, the province was made an integral part of the Soviet Union and in 1991, Kazakhstan was declared independent after the dissolution of the USSR. Kazakhstan follows a Unitary Republic, with the country’s first and the only president till date being Nursultan Nazarbayev.
As many as 131 ethnic groups including the native Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Ukrainians, German, Uyghur and Tatar thrive in Kazakhstan. Islam is the primary religion of the state with a majority of 70%, followed by Christianity, and the remainder following Judaism and Buddhism. Kazakhstan is a bilingual country with Kazakh and Russian recognized as official languages spoken by a majority. Other languages include Uzbek and German. The climate throughout the country is continental with cold, chilly winters and warm summers.
With a myriad of natural resources, and ancient and historic UNESCO sites rich in heritage and culture, Kazakhstan stands tall on the world tourist map. Most favorite tourist destinations of the country include Almaty, Astana, Shymkent, Taraz and Karaganda. The archaeological landscape of Tamgaly, the mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yassaui and the Nauryzumsky and Korgalzhyn reserves are some of the country’s prominent touristic sites.
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