Sandwiched between Russia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and China, it truly is the heart of Central Asia. And whether you’re planning to visit for the rich cultural heritage, the plethora of sweeping landscapes or just to get off the beaten path, these interesting facts about Kazakhstan are sure to give you a better insight during your travels.
7 of the Most Interesting Facts About Kazakhstan
1. It has the longest border in the world
Spanning more than 7,500 kilometres, Kazakhstan’s border with Russia is the longest continual border in the world. Moreover, it’s the second longest by total length trailing after the Canada-United States border coming in at 8,891 kilometres. to put that into perspective from Paris to Petra is just a smidge over 4,500 kilometres.
2. Kazakhstan is extremely ethnically diverse
When it comes to ethnic diversity, Kazakhstan is nowhere near lacking. In fact, Kazakhstan is home to a whopping 120 ethnic groups and nationalities. Following the Kazakhs, the largest ethnic groups are made up of Russians, Ukrainians and Uzbeks.
3. Kazakhstan is the largest landlocked country in the world
This may not seem like a huge deal, but when you consider the sheer size of Kazakhstan, it is. Kazakhstan is the 9th largest country in the world and the largest country in the world without access to ocean. The main water resources for the nation are sourced from glaciers, lakes and reservoirs.
4. The name “Kazakhstan” is significant
The name Kazakh translates to wanderer or independent. This speaks to the nation’s ancient history as nomads and the deep-rooted spirit of independence in Kazakh culture. When directly translated, Kazakhstan literally means Land of Wanderers.
5. It’s home to one of the largest lakes in the world
Lake Balkhash holds the title for the 15th largest lake in the world and one of the largest in all of Asia. Sprawling across 16,400 square kilometres, it’s sheer size is breathtaking. However, what really makes it unique is its natural phenomenon within the waters. In the west, the lake is fresh water, and in the east, saltwater.
6. It boasts five UNESCO sites
For a country the size of Kazakhstan, it has a surprisingly low number of UNESCO sites. However, the ones that it does have are simply breathtaking. Among the five are three cultural and two natural sites. From the Petroglyphs of Tamgaly to the pristine lakes of Saryarka, the diversity between cultural and natural UNESCO sites speak to the abundance of landscape and historical beauty across the country.
7. Kazakhstan’s national drink is horse milk
Kumis, a fermented horse milk, is native to Kazakhstan and is the national drink. It’s considered to have a light body with a slighty sour alcohol taste. It is typically enjoyed as both food and a drink as well.