Home | Countries | Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan, officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a country in Central Asia,

with a minor part west of the Ural River and thus in Europe.

Emblem

Posts about Kazakhstan


Page development is in process.  If you are a citizen of this country and would like to help develop the Country Page to show your national pride, please refer to the instructions identified in the Country Page guidelines posted here.

Meniñ Qazaqstanım -National Anthem of Kazakhstan

 

The territory of Kazakhstan has historically been inhabited by nomadic tribes. This changed in the 13th century, when Genghis Khan occupied the country as part of the Mongolian Empire. Following internal struggles among the conquerors, power eventually reverted to the nomads. By the 16th century, the Kazakh emerged as a distinct group, divided into three jüz (ancestor branches occupying specific territories). The Russians began advancing into the Kazakh steppe in the 18th century, and by the mid-19th century, they nominally ruled all of Kazakhstan as part of the Russian Empire. Following the 1917 Russian Revolution and subsequent civil war, the territory of Kazakhstan was reorganized several times. In 1936 it was made the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, considered an integral part of the Soviet Union.

Kazakhstan was the last of the Soviet republics to declare independence following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. The current President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, has been leader of the country since then, and is characterized as authoritarian, with a government history of human rights abuses and suppression of political opposition.[10] Kazakhstan has worked to develop its economy, especially its dominant hydrocarbon industry. Human Rights Watch says that "Kazakhstan heavily restricts freedom of assembly, speech, and religion and other human rights organizations regularly describe Kazakhstan's human rights situation as poor.

Kazakhstan is populated by 131 ethnicities, including Kazakhs (who make up 63 percent of the population), Russians, Uzbeks, Ukrainians, Germans, Tatars, and Uyghurs. Islam is the religion of about 70% of the population, with Christianity practiced by 26% Kazakhstan officially allows freedom of religion, but religious leaders who oppose the government are suppressed.


History

Kazakhstan has been inhabited since the Neolithic Age: the region's climate and terrain are best suited for nomads practicing pastoralism. Archaeologists believe that humans first domesticated the horse in the region's vast steppes. Central Asia was originally inhabited by the Scythians

Kazakh Khanate

The Cuman entered the steppes of modern-day Kazakhstan around the early 11th century, where they later joined with the Kipchak and established the vast Cuman-Kipchak confederation. While ancient cities Taraz (Aulie-Ata) and Hazrat-e Turkestan had long served as important way-stations along the Silk Road connecting Asia and Europe, true political consolidation began only with the Mongol invasion of the early 13th century. Under the Mongol Empire, the largest in world history, administrative districts were established. These eventually came under the rule of the emergent Kazakh Khanate (Kazakhstan).

Artistic depiction of medieval Taraz situated along the Silk Road

Artistic depiction of medieval Taraz situated along the Silk Road

Throughout this period, traditional nomadic life and a livestock-based economy continued to dominate the steppe. In the 15th century, a distinct Kazakh identity began to emerge among the Turkic tribes, a process which was consolidated by the mid-16th century with the appearance of the Kazakh language, culture, and economy.

Nevertheless, the region was the focus of ever-increasing disputes between the native Kazakh emirs and the neighbouring Persian-speaking peoples to the south. At its height the Khanate would rule parts of Central Asia and control Cumania. The Kazakhs nomads would raid people of Russian territory for slaves until the Russian conquest of Kazakhstan. By the early 17th century, the Kazakh Khanate was struggling with the impact of tribal rivalries, which had effectively divided the population into the Great, Middle and Little (or Small) hordes (jüz). Political disunion, tribal rivalries, and the diminishing importance of overland trade routes between East and West weakened the Kazakh Khanate. Khiva Khanate used this opportunity and annexed Mangyshlak Peninsula. Uzbek rule there lasted two centuries until the Russian arrival.

During the 17th century, Kazakhs fought Oirats, a federation of western Mongol tribes, including the Dzungar. The beginning of the 18th century marked the zenith of the Kazakh Khanate. During this period the Little Horde participated in the 1723–1730 war against the Dzungar, following their "Great Disaster" invasion of Kazakh territories. Under the leadership of Abul Khair Khan, the Kazakh won major victories over the Dzungar at the Bulanty River in 1726, and at the Battle of Anrakay in 1729. Ablai Khanparticipated in the most significant battles against the Dzungar from the 1720s to the 1750s, for which he was declared a "batyr" ("hero") by the people. The Kazakh suffered from the frequent raids against them by the Volga Kalmyk. The Kokand Khanate used the weakness of Kazakh jüzs after Dzungar and Kalmyk raids and conquered present Southeastern Kazakhstan, including Almaty, the formal capital in the first quarter of the 19th century. Also, the Emirate of Bukhara ruled Shymkent before the Russians took dominance.

Ablai Khan served as khan of the Middle jüz from 1771 to 1781

Ablai Khan served as khan of the Middle jüz from 1771 to 1781

Soviet Union
 Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic

Although there was a brief period of autonomy (Alash Autonomy) during the tumultuous period following the collapse of the Russian Empire, the Kazakhs eventually succumbed to Soviet rule. In 1920, the area of present-day Kazakhstan became an autonomous republic within the Soviet Union.

Soviet repression of the traditional elite, along with forced collectivization in the late 1920s–1930s, brought famine and high fatalities, leading to unrest. (see also: Famine in Kazakhstan of 1932–33). The Kazakh population declined by 38% due to starvation and mass emigration. Estimates today suggest that the population of Kazakhstan would be closer to 28–35 million if there had been no starvation or emigration of the Kazakh. During the 1930s, many renowned Kazakh writers, thinkers, poets, politicians and historians were killed on Stalin's orders, both as part of the Great Purge and as a methodical pattern of suppressing Kazakh identity and culture. Soviet rule took hold, and a Communist apparatus steadily worked to fully integrate Kazakhstan into the Soviet system. In 1936 Kazakhstan became a Soviet republic. Millions of political prisoners and undesired ethnic groups were internally exiled to Kazakhstan from other parts of the Soviet Union during the 1930s and 1940s; many of the deportation victims were deported to Siberia or Kazakhstan merely due to their ethnic heritage or beliefs. For example, after the German invasion in June 1941, the Soviets swept the area and transported approximately 400,000 Volga Germans from Western Russia to Kazakhstan.

Young Pioneers at a Young Pioneer camp in Kazakh SSR

Young Pioneers at a Young Pioneer camp in Kazakh SSR

Deportees were interned in some of the biggest Soviet labor camps of the system, including ALZHIR camp outside Astana, which was reserved for the wives of men considered "enemies of the people. Many moved due to the policy of population transfer in the Soviet Union and others were forced into involuntary settlements in the Soviet Union. The Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic contributed five national divisions to the Soviet Union's World War II effort. In 1947, two years after the end of the war, the USSR founded its Semipalatinsk Test Site, the main national nuclear weapon test site, near the city of Semey.

World War II led to an increase in industrialization and mineral extraction in support of the war effort. At the time of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin's death, however, Kazakhstan still had an overwhelmingly agriculturally based economy. In 1953, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev initiated the ambitious "Virgin Lands" program to turn the traditional pasture lands of Kazakhstan into a major grain-producing region for the Soviet Union. The Virgin Lands policy brought mixed results. However, along with later modernizations under Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, it accelerated the development of the agricultural sector, which remains the source of livelihood for a large percentage of Kazakhstan's population. Because of the decades of privation, war and resettlement, by 1959 the Kazakh were a minority in the country, making up 30% of the population. Ethnic Russians accounted for 43%.

Finally in the late 20th century, growing tensions within Soviet society led to a demand for political and economic reforms, which came to a head in the 1980s. A factor that contributed strongly to this was Lavrentii Beria's decision to test a nuclear bomb on the territory of Kazakh SSR in Semey in 1949. This had catastrophic ecological and biological consequences that were felt generations later, and Kazakh anger toward the Soviet system escalated.

In December 1986, mass demonstrations by young ethnic Kazakhs, later called the Jeltoqsan riot, took place in Almaty to protest the replacement of the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Kazakh SSR Dinmukhamed Konayev with Gennady Kolbin from the Russian SFSR. Governmental troops suppressed the unrest, several people were killed, and many demonstrators were jailed. In the waning days of Soviet rule, discontent continued to grow and found expression under Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's policy of glasnost.

Independence

On 16 December 1991, Kazakhstan became the last Soviet republic to declare independence. Its communist-era leader, Nursultan Nazarbayev, became the country's first President, a position he has since retained.

Monument of Independence, Republic Square, Almaty

Monument of Independence, Republic Square, Almaty

Kazakhstan declared its sovereignty as a republic within the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in October 1990. Following the August 1991 aborted coup attempt in Moscow and the subsequent dissolution of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan declared independence on 16 December 1991. Nazarbayev has ruled in an authoritarian manner, which many believed[weasel words] needed in the first years of independence. Emphasis was on converting to a market economy. Political reforms have lagged behind achievements in the economy. By 2006 Kazakhstan generated 60% of the GDP of Central Asia, primarily through its oil industry.[10]

The government moved the capital in 1997, from Almaty, established under the Soviet Union and now Kazakhstan's largest city, to Astana.

Home » Festivals and events calendar » Kazakhstan festivals and events


Kazakhstan festivals and events

A reflection of country's unique ethnic and religious composition can be found in most of the festivals in Kazakhstan. The customs of the nomadic people and the Middle Eastern influences can be easily recognized while enjoying the traditional festivals of the country.

The people of Kazakhstan get energized to celebrate their national, traditional holidays and special occasions. They wear traditional Kazakh clothes and enjoy holidays with games, horseracing, singing, dancing and much more.

National Holidays:

New Year - 1st January:

The Christmas and New Year, both are celebrated in Kazakhstan with gifts and fireworks similar to western style.

Constitution Day - 28 Jan:

The constitution day commemorates the foundation of the Constitution of the Kazakhstan Republic. Street festivals, parades and the fireworks can be enjoyed at this day.

 

St. Valentine's Day - 14th February:

On this day, people exchange the gifts and cards to express their love and care about each other. Mostly the youngsters take more interest to rejoice this day.

Men's Day - Feb 23:

Previously, Feb 23 was celebrated as the official Soviet Army Day in the Soviet Union. Now it is famous as Men’s day and they usually receive the gifts from women.

International Women's day - 8 March:

8 March is celebrated as the International Women's day in all around the world. Kazakh women also receive flowers and gifts on this day.

Nauryz - 22 March: 22 March is s Asian "New Year" day. On this day, street festivals and the family celebrations are organized in big cities.

 

Victory day - 9 May:

Military parades and other events are organized to memorialize the Soviet Union victory over Germany in 2nd world war.

Capital City Day - July 6:

Republic Day - 25 October:

The day is celebrated with street festivals and other several events in all over the country

Independence Day - 16 December:

16 December is the most important day in the events calendar in Kazakhstan. It commemorates independence from Soviet Union through street festivals, parades and fireworks.

 Religious festivals:

Along with the national holidays, some religious festivals are also celebrated throughout the country. The dates of Muslim festival vary every year according to local sightings of various phases of the moon.

Uraza (Ramadan):

Ramadan is wellknown as a month of daytime fasting and practiced by the Muslims in all over the country

Kurban:

The end of a month of daytime fasting i.e. Ramadan is celebrated by the feast. On this day, big feasts and celebrations are organized by the Muslim people.

Russian Orthodox Easter:

The second Sunday in April brings the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. Special bread known as “Kulich” is baked for this festival

Languages

The Kazakh language is the state language, and Russian has equal official status for all levels of administrative and institutional purposes, reflecting the long history of Russian dominance in the region.

Kazakhstan food and national meals

First of all the guest of Kazakhstan family regaled with kumiss (the drink based on mare milk), shubat or airan, next meal was tea with milk or cream, baursaks, raisins, irimshik, kurt. Then the guest was tasting horse-flesh or mutton snacks - kazi, shuzhuk, zhal, zhaya, sur-et, karta, kabirga. Wheat flour cookies were very common too.

Kumiss

 

The main meal of every dastarkhan and one of the most delicious for Kazakh people was Kazakh style cooked meat. Boiled meat was served in large uncut pieces. The host was cutting the meat himself and treat every guest: pelvic bones and shank for honourable old people, brisket for son-in-law or daughter-in-law, neck-bone for girls and so on.

The most honorable guest received particular method cooked head of the ram. The guest should part the head between people around the dastarkhan obeying to ancient ritual showing respectful attitude to guests, old people, kids, near and far relations.

The delicious aromatic meat was eaten with thin boiled pieces of pastry. Excellent addition to this dish was rich flavoured meat bouillon - sorpa, served in phials. Kumiss and tea were the last dishes of the meal.

 

 

Besbarmak

 

 

 

Kazi, Karta, Shuzhuk

 

But still the most popular Kazakhstan national foodstuff is meat. From olden times Kazakh cookery was special due to its original technology. Some features of Kazakh people living left a mark on Kazakh style of food cooking. The traditional national Kazakhstan cookery is based on boiling. Exactly boiling helps to cook meat with a lot of delicate tastes, gives it softness and aroma.

Kazakh people placed high emphasis on long-term storage of foodstuff. A huge part of meat was prepared for future use being salted, dried. Delicatessen was cooked mainly from horse meat - kazi, shuzhuk, zhal, zhaya, karta and others.

Milk and milk products were widely spread. The preference was for the sour milk products because it was easier to save it during nomadic life. Bread was usually made like cookies. The most popular baked dish is  baursaki.

 

Baursaki

The ancient plates and dishes were made from leather, wood, ceramics. Every family had cast-iron           cauldron (kazan) for cooking. The tea was boiled in cast-iron jugs, later in samovars.

                                              
Palau

 
Manti

 

Interesting places

Kazakhstan is very beautiful and diverse country which has a lot of tourist attractions. But due to its huge territory (Kazakhstan is the 9th largest country in the world) it is almost impossible for ordinary tourist to see all places of interest in one trip. So if you have just limited time for a trip to Kazakhstan here are five places which are a must of the country and will make you to fall in love with Kazakhstan for the rest of your live.

 The city of Astana
Astana is the capital and the second-largest city of Kazakhstan. It is the most modern, beautiful and unusual city of the country. Founded in 1830 it changed names several times as Akmolinsk, Tselinograd, Akmola. However, in 1997 the capital was moved here, and in 1998 this city received a new name - Astana (the capital in Kazakh language). Since becoming the capital, Astana has attracted billions of dollars and undergone tremendous growth. A hundreds of modern buildings, new parks, roads, fountains, monuments, cultural, sports and entertainment facilities, restaurants and world-renowned hotels were build here. As a result, the city acquired a completely new, futuristic and unique look, which has nothing common with the old Soviet provincial Tselinograd. The best time to visit the city is from May to September since it has an extreme continental climate with warm summers and long, very cold, dry winters when the temperature can fall down to – 40 decrees.

 

The city of Almaty
The former capital Almaty is still the largest city and the major commercial and cultural centre in Kazakhstan, as well as its largest population center. It is one of the greenest cities of Kazakhstan with spectacular mountain backdrop. It a perfect destination for winter sports lovers since skating, skiing, snowboarding, ski jumping are very popular here. And for those who admire nature there is a lot of wonderful landscapes several hours drive from the city. Tourists who prefer calmer pastime can visit numerous museums, temples, theaters or pack a picnic in one of the numerous parks of the city.

 

The city of Baikonur and Baikonur Cosmodrome
Baikonur is a home city of the world's first and largest operational space launch facility located in the desert steppe of Kazakhstan. Baikonur Cosmodrome is the site of many spacefaring feats like the first operational intercontinental ballistic missile, the launch of Sputnik and the launch of the first manned orbital flight by Yuri Gagarin, first dog in space, “Leica,” and first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova.

When Kazakhstan was part of the Soviet Union, Baikonur was closed to all visitors unless they were first cleared by the Soviet security services. Now however, the city and the cosmodrome have become prime tourist attractions. Tourists with a very large checkbook can purchase a seat into space. However, you may still need special permission to access the cosmodrome, so check with a tourism office.

 

Lake Balkhash
Lake Balkhash is one of the largest lakes in Asia. Nature of Balkhash is amazing and full of contrasts. The lake is divided by a strait into two distinct parts. The western part is fresh water, while the eastern half is saline. Beach tourism and water sports such as sailing, rowing, canoeing and sport fishing are very popular at the lake. One of the natural attractions of the region is the mountain chain Bectauata decorated with a variety of cliffs and canyons – beautiful place of Northern Balkhash. Mountainside Bekctauata formed cave "Auliye" with fresh water, which is considered holy, and the water is healing. The lake and its coasts have a rich flora and fauna with lot of species of fish, birds and plants many of which are in the Red Book.

 

Burabay (Borovoye) resort.
Burabay National Nature Park is one of the most unique and beautiful places in Kazakhstan. It is located not far from the capital, Astana and is often called “Kazakhstan’s Alps” due to its beautiful landscape. Magnificent mountains, blue lakes, pine woods, larch forests and a number of rivers, springs combined here and created unique view completely different from the rest of Kazakhstan. Burabay (Borovoye) resort with a number of sanatoriums and health centers available all year around is one of the most visited destinations for domestic tourists.

 

Some useful phrases

Kazakh:                                                                         English

Sienin atyn kum?                                                                                   (what is your name?)

Mienin atym...                                                                                        (my name is...)

Mien Anglyiadan keldim                                                                         (I'm from England)

Mien Americadan keldim                                                                        (I'm from America)

Salem (alykum)                                                                                      (hello)

Kierly tan                                                                                                (good morning)

Kierly toon                                                                                              (good night)

Kierly kesh                                                                                             (good afternoon/evening)

Aspolsyn                                                                                                (enjoy your meal)

aman sau bolyak                                                                                   (thank you for the meal)

Kalaisyn?                                                                                               (How are you?)

Zhaksa                                                                                                  (Good)

Saubol (goodbye)                                                                                 (Saubols is used for respect ie. to someone senior/older)