About Kazakhstan

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Area: 2 724 000 sq.km

Population: 17 028 000 (june, 2013)
Capital: Astana (Since 1997)
Major languages: Kazakh, Russian
Religions: Islam, Christianity
Monetary unit: Kazakhstan tenge
Internet Domain: .kz

The Republic of Kazakhstan is a presidential democracy; a secular, stable and social state whose highest values are its people and their lives, rights and freedoms.

Political structure
In 1991, Kazakhstan became independent. According to the Constitution, the president is the Head of State and the Chief Executive. The highest legislative body is a two house Parliament.

Official Language
The official language is Kazakh. State organizations and local governmental bodies also use Russian. The government encourages citizens to study and speak several languages. Everybody has the right to use their native language and the right to choose their language for communication, study and work. This contributes to people of various ethnic origin and religions living and working peacefully in the country.

Location

The Republic of Kazakhstan lies directly between Europe and Asia. It stretches from the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea and the Volga plains to the mountainous Altai and from the foothills of the Tien Shan in the south and southeast to the West Siberian lowlands in the north. The size of the territory places Kazakhstan ninth in the world, after Russia, Canada, China, USA, Brazil, Australia, India and Argentina.

In the east, north and northwest, Kazakhstan borders with Russia (6,477km). In the south it borders with the states of Central Asia: Uzbekistan (2,300km), Kyrgyzstan (980km) and Turkmenistan (380km). In the southeast it borders with China (1,460km). The total extent of Kazakhstan’s borders is nearly 12,200km, including 600 kilometers along the Caspian Sea in the west.

Kazakhstan lies in the center of the European and Asian continents, and is approximately equal distance from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. More than a quarter of the land consists of a portion of the gentle steppes that stretch from central Europe to Siberia. The rest of the republic reflects the beauty of forests, mountains, rivers, lakes and reservoirs. The natural landscape is enhanced by thousands of plant and animal varieties found from the northern forest steppes to the high southern mountains.

Climate

Kazakhstan has an extreme continental climate. It is characterized by irregular distribution of precipitation in its various regions. In certain years, spring arrives from south to north over a period of 1.5 – 2 months. When it is spring sowing time in the south, the northern area is still covered with snow and blizzards blow through frequently.

Kazakhstan is known for an extremely diverse topography: from high snowy mountains to steppes, semi-deserts and deserts. The lowest spot is the Karagie lowland (-132m) and the highest point is Khan-Tengri Peak (7,010m).

Kazakhstan currency
The official currency of Kazakhstan is the Tenge. It was introduced on the 15th November, 1993.

Largest city
Almaty was the capital until 1996. These days, Almaty is a major tourist, social, cultural, economic and financial center.

Time
6 hours ahead of GMT (Almaty, Astana).

Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50 Hz.

Credit cards
Most European and international credit cards, including Visa, Master Card, Euro Card are accepted in major hotels in the cities of Almaty and Astana, as well as in major stores and restaurants.

Currency exchange
The exchange of foreign currency to tenge and vice versa is possible at any bank or official exchange offices. It is appropriate to keep all documents on the exchange before departure from the country.