In terms of area, Kazakhstan is the largest of the five Central Asian former Soviet republics. The country, sparsely populated with 7 inhabitants per square kilometer, extends from the Caspian Sea in the west to the heights of the Tien Shan Mountains in the east. In between are vast steppe landscapes. With an area of 2.7 million square kilometers, Kazakhstan has 18.4 million inhabitants. Neighboring countries are Russia in the north, Turkmenistan in the southwest, Uzbekistan in the south, Kyrgyzstan in the southeast and China in the east.
The climate is extremely continental and fluctuates between – 40 in winter and + 40 in summer.
Kazakhstan, like all countries in the region, is a multi-ethnic country with around 120 different ethnic groups. Already before the Soviet ear with forced relocations after the beginning of the Second World War and the new land policy, many different peoples lived in the country. With about 66% the name giving Kazakhs form the largest population group. When we speak of nationals, we speak of Kazakhstanians, including all population groups. Among them is the still large group of Russians. But also Uzbeks live especially in the south of country close to the Uzbek border. For example, half of the city of Turkistan is populated with Uzbeks. Other ethnic groups living in Kazakhstan are Uyghurs, Ukrainians, Turkmens, Kirghiz, Dungans, Tatars, Germans, Koreans and many others.
The official language is Kazakh, a language of the Kipchak group of Turkish languages, as well as Kyrgyz and Karalpak. Russian had almost completely replaced the Kazakh language in the Soviet era, but experienced a renaissance after independence. It was initially written in Cyrillic letters. The changeover to Latin script will take place in 2020 and should be completed in 2025. In addition to Kazakh, Russian is still the language of communication and is particularly widespread in cities.
The capital Nur-Sultan (after the first president of the country Nursultan Nazarbayev), which was called Astana from 1998 to March, lies in the central steppe and was almost completely rebuilt starting from the small settlement Akmola. Until 1997 Almaty, the former Alma-Ata in the southeast of the country, was the capital of Kazakhstan and is still a scientific and cultural metropolis.
UNESCO World Heritage in Kazakhstan:
- Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi
- Petroglyphen in der archäologischen Landschaft von Tamgaly
- Saryarka – Steppe and lakes in northern Kazakhstan
Intangible Cultural Heritage in Kazakhstan:
- Traditional spring festive rites of the Kazakh horse breeders (2018)
- Kazakh traditional Assyk games (2017)
- Kurese in Kazakhstan (2016)
- Nawrouz, Novruz, Nowrouz, Nowrouz, Nawrouz, Nauryz, Nooruz, Nowruz, Navruz, Nevruz, Nowruz, Navruz (2016)
- Aitysh/Aitys, art of improvisation (2015)
- Kazakh traditional art of Dombra Kuy (2014)
- Traditional knowledge and skills in making Kyrgyz and Kazakh yurts (Turkic nomadic dwellings) (2014)