Trapped between land from three sides and the Caspian Sea on the fourth, Kazakhstan is a mystical place which has sealed in its hearts a number of secrets. These are the secrets which it has accumulated over the centuries from the travellers of the famous silk route, and in forms of cultural and archaeological monuments. The country is full of natural beauty and artistic architecture which are the gifts from travellers and early settlers! This land of the nomads, which earlier was a part of Soviet Union, gained recognition as a country after 1991 when Soviet Union dissolved. From that time, this country hasn’t looked back; it modernized with a rapid pace and came up with a number of developments, as if in celebration of its new found status as a country. Be it conquering the lands or the space, the Kazaks never stood back; the examples are the furious Sakas and the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin. Continue reading for more of such interesting facts on Kazakhstan.
Official Name: Republic of Kazakhstan
Official Language: Kazakh and Russian
National Language: Kazakh
Religion: Islam (predominant), Russian Orthodox, Protestant and Other
Legislature: Bicameral Parliament
Independence: 16 December 1991
Constitution: 28 January 1993
Area: 2.7 million sq km
Population: 15.7 million (UN, 2010)
Currency: Kazakh Tenge
Interesting And Fun Facts About Kazakhstan
- Kazakhstan has been an active trade route for merchants and travellers from time immemorial. This country used to be a hub of economic and socio-cultural exchange between two major continents of the world, namely, Europe and Asia.
- Kazakhstan used to be a part of the silk route and hence has marvellous constructions which were erected during the years of silk trade. South of Kazakhstan and Semirechye formed the northern part of the silk route and were the major connections for international trade and cultural exchange.
- The early residents of the country, who were the antecedents of the current day Kazakhs, were farmers and relied on agriculture and animal husbandry.
- Kazakhstan is rich in natural resources and beautiful landscapes, all this because of the vast expanse of the boundaries of this country. The country also has the honour to be the ninth largest country of the world. One of its borders is formed by the largest enclosed water body, the Caspian Sea.
- The largest water body inside the bounds of the country is Lake Balkhash, which is one of the biggest lakes of the world. The lake has a unique quality about it. One half of the water remains saline, whereas the other half of the lake has fresh water.
- In earlier times, the Aral Sea in Kazakhstan used to be the fourth largest inland water body of the world, but today it has shrunk into a much smaller water body. This happened after the formation of former USSR when the path of two rivers, Ama Dariya and the Syrdariya, which were the main source of water for the sea, was diverted.
- Interestingly, it is believed that Kazakhstan was the place where the horses were first tamed to ride. It is also said that Kazakh means ‘a free rider’.
- One of the popular monuments in Kazakhstan is the Issyk burial mound, located in close proximity to the former national capital, Almaty. It is the burial place for a young Scythian or Saka, interestingly known as the Golden Man. He got this name because the clothes the corpse was wearing was covered with a number of plates of gold. The golden plates were intricately carved with animal figures and animal patterns such as leopards, winged horses etc.
- Kazakhs were formally nomads who used to live in nomadic tents which had wooden frames and were covered with felt. Since these tents were easy to collapse, they were really easy to carry from one place to another.
- Almaty, the financial capital of Kazakhstan was named after the apple trees which are widely grown in the area since a long time. Alma means ‘apple’ in Kazakh language.
- It was in the year 1991 that Kazakhstan became an independent nation. Before that, the country used to be a part of the Soviet Union.
- It was the year 1961 when Yuri Gagarin, the Russian cosmonaut, became the first man to travel in space. He belonged to present day Kazakhstan. The shuttle took off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
- The traditional New Year which is celebrated in Kazakhstan is called ‘Nauryz’. It is celebrated on 23 March, which is the time for the spring equinox.
- Though this country is land locked, it still has its own naval fleet which is based on the Caspian Sea.
- Astana, the current capital of Kazakhstan, was born, like most of the other cities, because of heavy trade traffic.
- The country attracts tourists to Medeo, a state of art skating-rink situated in the former capital of the country, Almaty. The name of the rink is taken from an ancient nomad tribe Medeo, who were the early settlers of Almaty.
- Charyn Canyon, also famous as the young brother of the Grand Canyon, is located in the country and measures up to 200 m in width and 100 to 300 meters in height.
- Amidst the Tamgaly ravines, which are near to Almaty, were found a number of undiscovered rock paintings. This place is an ancient art gallery hidden perfectly in nature and features pictures of discs, chariots, tamgas, preying inscriptions etc. These petroglyphs are world heritage and so are treasured by UNESCO.