Kazakhstan is bordered by
the Russian Federation, the Caspian Sea, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan,
Kyrgyzstan and China. For centuries, Kazakhstan's vast plains were
home only to nomads and they are still virtually empty. Most
settlements are concentrated in the southeast and the east of the
Republic. South Kazakhstan is a focus of Central Asian history and
there are many famous monuments in the region. It is a scenically
diverse region where the snow-capped peaks, lakes and glaciers of the
Tian Shan range give way to steppe and desert. The desert is home to
the Singing Barkhan - a sand dune 3.2km (2 miles) long, which, as it
crumbles, produces a peculiar singing sound. Almaty was until very
recently the former capital of Kazakhstan and it enjoys a beautiful
setting between mountains and plains. It is a city of modern
architecture, cool fountains, parks and spectacular mountain views.
Kazakh dishes include kazi, chuzhuk, suret and besbarmak (made from
horse meat or mutton). There is a number of nightclubs and casinos in
the main cities.
2,717,300 sq km (1,049,150 sq miles).
Five times the
size of France and half the size of the USA, Kazakhstan is the second
largest state in the Commonwealth of Independent States, and is
bordered by the Russian Federation to the north and west, the Caspian
Sea, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to the southwest, Kyrgyzstan to the
south and China to the southeast. 90 per cent of the country is made
up of steppe, the sand massives of the Kara Kum and the vast desert of
Kizilkum, while in the southeast of the country the mountains of the
Tian Shan and the Altai form a great natural frontier with tens of
thousands of lakes and rivers. The Aral Sea and Lake Balkhash are the
countryís largest expanses of water.
(formerly called Akmola). Population : 313,000 (1999).
Republic. Head of State: President
Nursultan A Nazarbayev since 1991. Head of Government: Prime
Minister Daniyal Akhmetov since 2003.
language is Kazakh, a Turkic language closely related to Uzbek,
Kyrgyz, Turkmen and Turkish. The Government has undertaken to replace
the Russian Cyrillic alphabet with the Turkish version of the Roman
alphabet. Meanwhile, the Cyrillic alphabet is in general use and most
people in the cities can speak Russian, whereas country people tend to
only speak Kazakh. English is usually spoken by those involved in
tourism. Uygur and other regional languages and dialects are also
Muslim. There are Russian Orthodox and Jewish minorities. There are
ten independent denominations of Christianity. The Kazakhs do not
express their religious feelings fervently - Kazakhstan is an outlying
district of the Muslim world and a meeting point of Russian, Chinese
and Central Asian civilisations. Islam plays a minor role in policy
and there are no significant Islamic political organizations in the
divided into three time zones :
Eastern/Main Zone : GMT + 6 (GMT + 7 from 28 March to 26
Central Zone : GMT + 5 (GMT + 6 from 28 March to 26 October).
Western Zone : GMT + 4 (GMT + 5 from 28 March to 26 October).
Electricity : 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Round two-pin continental
plugs are standard.
Population Density :
5.5 per sq km.
Country code: 7. Area code for Almaty: 3272. International calls can
be made at a reduced rate from 2000-0800 local time. International
calls should be made from a telephone office; these are usually
attached to post offices.
Mobile telephone : Dual band 1800 and 900 networks in use.
Coverage is good around the main cities. Network providers include
K-MOBILE and Kazakhtelecom. There are roaming agreements with
Vodafone, Orange, O2 and T-Mobile.
Telegram : Facilities available from any post office.
Internet : ISPs include Parasang (website :
and Astel (website :
http://www.astel.kz). There are
Internet cafes in most towns and cities.
Post : Full postal facilities are available at main post
offices in the cities, which are open 24 hours a day, seven days a
week. The main post office in Almaty is located on Ulitsa Kurmangazy.
International postal communication is undertaken by the firms Blitz-Pochta,
Press Limited and International Press (e-mail : email@example.com).
Delivery within the republic takes 3 to 5 days. Post to Western Europe
and the USA takes between 2 and 3 weeks. Mail addresses should be laid
out in the following order: country, postcode, city, street, house
number and lastly the personís name. Post office hours: Mon-Fri
0900-1800. Visitors can also use post offices located within major
Press : There are 70 newspapers and 50 magazines in Kazakh,
Russian, German, Uygur and Korean published in the country. The most
popular are Yegemen Kazakhstan, Kazakhstanskaya Pravda, Panorama,
Ekspress K, Khalyk Kenesi and the international newspaper Asia.
Radio : BBC World Service (website :
http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice) and Voice of America
can be received. From time to time the frequencies change and the most
up-to-date can be found online.