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Kazakhstan - The Unexpected Vacation

World  (tags: Kazakhstan, people, places, travel )

- 1494 days ago -
The central Asian nation of Kazakhstan declared its independence from the former Soviet Union in December of 1991.

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Kit B (276)
Saturday April 19, 2014, 8:50 am
Map Credit: Wiki Maps

The central Asian nation of Kazakhstan declared its independence from the former Soviet Union in December of 1991. Kazakhstan shares borders with Russia, China, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. The nation also has a large coastline on the Caspian Sea, a major source of oil export revenue.

----5 Facts You Might Not Know

1) Kazakhstan is the ninth largest nation on earth. The country's diverse geography spans 14 provinces that cover over one million square miles, making Kazakhstan larger than all of Western Europe combined. The nation's vast geography consists of vast plains, high mountain peaks as well as arid valleys.

2) Kazakhstan is home to one of the youngest populations on earth. It's 15 million inhabitants are an average age of 30,2 years as of 2011. Over sixty percent of Kazaks live in urban populations. The nation's many diverse ethnic groups live in relative harmony. The nation's modern culture is a blend of Western influence and Turkish nomadic traditions.

3) Though elections of the president and parliament members are held every five years, public criticism of the president and government officials of Kazakhstan is considered a criminal offense. And while the country is home to over 1,000 newspapers and 250 TV stations, nearly all are government-run or have ties to political backers.

4) Kazaki cuisine is largely centered on entrees comprised of boiled lamb and horse meat, a cultural tradition which dates back to the nation's nomadic roots. Milk from donkeys, camels, cows and sheep is also a popular staple.

5) Kazakhstani's won eight medals in the 2004 Summer Olympics - the most medals of any Western Asian nation. Soccer, cycling, ice hockey and boxing are the nation's most popular sporst. Rugby union is also increasingly popular. The Kazakhstan Premier League is the top division of Kazakhi soccer and is comprised of 12 professional clubs.

History and Culture:

Culture Name

Kazakh, Kazakhstani, Republic of Kazakhstan (note the spelling of Kazakhstan can be found with or without an h ; currently it is officially spelled with an h )

Alternative Names

Kazak, Central Asian or Post-Soviet People

The Kazakh steppeland, north of the Tien Shan Mountains, south of Russian Siberia, west of the Caspian Sea, and east of China, has been inhabited since the Stone Age. It is a land rich in natural resources, with recent oil discoveries putting it among the world leaders in potential oil reserves. The newly independent Republic of Kazakhstan ranks ninth in the world in geographic size (roughly the size of Western Europe) and is the largest country in the world without an ocean port.

History and Ethnic Relations

Emergence of the Nation.
Humans have inhabited the Central Asian steppe since the Stone Age. Dramatic seasonal variations coupled with movements, conflicts, and alliances of Turkic and Mongol tribes caused the people of Central Asia often to be on the move.

In the eighth century a confederation of Turkish tribes, the Qarluqs, established the first state in Kazakhstan in what is now eastern Kazakhstan. Islam was introduced to the area in the eighth and ninth centuries, when Arabs conquered what is now southern Kazakhstan. The Oghuz Turks controlled western Kazakhstan until the eleventh century.

The eleventh through the eighteenth centuries saw periodic control over Kazakhstan by Arabs, Turks, and Mongols. The people of Kazakhstan consider themselves great warriors and still honor many of the war heroes of this time period.

What might be called the modern-day history of Kazakhstan started in the eighteenth century, when the three main hordes (groups) of Kazakh nomads (who had begun to distinguish themselves linguistically and culturally from the Uzbeks, Kyrgyz, and Turkmen) started seeking Russian protection from Oryat raiders from the Xhinjian area of western China.


Food in Kazakh culture is a very big part of their heritage, a way of respecting guests and of celebrating. When sitting down to eat with a Kazakh family one can be sure of two things: There will be more than enough food to eat, and there will be meat, possibly of different types.

Food in Daily Life.
In daily life Kazakhs eat some of their own national dishes, but have borrowed some from the Russians, Ukrainians, Uzbeks, and Turks that they live among. Daily meals for Kazakhs usually are very hearty, always including bread and usually another starch such as noodles or potatoes and then a meat. One common dish is pilaf, which is often associated with the Uzbeks. It is a rice dish usually made with carrots, mutton, and a lot of oil. Soups, including Russian borscht, also are very common. Soups in Kazakhstan can be made of almost anything. Borscht is usually red (beet-based) or brown (meat-based), with cabbage, meat, sometimes potatoes, and usually a large dollop of sour cream. Pelimnin, a Russian dish that is made by filling small dough pockets with meat and onions, is very popular with all nationalities in Kazakhstan and is served quite often as a daily meal.

A more traditional Central Asian dish, although not conclusively Kazakh, is manti, a large dough pocket filled with meat, onions, and sometimes pumpkin.

Bread (commonly loaves or a flat, round bread called leipioskka ) and seasonal fruits and vegetables are served with almost every meal. Kazakhstan is known for its apples, and the Soviets are known for their love of potatoes (for both eating and making vodka).

Shashlik, marinated meat roasted over a small flame and served on a stick, is of great popularity in this region. The style of meat, which locals claim originated in the Caucasus is not often eaten on a daily basis at home but is eaten quite often at roadside cafés and corner shashlik stands. High quality shashlik in large quantities is served at home on special occasions or if an animal is slaughtered.

Basic Economy.
Because of the richness of its land and resourcefulness of its people, the Kazakh basic economy is not very dependent on foreign trade and imports. The degree to which this is true varies greatly between the cities and towns, and the villages of the countryside. Almost every rural Kazakh has a garden, sheep and chickens, and some have horses. There are many meals in rural Kazakhstan where everything people eat and drink is homemade and from the person's garden or livestock. People in this region have been taught to be very resourceful and careful with what little they have. Most men can fix their own cars, houses, and farm equipment; women can cultivate, cook, sew, or mend almost everything they use in daily life. In fact, many rural dwellers make a living of growing foods or handmaking goods for sale in the local markets or in the cities.

Read more:

Arielle S (313)
Saturday April 19, 2014, 10:06 am
Did not know any of the five facts - three I'd rather not know. I had no idea the country was that large... and I do admire the resourcefulness of the people. Very informative and interesting - thanks, Kit!

. (0)
Saturday April 19, 2014, 10:28 am
Beautiful country. Thanks Kit.

Nancy M (197)
Saturday April 19, 2014, 11:16 am
Kazhakstani chocolate- at least as good as Swiss.

Pat B (356)
Saturday April 19, 2014, 11:19 am
I would do a lot of walking, and hiking. I liked the countryside. Thanks, Kit for our trip to this great country.

Nicole W (646)
Saturday April 19, 2014, 11:57 am
ty dear Kit for the great tour

JL A (281)
Saturday April 19, 2014, 12:44 pm
It does look like a mountain biker's dream locale. Thanks for the glimpse--not a country I've learned as much about as some perhaps because of its more unique history in response to 20th century events.

Stardust Noel (38)
Saturday April 19, 2014, 2:44 pm
Thank you.

Barbara K (60)
Saturday April 19, 2014, 4:30 pm
Thank you, my friend, for this adventurous vacation via computer. Ahhh, nothing like fresh air.

Jaime A (52)
Saturday April 19, 2014, 11:29 pm

Abdessalam Diab (145)
Sunday April 20, 2014, 1:09 am
Thanks Kit. You reminded me with my visit to Al-Mata the previous capital of Kazakhstan in 1997 during my term of service with the Egyptian Embassy in Tashkent ( Uzbekistan ). I liked it very much with its rich cultural traditions.

Alexandra G (250)
Sunday April 20, 2014, 10:50 am
thank you

Birgit W (160)
Sunday April 20, 2014, 1:44 pm
Thanks for sharing Kit.

marie C (163)
Sunday April 20, 2014, 2:22 pm
Thanks Kit

Mary Donnelly (47)
Sunday April 20, 2014, 3:39 pm
Thanks again Kit.

Lynn C (94)
Sunday April 20, 2014, 10:04 pm
Thank you

Maria Teresa Schollhorn (42)
Monday April 21, 2014, 12:25 am
Beautiful country! Thanke you.

Joy Wong (103)
Monday April 21, 2014, 1:53 am
Noted, thanks,

Past Member (0)
Monday April 21, 2014, 8:16 am
Really: " Kazakhstan is home to one of the youngest populations on earth. It's 15 million inhabitants are an average age of 30,2 years as of 2011. Over sixty percent of Kazaks live in urban populations. The nation's many diverse ethnic groups live in relative harmony." Doesn't explain one of the highest homicide rate is the world.

Past Member (0)
Monday April 21, 2014, 1:38 pm
Yurts are Eco friendly used correctly. Innovations from horse dung cooking fires. Takes a few thousand years to adapt fully to yurts.:) Teepees. Caves. :) Hollow tree ? Looks like Canada. :) Might Immigrate.:) This place looks less and less like Canada and more and more like AMERIKA ! What happened to the natural fragmentation of continental nations ? This one had 3 conjoined triplets :) Corporate owned Mouth to Corporate Arse Kissing Political Babies..Viva la 3 Amigos..NOT ! End of this world as we know it..knew it..gone..poof. Elite economic scams to take us to desperation and beg to be enslaved :) We do too.:)

Debbie Zarr (1)
Monday April 21, 2014, 2:03 pm
Kazakhstan sounds like an interesting country to visit. Maybe after I 'be seen more of Europe. (I did want to see Odessa, Ukraine, where my ancestors are from, but looks like I won't be visiting there. I hope the Russians don't do the same to Kazakhstan or any other former Soviet provinces.
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