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Population 2007 ..........................................................15,284,929
GDP per capita 2006 (Purchasing Power Parity, US$)........... 5,900
GDP 2006 (Purchasing Power Parity, US$ billions)...............138.7
Average annual growth 1991-97
Population (%) ....... -.7
Labor force (%) ....... -.3
Total Area...................................................................1,049,000 sq. mi.
Poverty (% of population below national poverty line)...... 35
Urban population (% of total population) ............................... 60
Life expectancy at birth (years)..................................................... 65
Infant mortality (per 1,000 live births)........................................ 24
Child malnutrition (% of children under 5) ...............................8
Illiteracy (% of population age 15+) ..............................................
Economic summary: GDP/PPP $243.6 billion (2013 est.) $14,100 (2013 est.). Real growth rate: 5%. Inflation: 5.8%. Unemployment: 5.3%. Arable land: 8.82%. Agriculture: grain (mostly spring wheat), cotton livestock. Labor force: 9.022 million industry 11.9%, agriculture 25.8%, services 62.3% (2013 est.). Industries: oil, coal, iron ore, manganese, chromite, lead, zinc, copper, titanium, bauxite, gold, silver, phosphates, sulfur, iron and steel tractors and other agricultural machinery, electric motors, construction materials. Natural resources: major deposits of petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, manganese, chrome ore, nickel, cobalt, copper, molybdenum, lead, zinc, bauxite, gold, uranium. Exports: $87.23 billion (2013 est.): oil and oil products, natural gas, ferrous metals, chemicals, machinery, grain, wool, meat, coal. Imports: $52.03 billion (2013 est.): machinery and equipment, metal products, foodstuffs. Major trading partners: China, Germany, Ukraine, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria (2012 ).
Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 4.34 million (2012) mobile cellular: 28.731 million (2012). Broadcast media:state owns nearly all radio and TV transmission facilities and operates national TV and radio networks nearly all nationwide TV networks are wholly or partly owned by the government some former state-owned media outlets have been privatized and are controlled by the president's daughter, who heads the Khabar Agency that runs multiple TV and radio stations a number of privately-owned TV stations households with satellite dishes have access to foreign media a small number of commercial radio stations operating along with state-run radio stations (2008). Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 67,464 (2012). Internet users: 5.299 million (2009).
Transportation: Railways: total: 15,333 km (2012). Roadways: total: 97,418 km paved: 87,140 km unpaved: 10,278 km (2012). Waterways: 4,000 km (on the Ertis (Irtysh) River (80%) and Syr Darya (Syrdariya) River) (2010). Ports and terminals:Aqtau (Shevchenko), Atyrau (Gur'yev), Oskemen (Ust-Kamenogorsk), Pavlodar, Semey (Semipalatinsk). Airports: 96 (2013).
International disputes: Kyrgyzstan has yet to ratify the 2001 boundary delimitation with Kazakhstan field demarcation of the boundaries with Turkmenistan commenced in 2005, and with Uzbekistan in 2004 ongoing demarcation with Russia began in 2007 demarcation with China was completed in 2002 creation of a seabed boundary with Turkmenistan in the Caspian Sea remains under discussion Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Russia ratified Caspian seabed delimitation treaties based on equidistance, while Iran continues to insist on a one-fifth slice of the sea.
Regions of Kazakhstan Map
Kazakhstan (officially, Republic of Kazakhstan) is divided into 14 administrative regions (Kazakh: oblystar/oblys) and 4 cities. In alphabetical order, the regions are: Akmola, Aktobe, Almaty, Atyrau, East Kazakhstan, Jambyl, Karaganda, Kostanay, Kyzylorda, Mangystau, North Kazakhstan, Pavlodar, Turkistan and West Kazakhstan. The cities are: Almaty, Baikonur, Nur-Sultan, Shymkent. The regions are further subdivided into districts (Kazakh: aỷdan).
With an area of 2,724,900 sq. km, Kazakhstan is the world’s largest landlocked country and the ninth largest country in the world. It is also the most economic dominant Nation of Central Asia. Nur-Sultan (known as Astana between 1998 and 2019) is the capital city and is located on the banks of the Ishim River in the country's northern part. With a population of over a million inhabitants, it is the second largest city in Kazakhstan. Almaty located in the mountainous region of southern Kazakhstan, is the largest city in the country, with a population of over two million inhabitants. Almaty is the major commercial and cultural centre, as well as the most populous and cosmopolitan city of Kazakhstan.
The country has historically hosted a wide variety of ethnic groups with varying religions. Intolerance to other societies has become an issue of the Kazakh culture. The foundation of an independent republic, following the disintegration of the USSR, has launched a great deal of changes in every aspect of people's lives. Religiosity of the population, as an essential part of any cultural identity, has undergone dynamic transformations as well.
Baptist Churches are often raided. This is due to the church members gathering without registering themselves, a requirement of the country. Anyone who does not register risk being raided by the police. However not only those that violate the law are treated harshly. 
On May 2, 2017, a court in the capital of Astana, Kazakhstan, sentenced a 61-year-old husband and father of three sons to a five-year prison sentence for performing peaceful Bible education work. Teymur Akhmedov, is a member of Jehovah's Witnesses. The court called his preaching and teaching efforts “inciting religious discord” and “advocating [religious] superiority.” In addition, the judge also imposed a three-year ban on Mr. Akhmedov’s participation in Bible education activities. Mr Akhmedov's medical issues were not considered, as he requires treatment for a bleeding tumor and has been denied the medical attention that he requires. 
After decades of suppressed culture, the people were feeling a great need to exhibit their ethnic identity – in part through religion. Quantitative research shows that for the first years after the establishment of the new laws, waiving any restrictions on religious beliefs and proclaiming full freedom of confessions, the country experienced a huge spike in religious activity of its citizens. Hundreds of mosques, synagogues, churches, and other religious structures were built in a matter of years. All represented religions benefited from increased number of members and facilities. Many confessions that were absent before independence made their way into the country, appealing to hundreds of people. The government supported this activity, and has done its best to provide equality among all religious organizations and their followers. In the late 1990s, however, a slight decline in religiosity occurred. [ citation needed ] The draft religion law being considered in June 2008 has raised international concern over whether there is an intention to meet general standards of freedom of religion and human rights. 
Islam is the most commonly practiced religion in Kazakhstan it was introduced to the region during the 8th century by the Arabs.  Traditionally ethnic Kazakhs are Sunni Muslims who mainly follow the Hanafi school.  Kazakhs including other ethnic groups of Muslim background make up over 90 per cent of all Muslims.  The southern region of the country has the highest concentration of self-identified practicing Muslims.
Christianity in Kazakhstan is the second most practiced religion after Islam. Most Christian citizens are Russians, and to a lesser extent Ukrainians and Belarusians, who belong to the Russian Orthodox Church. According to a 2009 national census, approximately 26% of the population of Kazakhstan identifies as Christian.  1.5 percent of the population is German, most of whom follow Catholicism or Lutheranism. There are also many Presbyterians, Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists, and Pentecostals.   Methodists, Mennonites, and Mormons have also registered churches with the government.  According to the 2009 census, there were 4,214,232 Christians in Kazakhstan.  "Kazakhstan is the strange core of traditionalist Catholicism," Catholic writer Ross Douthat stated in 2018. 
Baháʼí Faith Edit
The Baháʼí Faith in Kazakhstan began during the policy of oppression of religion in the former Soviet Union. Before that time, Kazakhstan, as part of the Russian Empire, would have had indirect contact with the Baháʼí Faith as far back as 1847.  Following the entrance of Baháʼí pioneers the community grew to be the largest religious community after Islam and Christianity, though only a few percent of the nation.  By 1994 the National Spiritual Assembly of Kazakhstan was elected  and the community has begun to multiply its efforts across various interests. The Association of Religion Data Archives (relying on World Christian Encyclopedia) estimated some 7,000 Baháʼís in 2010. 
Kazakh Jews have a long history. There are approximately 12,000 to 30,000 Jews in Kazakhstan, less than 1% of the population. Most Kazakh Jews are Ashkenazi and speak Russian.  
Hindus in Kazakhstan are mainly of the ISKCON sect and by Diaspora Hindus from India. The Indian community in Central Asia, which comprises Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, numbers only 2732 out of a total population of 55.5 million. It consists mainly of NRIs.
Tengrism is a Central Asian religion characterized by shamanism, animism, totemism, poly- and monotheism and ancestor worship. It was the prevailing religion of the Turks, Mongols, Hungarians, Xiongnu and Huns, and the religion of the five ancient Turkic states: Göktürk Khaganate, Western Turkic Khaganate, Great Bulgaria, Bulgarian Empire and Eastern Tourkia (Khazaria). In Irk Bitig, Tengri is mentioned as Türük Tängrisi (God of Turks).
Tengrists view their existence as sustained by the eternal blue sky (Tengri), the fertile mother-earth spirit (Umay) and a ruler regarded as the holy spirit of the sky. Heaven, earth, spirits of nature and ancestors provide for every need and protect all humans. By living an upright, respectful life, a human will keep his world in balance and perfect his personal Wind Horse, or spirit. The Huns of the northern Caucasus reportedly believed in two gods: Tangri Han (or Tengri Khan), considered identical to the Persian Aspandiat and for whom horses were sacrificed, and Kuar (whose victims are struck by lightning). Tengrism is practised in Sakha, Buryatia, Tuva and Mongolia in parallel with Tibetan Buddhism and Burkhanism.
Kazakhstan has a very diverse and stable religious background. However, some reported occurrences of persecution against Hare Krishnas and Jehovah's Witnesses for proselytizing have raised concern in the international community.   
Article 22 of the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan states that "everyone has the right to a freedom of conscience.” On May 18, 2011, the President of Kazakhstan adopted a decree establishing the Agency for Religious Affairs. The mission of the Agency is to coordinate interaction between the government, religious groups and civil society in order to ensure religious freedom in Kazakhstan. 
In 2003 Kazakhstan established Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions that aims to facilitate religious dialogue ensuring inter-religious tolerance and freedom in Kazakhstan. 
The 2009 census yielded the following results of Kazakhstan's population by religion and ethnic group. 
Today's Kazakhstan is a modern culture, thriving in the post-Soviet era. The traditional Kazakh lifestyle has blended with influences from Western societies, as well as those from Kazakhstan's Russian and Chinese neighbors.
Islam is the largest religion in Kazakhstan, followed by Russian Orthodox Christianity. By tradition the Kazakhs are Sunni Muslims, and the Russians are Russian Orthodox. Approximately 70% of the population is Muslim.  The majority are Sunni of the Hanafi school, including ethnic Kazakhs, who constitute about 60% of the population, as well as by ethnic Uzbeks, Uighurs, and Tatars.  Less than 25% of the population is Russian Orthodox, including ethnic Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians.  Other religious groups include Judaism, the Baháʼí Faith, Hare Krishnas, Buddhism, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 
Traditional Kazakh cuisine revolves around lamb and horse meat, as well as a variety of dairy milk products. For hundreds of years, Kazakhs were herders who raised fat-tailed sheep, Bactrian camels, and horses, relying on these animals for transportation, clothing, and food. The cooking techniques and major ingredients have been strongly influenced by the nation's nomadic way of life. For example, most cooking techniques are aimed at long-term preservation of food. There is a large practice of salting and drying meat so that it will last, and there is a preference for sour milk, as it is easier to save in a nomadic lifestyle.
In recent years, there has been an influx of young westernised Kazakh chefs into the heart of Nur-Sultan, including the now famous Rania Ahmed who spent her early years training in West London’s Michelin Star restaurants. This has resulted in a new breed of cuisine which blends traditional savoury Kazakh dishes with European fast food, such as betinjantabs, proving very popular with younger generations.
Besbarmak, a dish consisting of boiled horse or lamb meat, is the most popular Kazakh dish. Besbarmak is usually eaten with a boiled pasta sheet, and a meat broth called shorpa, and is traditionally served in Kazakh bowls called kese. Other popular meat dishes are kazy (which is a horse meat sausage that only the wealthy could afford), shuzhuk (horse meat sausages), kuyrdak (also spelled kuirdak, a dish made from roasted horse, sheep, or cow offal, such as heart, liver, kidneys, and other organs, diced and served with onions and peppers), and various horse delicacies, such as zhal (smoked lard from horse's neck) and zhaya (salted and smoked meat from horse's hip and hind leg). Pilaf (palaw) is the most common Kazakh rice dish, with vegetables (carrots, onions, and/or garlic) and chunks of meat. The national drinks are kumys (fermented mare's milk) and tea.
Kazakhs are known for their hospitality, and so many Kazakh traditions are based on this ethnic feature. Some traditions have been lost, but some have been rediscovered. Below are some of the traditions that continue to play a role in the modern Kazakh society:
Konakasy (Kazakh: қонақасы "konak" - guest, "as" - food) - a tradition to welcome a guest and make his stay as enjoyable as one can by providing food, lodge, entertainment. Depending on the circumstances under which a guest had come from, he is either called "arnayy konak" (Kazakh: арнайы қонақ) - a specially invited guest, "kudayy konak" (Kazakh: құдайы қонақ) - a casual traveller, or "kydyrma konak" (Kazakh: қыдырма қонақ) - an unexpected visitor. 
Korimdik (Kazakh: көрімдік "koru" - to see) - a tradition of presenting a person with a gift to congratulate him on a gain in his life. The custom is called korimdik, if a gain is related to a person or an animal (e.g. seeing a person's daughter-in-law or a newborn animal for the first time), and baygazy (Kazakh: байғазы), if the gain is material. 
Shashu (Kazakh: шашу - to scatter) - a tradition to shower heroes of an occasion with sweets during some festivity. Kazakhs believe that collected delights bring luck. 
Bata (Kazakh: бата - blessing) - a form of poetic art, typically given by the most respected or the eldest person to express gratitude for the provided hospitality, give blessing to a person who is about to enter a new phase in life, go through a challenging experience or travel. 
Tusau kesu (Kazakh: тұсау кесу - to cut ties) - a tradition to celebrate the first attempts of a child to walk. The legs of a child are tied with a string of white and black colors symbolizing the good and the bad in life. The tie is then cut by a female relative who is energetic and lively in nature, so that the child acquires her qualities. After the string has been cut, it is burnt. 
Kyz uzatu (Kazakh: қыз ұзату) - the first wedding party organized by the parents of a bride. The literal translation is "to see off a daughter". 
Betashar (Kazakh: беташар "bet" - face, "ashu" - to open) - the custom (often done at the wedding) to lift a veil from the face of a bride. Today it is mullah who is invited to perform an improvised song, in which he mentions relatives of the groom. During his performance, a bride has to bow every time she hears a name. After the song, a mother of the groom lifts the veil. 
Shildehana (Kazakh: шілдехана) - celebration of a birth of a child. 
Suinshi (Kazakh: сүйінші) - a tradition to give present to someone who has brought good news. 
The official language is Kazakh,  a Turkic language closely related to Nogai and Karakalpak. Another widely spoken language is Russian. The recent language policy suggests trilingualism as an important factor for future development of the country. 
In the 1950s, Nikita Khrushchev decided to use Kazakhstan to showcase Soviet ingenuity in land management and agriculture. As a result, he appointed Leonid Brezhenev First Secretary of Kazakhstan and commissioned him to carry out what was later known as the “Virgin Lands” project.
Helped by Kazakh Dinmukhammad Kunayev and a large number of Kazakh youths, Brezhnev turned the ancestral Kazakh grazing lands into wheat and cotton fields. While this was a major plan for the Soviet Union the project played havoc with the lives of the Kazakhs. Distanced from their major sources of self sufficiency, bread and meat, they became entirely dependent on imports from the rest of the Soviet Union.
The 1960s and 1970s saw the arrival of a different group of Soviets, the technicians who worked the coal and gas deposits and who took charge of the oil industry. This new community, added to the old farming and mining communities, tipped the balance against the Kazakhs who began to become a minority in their own country.
After Brezhnev, Kunayev became First Secretary. Using ancient Kazakh institutions such as tribal hierarchy and bata, Kunayev forged a new system of exploitation within the already exploitative Soviet system. As the chief of the “tribe” he made all the decisions on hiring and firing of managers of major firms and plants.
Then using bata, or sealed lip, he prevented any information that could damage his operation from reaching the Center in Moscow. The Kunayev empire, built around a core of his kinsmen, grew very strong. It would have grown even stronger if not Mikhail Gorbachev who displaced Kunayev as First Secretary and installed a Russian, Gennadii Kolbin, in his place.
As for Kunayev, he refused to disappear quietly. Rather, he set his own forces into motion and created the so-called “Alma-Ata” riots of the late 1980s, the first to shake the foundation of the Soviet Union.
Kazakhs abroad (in China, Mongolia, and other newly independent republics of the former USSR) are encouraged to return. Th ose who fled in Stalin's time automatically received citizenship others must apply.
In 1996, there was an organized return of 70,000 Kazakhs from Mongolia, Iran, and Turkey. During 1991 – 95, some 82,000 Ukrainians and 16,000 Belarussians repatriated. Between 1991 – 96, 614,000 Russians repatriated and 70,000 Kazakhs repatriated. During 1992 – 96, 480,000 ethnic Germans returned to Germany. These Germans were forcibly deported to Central Asia during World War II as from the Volga region.
As of 1996, 42,000 Kazakhs had been displaced internally or had left for other Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries as a result of the ecological problems of the Aral Sea, which had lost three-fourths its volume of water. There were also 160,000 displaced persons as a result of Semey, an above-ground nuclear testing site in northern Kazakhstan.
As of 2004, there were 74,144 refugees and asylum seekers in Kazakhstan. Of these, 13,684 were from Russia. In addition, there were 58,291 persons of concern to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), all ethnic Kazakh who are stateless persons. The majority of the refugee population is located in the former capital Almaty and the southern part of the country.
In 2000 the net migration rate was -12.2 migrants per 1,000 population, amounting to a loss of 200,000 people. By 2005, the net migration rate had declined to an estimated -3.34 migrants per 1,000 population. The government viewed the emigration level as too high.
Karaganda consists of several dozen settlements, but there are two main areas, the Old and New towns. Karaganda Old Town grew up in a haphazard fashion in the early years and includes more than 20 settlements.
Karaganda New Town, to the south, begun in 1934 and was designed as the cultural and administrative center of Karaganda oblast. New city has wide streets, parks and such monumental buildings as Miners’ Palace of Culture.
There are several institutions of higher education, including a university and medical and polytechnic institutes in Karaganda city of Kazakhstan. There are also a number of research and design institutes, a museum, theaters, a television center and a botanical garden in Karaganda.
Karaganda city, Kazakhstan scenery
Karaganda city scenery
Karaganda city, Kazakhstan view
History of Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan has a long and fascinating history, going back thousands of years. Some remnants are still visible today such as Great Silk Road monuments, petroglyphs and sometimes even mysterious archaeological sites. The Amazons might have originated from Kazakhstan, the first steppe nomads are supposed to have emerged from here and it is very likely that Genghis Khan was buried in Eastern Kazakhstan. In recent times more and more details about Kazakh history and culture have been re-discovered, making the country also more and more interesting for domestic and international culture seekers.
The territory of Kazakhstan came to be mastered by man nearly a million years ago. As early as the age of the Lower Paleolithic, ancient man settled down on these Karatau lands fit for normal life, rich with game and wild fruit. It is here that they have found ancient settlements from the Stone Age. By and by, in the centuries of the Middle and Upper Paleolithic, man came to master Central and Eastern Kazakhstan and the Mangyshlak area.
As has been shown by excavations of the Neolithic settlement Botay in Northern Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan constitutes a region of horse domestication (breeding) and that of the formation of nomadic civilizations. Archeologists have revealed dwellings and numerous hand-made articles of stone and ivory which present the ancient history and archeology of Kazakhstan in the Stone age in an altogether new way.
As early as the Bronze Age, some four millennia ago, the territory of Kazakhstan was inhabited by tribes of the so-called Andron and Begazy-Dandybay culture. They were engaged in farming and cattle-breeding, and were fine warriors who handled combat chariots marvelously. To this day we can see images of chariots drawn on rocks where ancient people would arrange their tribal temples and sanctuaries with the firmament as their natural cover. On the surfaces of black cliffs burnt with the sun people would chisel out scenes of dances, images of sun-headed deities, mighty camels and bulls as impersonations of ancient gods.
Burial mounds of noble warriors scattered all throughout Kazakh steppes are known for the magnificent size both of the mounds and burial vaults proper. Particularly famous are such necropolis in the steppes of Sary-Arka and Tagiskent in the Trans-Aral area. People of that epoch were not only fine warriors, shepherds and farmers but also skilled metallurgists. They would take bronze and manufacture axes, knives, daggers and various decorations thereof.
It was they who initiated the development of copper which is being practiced to this day - they are the Zhezkazgan and Sayak copper mines of today. Ancient people lived in large settlements and ancient towns surrounded with walls and towers.
These towns were inhabited by warriors and craftsmen, priests and farmers. These tribes lived on the territory of Kazakhstan for about a thousand years - from the 17 th century B.C. to 9 th -8 th centuries A.D.
Later on they were ousted by the Saks. Such was the name given to this tribe by ancient Persians. The Chinese called them "se" whereas Greeks chose to call them Scythians. They were essentially nomads, semi-nomads and farmers. Yet, first and foremost, they were excellent horsemen. In fact, Saks were the first ever horsemen in the world to master arrow-shooting at full speed.
In the 5 th -2 nd centuries B.C., the Saks set up their first state with its center in the Zhetysu (Semirechje) in South-Eastern Kazakhstan. The kings of the Saks were at the same time high priests. Saks had a written language and a mythology of their own they were known for their well developed art of world standard labeled in research papers as "animal-styled art". Respective subjects were represented by predators and herbivorous animals and the struggle there between. Sheer masterpieces made of gold and bronze serve as worthy exhibits in the best museums of the world. The linguistic situation was just as complicated. As is traditionally believed, in the course of the first millennium B.C., the population of Kazakhstan was mostly represented by native speakers of Indo-European and Indo-Iranian languages. However, of late, they are inclined to think that the tribes of the Bronze Age, particularly those of the Saks, included tribes that spoke proto-Turkic languages.
In the Issyk burial mound which harbored the world-famous "Golden Man" they have found a silver bowl whose bottom bore an inscription consisting 26 characters. They have failed to read it to this day. Some think that the inscription is made in one of the Iranian languages, others insist on its proto-Turkic origin. In any case, this must be the very period that highlighted the formation of the state of mind and the language of medieval and modern Kazakhs, their physiological stereotypes, in fact, of many an element of their culture, everyday life and folk rites.
The middle of the first millennium A.D. is a fairly important stage in the history of all Turks in general and Kazakhs in particular. The period is marked with manifest changes in ethnic media: predominant now become Turkic tribes which chose the Altai as their natural center. Written sources of the 6 th century register the term "Tyurk" which is pronounced as "Tutszyue" by the Chinese and as "Turk" by the Sogdians.
Archeological studies of Turkic monuments make it possible to somehow compare "these" Turks with certain Turkic tribal associations. In the Sayano-Altai region they have identified certain archeological cultures which might well be likened to early Kyrgyz, early Kypchaks or early Oguzes. In the course of not infrequent internecine wars, tribal discord, and struggles for power and pasture, a part of the Turkic tribes which inhabited the steppes and valleys of Kazakhstan moved southwards - to Central Asia (say, Tyurgeshes, Karluks, Kypchaks, Uzbeks, Oguz, and Turkmens-Seldzhuks), to Asia Minor, to the Caucasus (Turkmen and Seldzhuks), and to Eastern Europe (Kangars and Pechenegs, Kypchaks-and-Polovtsians, Torks-and-Oguz, black Klobuks and Karakalpakians).
Starting from the 4 th century up to the beginning of the 13 th century, the territory of Kazakhstan was the seat of West-Turkic, Tyurgesh, Karluk Kaganates, of the state made by the Oguz, Karakhanides, Kimeks and Kypchaks. All of them successively replaced one another right up to the Mongol invasion. After the invasion, i.e. in the beginning of the 13 th century, uluses of the Mongol Empire of Zhuchi-Khan and Zhagatai were formed, which later gave birth to Ak-Orda, Mongolistan and finally to the Kazakh Khanate.
Essentially all these states were mixed economies. Tribes of cattle-breeders had farming tribes as their neighbors, and steppes and cities supplemented each other. Such cities as Taraz, Otrar, Ispijab, and Talkhir were set up right in the middle of the Great Silk Road, which served as a reliable link joining antiquity and the Middle Ages, the West and the East: Japan, Korea and China with Central Asia, Iran, the State of the Seldzhuks, Rus, Byzantium, France and Italy.
It is through the Great Silk Road that dancing arts, painting, architecture and music made their way from one people to another. Incidentally, it was the way along which various religions advanced: Manichaeism and Buddhism, Christianity and Islam, with the latter becoming predominant (starting from the 8 th century) and subsequently the solitary faith of the Kazakhs. In the late 14 th -early 15 th century, on the banks of the Syrdaria River in the city of Turkestan, they erected a religious sacred place worshipped by all Turkic-speaking nations - the complex of Khodja Akhmed Yasavi.
The nation that inhabited the territory of Kazakhstan would avidly absorb and assimilate all the ideas and achievements of various civilizations, making - in its turn - its own contribution to the treasury of world culture, be it economy or handicraft or music: among numerous accomplishments one may name the mobile dwelling "yurta", saddles and stirrups for horses, combat arts on horse-back, carpet ornaments and silver jewelry, sweet melodies and music reminding one of the impetuous gallop of steppe horses.
All these factors have determined the integrity and continuity of the ancient and medieval history of Kazakhstan.
Culture of Kazakhstan
The Kazakh people are rich in traditions. From birth through old age and death, every step of their lives has historically been marked with celebration. Even their funeral ceremonies have their own special symbolism.
Unfortunately, many rich and interesting traditions and customs of the Kazakh people have been forgotten throughout the past century. Real sovereignty is just now being reestablished in Kazakhstan due to the process of democratization. These abandoned traditions are just now being rediscovered by the Kazakh people. These traditions include being respectful to old people being patriotic to the motherland being honest and learning to love mankind.
Traditionally every guest is offered Kazakh cuisine at the dastarkhan (the low table) in a yurt.
The yurt is one of the most sensible types of movable house. It is a comfortable and practical home, ideally suited to local conditions and ways of life - one of the greatest inventions of the Eurasian nomads.
It is easily taken apart (it is said that a Kazakh woman can do it in half an hour) and carried by horses and camels. The yurt consists of three main elements: an extensible trellis base(the kerege), a dome made of poles (the uyk) and a round top(the shanyrak).
In ancient times Turks were reputed as the most skillful felt-makers. These days the Kazakhs use felt to cover the yurt and for its internal decoration, as well as to make carpets, dresses and shoes. The Kazakhs live surrounded by& ornaments. They richly decorate their yurts with wall carpets and multi-colored embroideries.
Handicrafts - harnesses, felt mats (tekemets), and articles made of wood, bone and metal - are lavishly decorated. Headdresses, dresses, bags and saddle-cloths are beautifully embroidered. They use traditional designs and carvings to make and decorate the wooden cups, large bowls and ladles used to serve kumis (fermented mare's milk).
The horns of mountain rams and goats are used to decorate beds and caskets. Leather is used to make quivers, belts, harnesses and flasks (torsyks) for water and kumis. Kazakh artisans are also very skillful jewelers.
Steppe zergers(jewelers) favor white silver. Traditional Kazakh bell-shaped earrings, original bracelets (blezics), or the traditional bracelet linked to three rings with fine chains will certainly impress you.
Kazakh national dress varies by regions. Men wear chapans, a kind of dressing gown with a belt, made of velvet and richly embroidered. They cover their heads with a soft skullcap (tobetai), a tall felt cap (kalpak) or a fox-fur hat with earflaps (malakai).
The women's national costume consists of a white cotton or colored silk dress, a velvet waistcoat with embroidery and a cap or a silk scarf. Elderly women wear a hood made of white cloth with a hole for the face (the kimeshek). Brides wear a tall pointed, richly decorated hat, topped with feathers (saukele).
Music And Musical Instruments
Kazakh music and musical instruments: The Kazakhs love the art of wordplay and their akyns (poets), who improvise at public competitions (aitys) accompanied by Kazakh stringed musical instruments: the dombra or the kobyz.
Nauryz (Islamic New Year) is one of the biggest holidays in Central Asia. In Kazakhstan it is celebrated on the day of the spring equinox, March 22. On that day, the streets of villages and towns are transformed. Guests are hosted in beautiful yurts with the traditional Nauryz kozhe dish made of seven traditional ingredients. People respecting this nearly month-long holiday forgive each others' debts and offences.
National games: these are usually performed on horseback and are an opportunity to witness the Kazakhs' outstanding riding skills. Kazaksha kures (Kazakh wrestling), baiga (horse racing over 25, 50 or 100 km), kokpar (a sort of polo game played with a dead goat), kyz-kuu (catch the girl) and alty bakan (six-pole swing).