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FROM THE EDITORIAL BOARD

On behalf of the editorial board of Discovery Kazakhstan magazine, allow me to bid you welcome. You hold in your hands the first number of this publication, which is and will be devoted entirely to leisure tourism in our Republic. ...read more

TOURISM IN KAZAKHSTAN

Kazakhstan has something for every kind of tourist. A rich history and diverse ethnic heritage have left scores of diverse sights of interest for the sightseer; the natural environment offers innumerable opportunities in eco- and sports tourism, the latter including trekking, mountaineering - Kazakhstan being particularly well provided for as far as mountains are concerned - fishing and hunting, the latter already popular with an established clientele who value the diversity of species available and the relatively low cost of such trips. The wealth of religious sites, mostly, but not all, connected with Islam, attract a steady and growing number of visitors. ...read more

KAZAKHSTAN A BRIEF HISTORY

ANCIENT TIMES
The area that is now Kakakhstan seems to have been settled by proto-humans as much as one million years ago. The settlers knew how to light and maintain fire, but that seems to be the extent of their technology. They were hunter-gatherers. Neolithic inhabitants (from around 8,000 BC) developed cattle-breeding, agriculture, mining, weaving and ceramics.

Four thousand years ago the Bronze Age dawned with the invention of bronze on the Eurasian steppe and the replacement by the new alloy of stone tools. Archeological investigation of remains from that period have identified two important cultures: the Andronovo and the Begazy-Dandybai.

...read more

GEOGRAPHY OF KAZAKHSTAN

The total area of the Republic is 2,724,900 sq km (1,049,150 sq miles), making it the ninth largest country in the world, after Russia, China, the USA, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, India and Australia. The territory of Kazakhstan stretches almost 3,000 km from the Volga and the Caspian in the west to the Altai mountains in the east; the distance from the west Siberian plain in the north to the Tien Shan mountains in the south is about 1,700 km. This immense size accommodates a variety of landscapes - mainly forest-steppe, steppe, semi-desert and desert - mostly within the temperate zone. At the same time, this is a land of contrasts: as well as high mountain areas, there are deep depressions.
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NATURE PRESERVES AND NATIONAL PARKS

Kazakhstan's natural environment enjoys state protection of a variety of kinds. The commonest form is status either as a nature reserve or as a national park, but there are other categories, including nature park, arboreal park, reserved area and game reserve. Here I shall describe a few nature reserves and say a few more words about the national parks. ...read more

KAZAKHSTANI CUISINE
The main thing about food in Kazakhstan is that Kazakhstan is a multicultural country, and that its cooking is too. Most Kazakhstani families, regardless of ethnicity, will have heard of dishes from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds, even if they can't cook all of them - indeed it's quite possible that they won't have tried them all either. But nevertheless, the food cooked in Kazakhstan hails from a wide variety of culinary traditions, the main ones being Kazakh, Russian, Korean, Ukrainian, Uzbek, Uighur and German. ...read more
THE KAZAKH YURTA
The yurt - kiyz ui in Kazakh, yurta in Russian - is a movable collapsible dwelling consisting of a wooden framework covered over with felt. It has been used by nomads for centuries, its design remaining basically unchanged throughout that time. It is, however, more than only a dwelling, having associations in the Kazakh mind with powerfully appealing traditions from a distant past, the open spaces of the steppe and mountains, and a generous hospitality it is easy to link with such settings. Perhaps this is why on important social occasions associated either with celebration or mourning, the households concerned erect yurts as a gathering point for guests, even in city centre courtyards. Yurts are also used for regional and national festivals. ...read more
FAST FORWARD ASTANA

Now, play... Astana is very possibly the fastest-changing city in the world, and it's changing for the better. I say that despite a generally sceptical view of life and patriotism and that sort of thing. It's just a fact: if you leave Astana for a month, on your return you see changes that would have taken years in other cities. Everything is new: streets and houses, statues and squares, quays and bridges. ...read more

ZHETYSU - THE LAND OF SEVEN RIVERS AND HUNDRED MOUNTAINS
For centuries the south-eastern part of present-day Kazakhstan has been known as Zhetysu, which means 'seven rivers' in Kazakh (the Russian name, a literal translation, is Semirechye). The reason for the name is - surprise surprise - the numerous rivers large and small that stream down the slopes of the Tien Shan and the Jungar Alatau mountains. ...read more
THINGS TO SEE IN ALMATY

In 1997, Astana became the political capital of Kazakhstan. Almaty, however, retained its economic, financial, scientific and cultural significance, and most people would agree that it remains Kazakhstan's principal city: after all, this is where the vast majority of the Republic's hotels, tour companies, restaurants, museums - and people - are to be found. It's also one of the world's greenest cities - and a wonderful mix of cultures and traditions. Let's consider a few of the most important things to see.
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JUNGAR ALATAU - DESERTED MOUNTAIN BORDERLANDS
The Jungar Alatau, in the south-east of Kazakhstan on the Chinese border, is a range of mountains between the Altai and the principal massifs of the Tien Shan. Some authorities regard it as a part, the northernmost, of the northern Tien Shan; others, persuaded by its remoteness from the Tien Shan, prefer to see it as an independent mountain system. ...read more
THE SILK ROAD HERITAGE IN KAZAKHSTAN
Kazakhstan's heritage epitomises the profound influence wrought by that once hugely significant artery of commercial and diplomatic relations, the Silk Road. Without the diverse settlement and cultural enrichment achieved and sustained by the Silk Road over many centuries, it is unlikely that modern Kazakhstan would be as vibrantly and kaleidoscopically varied as it is. ...read more
SOUTH KAZAKHSTAN - WHERE ANTIQUITY MEETS THE SPACE-AGE

Southern Kazakhstan occupies the territory from the Aral Sea in the west to the Chu valley in the east and from the Betpak-Dala desert in the north to the Shardarinskaya steppe in the south. The region is divided into three oblasts: Kyzylorda oblast, with its capital at Kyzylorda; South Kazakhstan oblast, with its capital at Shymkent; and Zhambyl oblast, whose capital is Taraz....read more

KHODJA AKHMED YASAVI AND TURKESTAN

Of the many places in southern Kazakhstan that have been the object of pilgrimage for Muslims over the centuries, probably the most revered is the mausoleum of Khodja Akhmed Yasavi, the poet, thinker, preacher and head of the Yasaviya sufi order, and the khanaka, or gathering place for members of the order, on the same site. UNESCO has acknowledged the importance of the place: in 2004 the site joined UNESCO's list of world heritage sites. But the man, Akhmed Yasavi, has been revered for centuries: his name is rarely used without its customary honorific, Khazret-Sultan, meaning Sultan of Saints. It and he are known throughout the Muslim world.  ...read more

THE HISTORY OF ANCIENT OTRAR

The ancient settlement at Otrar was first excavated in 1969. Remains were found of a number of brick structures, including a palace, mosques, a bath-house and ovens.
The settlement dates back to the first century AD. It is believed that for a while it formed part of the Kangyui state, when it was called Tarban, or Turaband. First mention of Otrar or Farab (the latter name etymologically Arabic) occurs at the beginning of the ninth century, when the settlement belonged to the town of Ispijab and the Samanid state. There was a mint there. ...read more

CENTRAL KAZAKHSTAN - THE STEPPE KINGDOM

Central Kazakhstan, or Karaganda oblast, comprises the immense central highlands of the Kazakh Melkosopochnik, whose more traditional name, Sary-Arka, has been variously translated as golden steppe, boundless steppe or vast steppe. It stretches from the Turgai hollow and the Priaralskiye Karakums in the west to the Khanshyngys and Akshatau mountain ranges in the east, and from Lake Balkhash and the Betpak-Dala desert in the south to Lake Tengiz and the Yermentau mountains in the north.  ...read more

ARCHEOLOGICAL ROUTES OF SARY-ARKA

From the 12th to the 8th centuries BC central Kazakhstan was an important locus of civilization, the home of a unique late-Bronze Age culture known as Begazy-Dandybai. Remains from this period have been found at a number of sites scattered across the Sary-Arka steppe including Begazy and Dandybai (whence the name for the late-Bronze Age culture), Tegiz-Zhol, Kent, Bugyly, Sanguyr, Aksu-Ayulu, Atasu and others. These and other settlements in the Saryarka steppe constituted at that time one of Eurasia's most important facilities for the mining of copper ore and the production and working of both copper and bronze. The people of the Begazy-Dandybai culture acquired a reputation for their products that spread far beyond the confines of central Kakzkhstan. ...read more

A WALK INTO THE CRAZY MESEUM

It took me a while to decide what to write in this article. What would my readers enjoy? Maybe a short piece about our museum, how it was set up?  ...read more

WEST KAZAKHSTAN - BETWEEN EUROPE AND ASIA

West Kazakhstan lies in the borderlands between Europe and Asia. The Silk Route passes through the re-gion, which was also the site of the first contacts between Russians and Kazakhs. This is a region of contrasts - vast deserts extending all the way to the sea. ...read more

28 METERS BELOW SEA LEVEL

The Caspian Sea blithely defies standard categories and terminology. For a start, its surface is not at sea level, but some 28 meters lower than that of the world's major oceans. Moreover, although - like other seas - it is big and salty, it is in fact a lake, completely isolated as it is from any other body of water. But it appears it was called a sea by the ancient peoples living on its shores, who variously named it the South Sea, the Girkanks Sea, the Khvalinsk Sea or the Khazar Sea. Its current name comes from the Kaspii tribe, which lived alongside it on what is now its Azeri shore some centuries before Christ.  ...read more

ANY SEASON IS FISHING SEASON

A while back now, 2003, the fates decreed that I should pop over to Atirau, on the Caspian, in Western Kazakhstan. Business trip. I stayed for five years.  ...read more

COPPERPOLISH IN THE STEPPE

I'm already in Kazakhstan, and the first city I come to, Uralsk, is my first stop, where I can enjoy the luxury of a hotel, a supermarket and some restaurants. Outside Uralsk I am confronted with a hard fact: Shymkent is the next city on my route, distance 2005 km. There's a sign that says 'Good luck!'. I soon find out that, luckily, there isn't much traffic. ...read more

NORTH KAZAKHSTAN - THE LAKE COUNTRY

North Kazakhstan is a vast territory, probably best known for its myriad lakes and a number of mountain resorts, has been a popular tourist destination both for Kazakhstanis and for Russians for many years. ...read more

LEGENDS OF BOROVOYE

I should think quite a lot of our visitors - our dear visitors - to Akmola oblast have been dragged along, possibly kicking and screaming, to the resort at Borovoye (Burobai in Kazakh). But they don't mind in the end. After all, it has everything. Everything to please the mind, the heart and the eye.  ...read more

EAST KAZAKHSTAN, CRADLE OF THE TURKIC NATIONS

East Kazakhstan lies at the very heart of Eurasia, bounded by the southern edge of the Kulundinskaya plain and the Rudnyi Altai mountains in the north, the Alakol depression and the Tarbagatai range in the south, the eastern fringes of the Kazakh Melkosopochnik in the west, and the southern Altai and the Saur range in the east. Its capital is Ust-Kamenogorsk, rivalled only by the city of Semey, a major economic and cultural centre once the capital of the then Semipalatinsk oblast.  ...read more

MOUNT BELUKHA - THE HEART OF ALTAI

The Altai Mountains and their highest peak, , have been attracting travellers from all over the world for many years. Some people come to seek the gateway to the legendary home of the of gods, Shambala; some Old Believers hold that this is the site of Belovodye; there are those who say that Buddha himself came here on a pilgrimage; still others who hold that this is where the Turkic goddess Umai has her home. ...read more

Discovery Kazakhstan
Travel guide#1/2008

Discovery Kyrgyzstan Travel guide #10/2008

 

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