Central Asia Travel in Kazakhstan
This is a very large country; in fact Kazakhstan is ranked as the ninth largest country in the world in terms of size. Kazakhstan borders China and Russia, and also shares borders with the central Asia countries of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. The country is abundant in natural gas and oil reserves.
The natural scenery is diverse, exhilarating and absolutely gorgeous in Kazakhstan. There are magnificent lakes, as smooth as mirrors, reflecting the wide blue sky and surrounded by stately green trees. You can see majestic mountains, frosted with snow and ice, rising in quiet strength against the azure-blue skies. There are great stretches of steppe regions with a stark beauty all their own.
Ninety per cent of the population speaks Russian, a reflection of the fact that the country was conquered by Russia during the 18th century. The citizens react very favorably, however, if tourists speak even a little Kazakh. The reason for this is that the people are very proud of their national language, even though only fifty per cent of the population speaks it.
Tourists who travel to Central Asia usually enjoy the food and rave about the fresh organic vegetables. Most traditional meals are plentiful with meat, potatoes, pasta and rice. In the local restaurants you will usually order the meat dish you want, and then separately select potatoes, rice, pasta, etc.
Although the population is not particularly religious, pork is rarely eaten in Kazakhstan. Cuisine made elsewhere with pork, such as sausage or dumplings, is made with mutton or beef in Kazakhstan. Another commonly eaten meat here is horsemeat. The national traditional dish of Kazakhstan is Beshbarmak, a dish of pasta, onions, and potatoes with horsemeat, mutton or beef. Kazy is a commonly -eaten horsemeat sausage made by hand.
Beverages available include the usual types found during Central Asia travel, but you may also want to try something more unusual. Kumiss is an alcoholic beverage containing about 6% alcohol, and is made with fermented mare’s milk. Kvas tastes somewhat like root beer, and Kumyran is made with fermented camel’s milk.
The people are friendly to tourists, and many under-twenty year -olds do speak at least some English.
Almaty, located in southern Kazakhstan in the mountainous region, has the distinction of being the major cultural and commercial center of Kazakhstan. It is also the largest city in the country and is the most densely populated. Almaty was the capital city of Kazakhstan until 1997, when the capital was relocated to Astana. However Almaty is considered by many across Central Asia to be the southern capital of the country.
The region is thought to be the ancestral home of the apple, and the ancestor of the modern domestic apple. One reason supporting this assumption is that the name Almaty may be derived from the Kazakh word for apple, anma, and the word alma also means apple in the Hungarian, Mongolian and Turkic languages, all of which populated the region of Central Asia.
During the Bronze Age of 1000 – 900 BC the earliest cattle ranchers and farmers set up settlements in the territory of Almaty. There are many well-known archeological finds in the area, and some of these have given rise to the belief that at one time this city was an educational center.
The weather of Almaty is categorized as a humid continental climate with hot summers and cold winters. There is a strong mountain –to- valley circulation of air affecting the climate, resulting in higher humidly levels. It is not unusual for the city to experience snowfall as late into spring as May.
The people are welcoming, kind and hospitable, as are most of the local people you will encounter during Central Asia travel. In the rural areas the land is like a great untouched, undiscovered country with panoramic views of the vineyards and the snow- topped mountains.
Almaty seeks to continue development and expansion, and to promote its image as a garden city. There are many beautiful multi-story buildings and spectacular office skyscrapers already, and the city continues to grow. In December of 2011 Almaty launched the first line of Almaty Metro, an underground system, two weeks before the scheduled launch. Almaty Metro is the second rapid transit metro system in Central Asia, with the first one being Uzbekistan’s Tashkent Metro.
There are interesting activities and many fine restaurants in Almaty. There are many hotel accommodations, and we at Central Asia Tours make it a point to secure accommodations at the most comfortable hotels available in Central Asia. We screen the hotels for comfort, service, convenience and security.