Markakol Lake, East Kazakhstan http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Markakol_2.jpg Dmitry A. Mottl
Kazakhstan (Қазақстан) is a transcontinental country straddling Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Without counting its coastline with the Caspian Sea, Kazakhstan is regarded as the world's largest landlocked country. Covering 2,724,900 sq km (1,052,085 sq mi), it is also the ninth largest country in the world and is bigger than the whole of Western Europe.
Due to its large size, Kazakhstan borders many other countries. Clockwise from the north, they are Russia, China and Kyrgyzstan to the southeast, Uzbekistan to the south, and Turkmenistan to the southwest. Kazakhstan has a population of 16.5 million people. Its capital is Astana while its largest city is Almaty.
Kazakhstan Central Concert Hall in Astana, Kazakhstan http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kazakhstan_Central_Concert_Hall.JPG Elenagiussani
63.1% of the population are ethnic Kazakhs. Ethnic Russians account for 23.7% of the population. The official languages of the country are Kazakh (1st official language) and Russian (2nd official language).
Kazakhstan has two time zone, five hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time in the west and six hours in the east (UTC+5/6). Traffic is driven on the right here. The electricity is 220V. The phone IDD code is +7.
The official currency of Kazakhstan is the Tenge (KZT). In 2010, Kazakhstan had a nominal GDP of $126.346 billion, and a per capita GDP of $8,107. The GDP at purchasing power parity is $12,044.
Much of Kazakhstan are steppes. It also has snow-capped mountains, deserts, hills, taigas, and rock-canyons. It is a sparsely populated country which was traditionally home of nomadic tribes. Russians began occupying the Kazakh steppes from the 18th century and by the mid-19th century, the whole of Kazakhstan was part of the Russian Empire.
Subsequent to the 1917 Russian Revolution, the borders of Kazakhstan was re-drawn a few times before it emerged in 1936 as the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic. When the Soviet Union collapsed, Kazakhstan was the last Soviet republic to declare its independence, doing so only on 16 December, 1991. Today it is a republic headed by a president and a prime minister.
Sunset at Kucherla Lake, Kazakhstan http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sunset_at_Kucherla_lake.jpg Dmitry A. Mottl
The Almaty International Airport (ALA) is the largest airport in Kazakhstan. It is located 18 km (11 mi) from downtown Almaty, the biggest city in the country. Following the closure of Air Kazakhstan, Air Astana is now the national carrier.
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