(2) Quite cold, even in April (Please note that I am a “Tropics” guy)
Location in the World map …
Some interesting tidbits about Kazakhstan…
“Kazakh” is believed to have come from Turkish word “Qaz”, “to wander”. The Persian suffix -stan means “land” or “place of”, so Kazakhstan can be literally translated as “land of the wanderers”.
Kazakhstan, in Central Asia and a former Soviet republic, extends from the Caspian Sea in the west to the Tian Shan and Altai Mountains at its eastern border with China and Russia.
World’s largest land-locked country.
Kazakhstan terrain has deserts, lakes, mountains, flatlands Etc.
The last of the USSR Republics to declare independence after the disbanding of USSR in 1991.
Nursultan Nazarbayev, the first president of Kazakhstan, was believed to be an authoritarian, and his government was accused of numerous human rights violations. E.g. Suppression of dissent and censorship of the media. Nazarbayev resigned in March 2019 and was made the Kazakhstan Security Council’s chairman-for-life. He had the capital’s name changed to his first name.
Kazakhs form 65% of the population
Islam is 70% and Christianity is 25%
Kazakhstan is the 9th largest country in the world, area wise.
#3: United States of America
Kazakhstan was the last of the Stans to withdraw from the USSR. Kazakhstan seems to have good relations with other countries in the area. They have strong economic ties to the European Union, China, and Russia.
Apple supposedly originates from Kazakhstan.
The name “Almaty” is translated as “full of apples” (“Alma” means “apple” in the Turkish language.) The region is thought to be the birthplace of the Apple and is known for its wild apple forests in the foothills of the Tian Shan Mountains.
Almaty is supposed to have been founded in 1016 AD, making it 1001 years old.
Kazakhstan and Russia share 4,200+ miles of border, so it is no wonder that there has been a strong Russian presence in Kazakhstan, long before the “Soviet period” began around 1920.
Astana is the second coldest capital city of the world. The temperature in winter there can go as low as -50C (-58F)!
Kazakhstan has a typical climate with hot summers and cold winters. The temperature varies depending on the region of the country. The summers in the southern part of the country can be brutal, with temperatures going up to 40°C (104F).
“Mashrutka” == Local buses. You can ask locals (E.g. Hotel) which number bus you need to get on or you can use the app Maps.Me. Just type in the name of your location and destination and the app will show you the number of the bus or the Mashrutka that is going there.
The Kazakhs are descendants of ancient Turkic nomadic tribes and used to travel along the Kazakhstan steppes for centuries. Their culture was very similar to the nomadic culture in Kyrgyzstan.
Kazakhstan has massive Oil & Natural Gas reserves.
Kazakhstan is a multinational state inhabited by 18+ million people belonging to more than 120 nationalities.
“Steppe” == Large area of grasslands. Just flat lands. Kazakh Steppe is believed to be the largest in the World.
Lake Balkhash (15th largest lake in the World) has clear fresh water in the West side and saline water in the East side.
Kazakhstan has the World’s largest Space Launch center (Baikonur Cosmodrome) and it is currently leased to Russia
The tradition of hunting with Hawks and Falcons is still popular in Kazakhstan.
Phew! 3 years and 6 months (1288 days to be precise!) since the last time (Iceland) I stepped foot in a new country.
I never imagined that I will go 3.5 years without entering a new country. Damn @#$! COVID. Lost precious 3.5 years. Time for approximately 16-18 new countries. Anyway, have to take it on the chin and move on.
I took the recent rise of Kazakh player Elena Rybakina (formerly from Russia) as sign that I would be in Kazakhstan soon 🙂
(1) Man, it is freaking COLD here! In April!
(2) Immigration was way stricter than my visits to Motherland (Russia). The dude did a 5min detailed comparison of the photo in the passport and my face.