About Kaza­khstan

Timeless Travels Magazine - - KAZAKHSTAN -

The Repub­lic of Kaza­khstan is the world’s largest land­locked coun­try, and the ninth largest coun­try in the world, with an area of 2,724,900 square kilo­me­tres (1,052,100 square miles). The coun­try is largely lo­cated in Asia but the most west­ern parts are lo­cated in Europe. Kaza­khstan gen­er­ates 60% of the re­gion’s GDP, pri­mar­ily through its oil/gas in­dus­try. It also has vast min­eral re­sources.

Kaza­khstan shares its bor­ders with Rus­sia, China, Kyr­gyzs­tan, Uzbek­istan, and Turk­menistan, and also ad­joins a large part of the Caspian Sea. Its ter­rain in­cludes flat­lands, steppe, taiga, rock canyons, hills, deltas, snow-capped moun­tains, and deserts. In 2018, it was es­ti­mated that the coun­try has a pop­u­la­tion of 18.3 mil­lion peo­ple. The coun­try’s largest city is Al­maty but the cap­i­tal was moved from here to As­tana in 1997.

Kaza­khstan only came into ex­is­tence in the 1920s un­der the Soviet Regime. Be­fore then, the great bulk of the ter­ri­tory was the do­main of no­madic an­i­mal herders that stretched right across the Eurasian steppe.

By 500 BCE south­ern Kaza­khstan was in­hab­ited by the Saka, part of the vast net­work of no­madic Scythian cul­tures that stretched across the steppes from the Al­tay to Ukraine. The Saka left many burial mounds, con­tain­ing hoards of gold jew­ellery. Most splen­did of all is the ‘Golden Man’, a war­rior’s cos­tume that has be­come a Kaza­khstan na­tional sym­bol.

From 200 BCE the Huns, fol­lowed by var­i­ous Tur­kic peo­ples, ar­rived from what are now Mon­go­lia and north­ern China. The Karakhanid Turks from the south­ern Kazakh steppe ousted the Sa­manids in the late 10th cen­tury, tak­ing up the Sa­manids’ set­tled ways (and Is­lam) and con­struct­ing some of Kaza­khstan’s ear­li­est sur­viv­ing build­ings in and around Taraz.

In the 13th cen­tury, the ter­ri­tory joined the Mon­go­lian Em­pire un­der Genghis Khan. By the 16th cen­tury, the Kazakh emerged as a dis­tinct rul­ing group. The Rus­sians be­gan ad­vanc­ing into the Kazakh steppe in the 18th cen­tury, and by the mid-19th cen­tury, they nom­i­nally ruled the area.

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