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Welcome to Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan, Asia, The Bayterek monument

Kazakhstan is in central Asia and covers an area approximately equal to that of the United States. Over half the population is composed of Kazakhs, Russians make up more than a quarter, and the remaining population consists of Ukrainians, Germans, Czechs, Curds, Korean, and other Central Asian ethnic. The territory of Kazakhstan is as diverse as the population and consists of steppe and forest in the north, which turns into sand dunes in the south. Since independence, has invested heavily in the Caspian oil sector.

Development of the oil industry brought rapid economic growth. However, poverty is widespread and Kazakhstan is facing unemployment and inflation. For centuries, Kazakhstan's vast plains were nomads and territory is almost empty today. Most settlements are located in south-east and east of the country.

Main attractions:
- South Kazakhstan is a center of history and culture in Central Asia and there are plenty of famous monuments in the region. Land has a diverse landscape and have the opportunity to go through all four seasons in one day - snowy peaks, lakes and glaciers of Tien Shan mountain chain is lost in desert and steppe lands that stretch thousands of kilometers. Desert hosts Singing Dune, 80m high and 3km long. It is so called because the sand drift makes a sound similar to that of the organ;
- Almaty is a city with modern architecture, wide streets, fountains, parks and breathtaking views of the mountains. Panfilov Park attractions include the city, dominated by one of the highest wooden building in the world, Zenkov Cathedral, which served in Soviet times as a concert hall and exhibition, New Market, Independence Obelisk, Kazakh national instruments Museum, Museum of Arts and Arasan baths;
- 160 km from Chimkent, is Kodja Ahmed Mausoleum Yasavi XIV century, in Turkestan, built during the reign of Tamerlane. Dzhambul is an industrial city in the region, which has several replicas of the remains from the days when it was called Taraz. The authentic remains are in the village Golovachovka at 18km to the west;
- In the center of Kazakhstan is one of the largest lakes in the world. Lake Balkhash is half salt and half fresh water. In the center of the country have kept some archaeological sites with remains from the Bronze Age, Stone Age and Iron Age. Bayan-Aul Park has cave paintings, stone carvings, crystal lakes and pine. Baikonur Cosmodrome is located 5km from Leninsk and is the variant of central Asia for Cape Canaveral. Yuri Gagarin took off from here, on April 12, 1961;
- West Kazakhstan marks the meeting of Europe with Asia via the Caspian Sea basin. Karagie depression at 132 m below sea level, the lowest point in the world after the Dead Sea. There are many architectural treasures in the region, including underground mosque, in the form of cross-Ata Shakpak;
- Astana is the country's capital since 1997 because it has a less accessible location to the Russian Federation, and less vulnerable to earthquakes;
- East Kazakhstan offers a colorful landscape with mountain peaks, snow-covered, forested canyons and beautiful cedar forests. Lake Baikal is competed in beauty by the Lake Marakol. Semipalatinsk city at 30km from Siberia, Russian was a place of exile. There was exiled between 1857 and 1859 Dostoyevski and his house is a museum.

Gastronomy:

A special Kazakh cuisine usually is "dastarkhan" a feast that takes place on special occasions and generally consists of meat and dairy dishes. Usually an animal sacrifice is complete and the oldest family member has the honor to cut the animal's head cook and serve the family. Parts of the body are traits desired by those who eat that part. For example, children are given ears to hear better, one who eats tongue - will speak more eloquently and who received eye - will receive wisdom.

Most dishes are made from domestic animals. There are a variety of dairy products including cheese, butter and boiled milk. Spring and summer milk is gathered in a leather container, stir well and it is left to ferment. The whey obtained is a favorite summer drink. "Kuirdak" is a sort made from fresh meat of horses, sheep or cow and consists of liver, heart, kidneys and other organs chopped, boiled in oil and served with onion and pepper.

History:

Indigenous Kazakhs were a nomadic Turkish people who belong to several divisions of Kazakh hordes. They are grouped in settlements and lived in circular domed tents made from felt and called Yurts. The tribes were migrated within every new season in search of pastures for sheep, horses and goats. Although they had chiefs, Kazakhs were rarely united under one leader. These tribes came under Mongol leadership in the thirteenth century and were ruled by Tartar khanates until the area was conquered by Russia in the eighteenth century.

The territory became part of the Kyrgyz Autonomous Republic formed by the Soviet authorities in 1920 and in 1925 the name was changed to the Kazakh Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. After 1927 the Soviet government began forcing the nomadic people to settle in farming and continued Czarist policy of encouraging large numbers of Russians and other Slavic to settle in the region.

Due to intensive agricultural development and land use within the testing of nuclear weapons by the Soviets in the late twentieth century appeared serious environmental problems. Together with other republics in Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan gained its independence in 1991. In 1993 the country signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. President Nursultan Nazarbayev government has restructured and consolidated, eliminating a third of the ministries and agencies. In 1997 the capital was moved from Almaty to Astana.

In 1999 Nazarbayev won another mandate of seven years, although elections have been criticized. Due to mineral and oil resources, which have attracted Western investment, Kazakhstan has great potential to become one of the richest countries in central Asia. In 2000 oil was discovered in the Caspian Sea and is believed to be the largest deposit discovered in the last 30 years. In March 2001 opened a pipeline leading Tengiz oil fields to the Russian port of Novorossiysk in the Black Sea.

But while Kazakhstan's economy booming, its democratic principles are beginning to falter. In recent years the president, the media harassed, arrested opposition leaders and passed a law that made it impossible to create new political parties. In 2005 was reelected president and parliament in 2007 voted to eliminate the mandate, allowing the president to remain in power for an unlimited period. Then the president dissolved parliament and elections held.

Useful information

Kazakhs are very hospitable people. When host welcomes its guests, is stretching the hands to see that it is not armed. Local residents can contact the guest or a person older with diminutive name plus "ke" (Abkhan = Abeke, Nursultan = Nureke), as a sign of respect and appreciation. Tradition says that the most respected guest will receive from the host a boiled sheep's head, placed on a beautiful plateau. Custom prohibits children whose parents are alive to cut off the head of the sheep. They must give the head of sheep to cut it, to the guests.

In mosques women pray in a separate room and must cover their head and arms.

Capital: Astana
Local time: GMT +4 to GMT From 6
Main Languages: Kazakh, Russian
Currency: Tenge (KZT) = 100 tiyn