Kazakhstan is a very large country in far eastern Europe and western Asia. It shares borders with Russia, Uzbekistan, China, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan. The capital city is Astana. Other big cities are Almaty (the previous capital city)and Karaganda. Kazakhstan is not part of the European Union and uses the Tenge as its currency.
The Russians began advancing into the Kazakh steppe in the 18th century, and by the mid-19th century all of Kazakhstan was part of the Russian Empire. Following the 1917 Russian Revolution, and civil war, the territory of Kazakhstan was reorganized several times before becoming the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic in 1936, a part of the USSR (Soviet Union). Kazakhstan declared itself an independent country on December 16, 1991, the last Soviet republic to do so.
Soviet Union — This was a massive country consisting of Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and many other countries. It was a super power until it ended in 1991
Kazakhstan is ranked as the ninth largest country in the world as well as the world's largest landlocked country. It has an area of 2.7 million square kilometres (1.05 million sq. mi). It is bordered by Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and China. The country also borders on a large part of the Caspian Sea. The climate is continental, with warm summers and colder winters. Kazakhstan has thousands of lakes and rivers and most of the country is not populated.
Most of the country is part of the continent of Asia and only a small part in the north-west is located in Europe. The highest mountain in Kazakhstan is the massive Khan Tengri which is 6,995 metres (7,010 metres including its ice cap). It is one of the few mountains in the world of this height.
The Kazakh language, spoken by 65 percent of the population, has the status of the "state" language, while Russian, which is spoken by almost all Kazakhstanis, is declared the "official" language, and is used routinely in business. The ethnic Kazakhs represent 59 percent of the population and ethnic Russians 25 percent. Other ethnic groups represented, include Tatars, Uzbeks, Bashkirs, Uyghurs and Ukrainians. Islam is the largest religion in Kazakhstan, followed by Russian Orthodox Christianity.
Kazakhstan has three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasavi, Petroglyphs and Saryarqa (Steppe and Lakes of Northern Kazakhstan). Because of the huge distances between cities and lack of public transport, tourism is not common in Kazakhstan but more and more people are visiting the country every year
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