Get to know Kazakhstan

  • Published on:  7/18/2015
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    In this brief video you can find seven little known facts about Kazakhstan. If you ask yourself where is Kazakhstan, it is a Eurasian country, with much of its land on the Asian continent. It used to be part of the USSR, but today it’s becoming a booming oil based economy.The capital of Kazakhstan is Astana, but Almaty used to hold that title before 1997.

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    1. Astana is one of the world’s newest and most futuristic capital cities. Astana literally means ‘capital city’ in Kazakh. And the capital is the second coldest capital city on earth, with temperatures dipping to -40 Celsius in the winter.

    2. Kazakhstani people celebrate three New Year’s Eves. Two official ones, which are the 1 January by the Gregorian Calendar and the 22 March, "Nauryz" – the spring equinox or renewal of nature and 14th of January by the Julian Calendar is the legacy of the Soviet times. This day is called "the Old New Year". Old or new, they celebrate three times a year.

    3. It is the largest landlocked country in the world, stretching from Siberia to the desserts of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and from China to the Caspian Sea. It is so large that distance from one end to another is about the same as London Istanbul route. Here one can find practically all climatic zones: from the torrid deserts through steppe and forest to eternal snows of the mountain heights reaching beyond the clouds.

    4. The metro in Almaty (former capital until 1997) took 23 years to build and opened in December 2011. This is not because construction was slow, but because funding problems happened after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. But it is finally open and expansion is constantly taking place.

    5. Fifty years ago the Aral Sea was the world's fourth inland sea, after the Caspian Sea, Lake Superior and Lake Victoria. It started shrinking due to Soviet irrigation projects, its surface area declining by more than 50 percent, to 30,000 square km from 67,000 square km, between 1960 and 1996.

    6. Kazakhstan is unique in that its people, the Kazakhs, did not form the majority of the population upon independence in 1991. Currently the northern part of the country is populated mostly with Ukrainian and Russian majorities while Kazakhs are more prevalent in the south.

    7. Located in Kazakhstan, Lake Balkhash is the 12th largest lake in the world, but that characteristic is hardly what makes it interesting. This lake is bizarre because the western part of the lake consists of freshwater and the eastern half is saltwater. Balkhash maintains this unlikely balance in part because the two halves are joined by a narrow straight that is 3.5 kilometers wide and six meters deep.

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