A giant at the heart of the Central Asia

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The 9th Biggest country of the World.

Kazakhstan is a vast country covering more than 2.7 million sq km with a population of almost 15 million people.


The country spans over 2,600km from its western border with Russia to its eastern flank on the Chinese border. Though only covering one-sixth the area of Russia, Kazakhstan exceeds the territory occupied by twelve countries of the European Union, and is among the tenth largest states in the world.

The territory of the Republic stretches from the low reaches of the Volga in the West to the foothills of the Altai mountains in the East, from West Siberian lowland in the North to the desert of Kyzylkum and the mountain range of Tian Shan in the South.
Extensive rolling plains cover most of its surface, rising in the south-east towards the Central Asian massif and the mountain ranges of the Altai and Tian Shan.

Kazakhstan borders on the Russian Federation (6,467 km) to the north and west, the Caspian Sea (1,450 km), Turkmenistan (380 km) and Uzbekistan (2300 km) to the southwest, Kyrgyzstan (980 km) to the south and China (1,460 km) to the southeast.

Regional differences:

There are distinct regional differences, distinguishing the country's terrain.

  • The western part of the country is almost exclusively plain-like

  • The eastern one is predominantly mountainous.

  • The continental position of Kazakhstan in the center of the Eurasian continent is its distinctive feature, and is reflected in the entire physical and geographical make-up of the territory, its hydro-geography, and its plant and animal life.

    There is considerable topographical variation within Kazakhstan:

    The highest elevation is Khan Tengri Mountain on the Kyrgyz border in the Tian Shan range, is 6,995 meters

    The lowest point is Karagiye in the Caspian Depression in the west, is 132 meters below sea level.

    Only 12.4 percent of Kazakhstan is mountainous, with most of the mountains located in the Altay and Tian Shan ranges of the east and northeast, although the Ural Mountains extend southward from Russia into the northern part of west-central Kazakhstan. Many of the peaks of the Altay and Tian Shan ranges are snow covered year-round, and their run-off is the source for most of Kazakhstan's rivers and streams.

    Kazakhstan's East and Southeast possess extensive watercourses: most of the country's 7,000 streams form part of the inland drainage systems of the Aral and Caspian seas and Lakes Balkhash and Tengiz. The major exceptions are the great Irtysh, Ishim (Esil), and Tobol rivers, which run northwest from the highlands in the southeast and, crossing Russia, ultimately drain into Arctic waters. In the west the major stream, the Ural River, flows into the Caspian Sea. In the south the waters of the once-mighty Syr Darya have, since the late 1970s, scarcely reached the Aral Sea at all. The Caspian Sea, the largest inland body of water in the world, forms Kazakhstan's border for 1,450 miles of its coastline. Other large bodies of water, all in the eastern half of the country, include Lakes Balkhash, Zaysan, Alakol, Tengiz, and Seletytengiz (Siletiteniz). Kazakhstan also wraps around the entire northern half of the shrinking Aral Sea, which underwent terrible decline during the second half of the 20th century: as freshwater inflow was diverted for agriculture, the salinity of the sea increased sharply, and the receding shores became the source of salty dust and polluted deposits that ruined the surrounding lands for animal, plant, or human use.

    Some 9.4 percent of Kazakhstan's land is mixed prairie and forest or treeless prairie, primarily in the north or in the basin of the Ural River in the west. More than three-quarters of the country, including the entire west and most of the south, is either semi-desert (33.2 percent) or desert (44 percent). The terrain in these regions is bare, eroded, broken uplands, with sand dunes in the Kyzylkum ("red sand") and Moin Kum deserts, which occupy south-central Kazakhstan. Most of the country lies at between 200 and 300 meters above sea level, but Kazakhstan's Caspian shore includes some of the lowest elevations on Earth.

    Very fertile soils characterize the lands from far northern Kazakhstan down to the more infertile, alkaline soils of the middle and southern areas. The vast stretches of arable land in the northern plains are the most intensely cultivated and productive. Other cultivated areas fringe the mountains in the south and east; irrigation and reclamation, when feasible, extend along river valleys into the deserts. Nuclear bomb testing conducted during the Soviet period near Semey (Semipalatinsk) contaminated the soils in the vicinity.


    The climate in Kazakhstan is a continental one. The most of its territory is covered with semiarid steppes which in the north change into forest-steppe and in the south to semi-deserts and deserts. To the east and southeast, Kazakhstan is bounded with the edges of the Altai and Tian Shan mountains which moderate the temperature and humidity. In the north, the average temperature in summer reaches 18C (64.4F), and 30C (86F) in the south. In January it varies from minus 20C (-4F) in the north to minus 1C (30.2F) in the south. Around Almaty, winter temperatures are 2C (35.6F) to minus 20C (-4 F) and in summer 20C (68F) TO 38C (104F). The best seasons to visit are late spring and early summer.

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