Kazakhstan: the heart of Eurasian steppe

Heewon Jang | Live the World

November 23, 2022

The Republic of Kazakhstan is located in the heart of Eurasian steppe, where East meets West and occupies the ninth place in the world by area. For many people, Kazakhstan is still associated with steppes and nomadic way of life. Speaking about this country today, we better leave these associations in the 20th century. Of course, sometimes it’s possible to meet the nomads (obviously not in the cities), but this is not the same country as it was some hundred years ago.  

Picture © Credits to Heewon Jang

The nature of Kazakhstan is rich and famous not only for endless steppes but also for scenic landscapes: majestic mountains, numerous lakes and rivers, thermal springs, ancient cities, and archaeological monuments. Evidently, it’s impossible for a tourist to see it all during one trip only,  so here are some places that you should visit first: 

1. Charyn Canyon in the Almaty region is the second largest canyon in the world, after the Great Canyon in the US. On the territory of Charyn Canyon, you can find bungalows, national yurts (portable round tent) and summer cafes. The best time to visit this amazing place is spring when the weather is sunny but not too hot.

2. Medeu - the highest mountain skating rink in the world. This rink has seen 123 world sporting achievements. Its ice is considered to be the fastest for skating, and the secret of its uniqueness is clear mountain water. One more reason to see it - it’s only 20 mins away from the city of Almaty.

3. The singing barchan (dunes) - the mountain of sand that is located in National park Altyn-Emel. When the wind starts, the mountain starts to “sing”. Sometimes it turns into a howl, a scream that is heard for several kilometers. It can also change the tone and sound intensity depending on the weather. An interesting fact is that the sand dune, contrary to nature, doesn’t move and always stays in the same place.

Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, is considered to be the youngest capital in the world, since 1998 when it was moved from Almaty. The word Astana in Kazakh means “the capital”. The appearance and atmosphere of this city represent Kazakhstan’s aspirations for the future: modern and bright city with extraordinary architectural projects. The most famous sights of Astana are located in the center of the city: Baiterek (a monument that represents the idea of the Kazakh people about the universe) and the Palace (also known as a pyramid) of Peace and Reconciliation, designed by the world-known British architect Norman Foster.

Picture © Credits to Wikipedia/Ken and Nyetta

About 130 nationalities and ethnic groups live together in the heart of Eurasian steppe. Kazakhstan supports the trilingualism: Kazakh is the state language, Russian is the language of communication, English is the language for the integration into the global economy. Friendship and tolerance for Kazakh people are not just empty words. We learn to understand, appreciate and respect every member of the society, regardless of the ethnicity.

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