Kazakhstan – The Land Of Wonders

Kazakhstan – The Land Of Wonders

Nestled in the heart of Eurasia, Kazakhstan unfolds as the world’s 9th largest country, showcasing a diverse tapestry of wonders. Its landscapes, sculpted by towering mountains and serene lakes, beckon exploration. Enchanting visitors with a rich history and unique culture, Kazakhstan’s allure deepens amid a surge in tourism, narrating its captivating story to the world.

By H.E. Dr. Nawab Mir Nasir Ali Khan, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Kazakhstan for Telangana and Andhra Pradesh

Kazakhstan stands out as an exceptional region globally, owing to its distinctive history, geographical location, and vast size. Ranking as the world’s 9th largest country and strategically situated in the heart of Eurasia, it holds the title of the largest landlocked nation on Earth. These geographical attributes contribute to Kazakhstan’s unique climate and diverse natural landscape, encapsulating the most remarkable features from both continents. Furthermore, the intricate history of the Kazakh people, coupled with the ongoing interplay between nomadic traditions and settled communities in ancient cities of South Kazakhstan, has given rise to a truly unique and authentic Kazakh culture.

“tourists interested in trekking & winter sports can access glorious landscapes directly from Almaty”

Breathtaking National Parks and Reserves

The country is a habitat for about 122 mammal species, 500 bird species, and 107 fish species; in addition, over six thousand species of plants grow in the region. In order to preserve such a rich world of plants and wildlife, a network of national parks and nature reserves was established in the country. Recently, these protected areas have become accessible to visitors. Prominent among tourist attractions are the Aksu-Zhabagly Nature Reserve, renowned as the “Kingdom of Tulips,” also housing snow leopards and various rare animals. Believed to be the origin of tulips, predating their introduction to Holland, the reserve is a captivating destination. Similarly, the Korgalzhyn Nature Reserve is celebrated for its pink flamingos and diverse wildlife, drawing avid bird-watchers to its picturesque landscapes. Altyn-Emel National Park captures interest with the enigmatic Singing Dune, adding an element of mystery to the natural wonders.

Majestic Mountain Ranges

A series of mountain ranges of various sizes – such as the Tien Shan, Altay, Ulytau, and Kazygurt – are naturally beautiful and attract tourists from all over the world. The Tien Shan Mountains are the highest among them (with the highest peak being about 7,500 meters), and Almaty, the largest city of Kazakhstan, is located at its base.

Winter Sports Wonderland

The Small Almaty Valley and Bogdanovich Glacier host some of the most sought-after climbing routes, featuring attractions like the Pogrebetsky Glacier (4,231 meters), Tuyuc Su (4,100 meters), and Ordzhonikidze (3,980 meters), among others. Beyond the allure of climbing, Kazakhstan’s lofty mountains provide an ideal setting for winter sports. Notably, the country’s commitment to promoting winter sports was underscored when it hosted the Asian Winter Games in 2011, showcasing Kazakhstan’s dedication to fostering a vibrant winter sports culture. A unique sport complex Medeu (sometimes spelled as Medew or Medeo), with a skating rink popular among tourists, was built in the 1950s, at 1,691 meters (5,548 feet) above sea level, which makes it the highest skating rink in the world. A state-of-the-art artificial refrigeration system enables it to keep high-quality ice coverage for 8 months of the year. Another major winter sport attraction of Kazakhstan is Shymbulak (Chimbulak) ski resort, also located not far from Almaty. Snow can be found there from November till May; however, sunny weather is also registered there more than three hundred days a year.

Liquid Gems: Kazakhstan’s Lakes and Rivers

Kazakhstan is more than its steppes and mountains; it is also a country of rivers and lakes. A lake among the steppes can be like an oasis among empty deserts. Kazakhstan’s coastline along the largest lake in the world, the Caspian Sea, is perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and fishing. The largest number of reservoirs is concentrated in the southeast part of the country, in the region symbolically named Zhetysu – “Seven Rivers”. Almost all the rivers of Zhetysu belong to the basin of Lake Balkhash, which is also a popular tourist destination for its health centers and recreation camps.

Cultural Odyssey: Kazakhstan’s Living Traditions

Kazakhstan’s unique culture is a reason why many tourists travel to Kazakhstan. In almost every corner of the republic, a visitor interested in the lives of genuine Kazakh people – their traditions, their rituals, their art, and their culture – will find much of interest. This can include museum complexes, ethno villages depicting the traditional lifestyle of Kazakh people, historical sites of medieval cities, and much more. For instance, visitors have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the traditional lifestyle of Kazakhs, savour national dishes, and engage with the local community in Shabanbay Bi Village, nestled in the Kyzylaray Mountains of Central Kazakhstan. Meanwhile, South Kazakhstan boasts ancient cities along the Great Silk Road routes, adorned with historical monuments and other noteworthy sites.

Untapped Tourism Potential

Kazakhstan, the 9th largest country in the world by area, possesses rich natural resources and a huge potential for development of tourism. The variety of natural landscapes, rich culture, multinational and poly-confessional composition of the population makes Kazakhstan a unique corner of our planet.

The tourism industry in Kazakhstan experienced a remarkable surge in the first four months of 2023. From January to April, there was a substantial 36 percent increase in tourist numbers, with over 3.5 million people travelling across the country. The country’s Ministry of Culture and Sport unveiled the top five lists of Kazakhstan’s cities that have emerged as the most popular travel destinations.

Almaty: Southern Metropolis’ Charms

Almaty, the largest city and former capital of Kazakhstan, has claimed the top spot as the most visited destination in the country, based on the data gathered on city attendance since the beginning of the year. Over the course of four months, an impressive 1.1 million people have been drawn to the city’s alluring charms. Foreign tourists, in particular, find themselves captivated by Almaty’s magnificent ski resorts, breathtaking natural landscapes, pleasant climate, and the warm hospitality exuded by its local residents.

Astana: Capital’s Prestigious Status

Securing the second position as one of Kazakhstan’s most popular tourist destinations, Astana has welcomed over 950,000 visitors since the start of the year. One of the key factors contributing to its popularity, as the ministry believes, is the city’s prestigious status as the nation’s capital, making it an essential stop for travelers. In a bid to further attract an influx of tourists, the 412-hectare open-air museum is currently under construction at the Bozok ancient settlement site, located near Astana.

Shymkent: Exceptional Hospitality and Activities

The southern city of Shymkent was included in the list as the third most popular destination, with over 346,000 people visiting the city from January to April. The third most populous city in Kazakhstan, behind Almaty and Astana, Shymkent is renowned for its exceptional local hospitality and a variety of activities and attractions. There is no shortage of things to do in the city, from visiting holy and historic places to enjoying rejuvenating experiences at sanatoriums.

Exploring Atyrau’s Heritage

Attracting over 305,000 visitors in the first four months of 2023, Atyrau claims the fourth spot in the ranking of Kazakhstan’s popular tourist destinations. Renowned as the gateway to the country’s largest oil field, Atyrau often serves as a travel hub for most travelers. However, the city offers a couple of noteworthy museums that are well worth a day’s stopover. History enthusiasts can embark on a half-day trip to explore the remnants of the medieval settlement of Saraichik.

Aktau’s Coastal Beauty

Aktau completes the list of the top five most popular cities in Kazakhstan.
Renowned as the country’s premier beach destination, Aktau holds a well-deserved reputation as the most beautiful city along the Caspian coast. Its picturesque coastal setting attracts numerous visitors, enticed by the opportunity to bask in the sun and take a refreshing dip in the sea. Barbecue aficionados will be tempted by smoke rising from grills all along the shoreline where locals and tourists flock for a delicious bite to eat.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Out of the 1121 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, five are in Kazakhstan, three of which are cultural heritage sites and two are natural heritage sites: • Khoja Ahmed Yasawi mausoleum • Petroglyphs in the archaeological landscape of Tamgala • Silk Roads: Chang’an-Tianshan Corridor Network Natural objects (cross-border property) • Saryarka-Steppe and Lakes of Northern Kazakhstan • West Tian Shan

National Company “Kazakh Tourism” Driving Tourism Development

In order to improve the efficiency of tourism development and involve business structures, the Government created the national company “Kazakh Tourism” JSC. Kazakh Tourism National Company JSC was established in 2017 following numerous successful events held in the country in order to continue promotion of Kazakhstan globally as a travel destination. Kazakh Tourism, as the nation’s tourism brand manager and a subsidiary of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, guarantees a thorough and inclusive approach to positioning the country on both domestic and international fronts.