Kazakhstan is not the most popular destination for tourists, and therefore it is worth taking a chance and seeing the sights of this Asian state before prices rise and the number of guests increases.
What to do in Kazakhstan
Local architecture is a symbiosis of ancient and ultra-modern buildings. Such eclecticism will impress everyone. Baiterek is a symbol of progress and renewal of Kazakhstan, Khan Shatyr is an oasis in the middle of the desert steppe and an entertainment center for every taste. The Khazret Sultan and Nur-Astana mosques amaze with their monumentality. These religious buildings are worth seeing for those who are interested in Islam.
The natural beauties of this country are unusual, but will win the heart of everyone. Big Almaty Lake with turquoise water is the result of tectonic activity. Sanatoriums and recreation centers on its coast are suitable for romantic and family holidays.
The Aral Sea is a series of apocalyptic landscapes. They will be appreciated by those who want to bring unusual photos from their trip. Aksu-Dzhabagly Reserve is waiting for lovers of flora and fauna.
A visit to Baikonur is a great opportunity to get closer to the stars. A walk around the territory of the cosmodrome and a visit to its museum will leave an indelible impression on the souls of children and adults.
The unusual tower was solemnly opened in 2003 in Astana (today Nur-Sultan). The height of the building is 97 m. This number is symbolic, since it was in 1997 that the capital moved from Alma-Ata to a new location. The construction is crowned with a glass ball with a diameter of 22 m and a weight of about 300 tons.
At a height of 86 m, there is an observation deck with a panoramic view of the capital. A huge wooden globe surrounded by 17 petals with autographs of the heads of world confessions was installed in the central hall.
The composition symbolizes the tolerance of the Kazakhs to different religions. Nearby stands an unusual sculpture “Careful Hands” with a palm print of ex-president Nazarbayev. Also inside the tower is a model of the central part of the capital, an art gallery, a cafe and a gift shop.
Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi
The mausoleum is located in the city of Turkestan. The massive building was built in the 14th century. for the Turkic poet Khoja Ahmed Yasawi. The construction crowns the largest dome in Central Asia (height 44 m, diameter 22 m).
The complex consists of 7 rooms: large and small palace halls, a library, a dining room, a mosque, a bathhouse and an underground room for reflection. The thickness of the outer walls varies from 2 to 3 m. Inside — a pleasant coolness even in the summer heat.
The shopping and entertainment complex, whose name can be translated as “Tsar-Tent”, was launched in 2010. It resembles a Kazakh yurt with a slightly inclined spire. The base in the form of an ellipse occupies an area equal to 140 hectares, and the height of the structure reaches 150 m. The facade of the building is covered with a unique film, the properties of which help maintain a comfortable temperature inside from +23 to +25 °С.
In addition to numerous shops, restaurants and cinemas, there is a water park with an artificial beach. Snow-white sand for its arrangement was brought from the coast of the Indian Ocean.
Palace of Peace and Accord
The structure is a pyramid of steel and glass. The building is oriented to the cardinal points, which symbolizes the openness of Kazakhstan to the whole world. The height of the palace is 62 m, the area is about 28 thousand square meters. m.
Inside there is an opera hall for 1302 spectators, an exhibition of folk costumes, several conference rooms, a library, a cafe and a gift shop. The main decoration of the interior is a multi-colored stained-glass window of cyclopean size. It depicts 130 doves — according to the number of nationalities of Kazakhstan.
Mausoleum of Arystan-Baba
An architectural monument of the XII-XIV centuries is located about 150 km from Shymkent. The mausoleum was erected over the grave of the preacher and mystic Arystan-Baba. The height of the burnt brick building is 12 m, the size of the base is 35x12 m. The burial complex consists of a mosque and a two-chamber tomb.
Khazret Sultan Mosque
The largest mosque in Kazakhstan and the second largest in Central Asia was built in 2012. Its name translates as “Holy Sultan”. The area of the entire complex, including the yard, exceeds 11 hectares, the interior space occupies about 18 thousand square meters. m. Up to 10 thousand people can pray here at the same time. In addition to the main prayer hall, the mosque has a room for reading the Koran, a wedding hall, a religious school, a dressing room and a cafe.
The building was built in the traditional Islamic style with many arched openings, the exterior is decorated with mosaics. The diameter of the main dome is 28 m, the height is almost 51 m. There are 8 more smaller domes around. At the corners of the building there are four minarets of 77 meters each. The dome of the main prayer hall is generously decorated with murals and a 3‑ton chandelier.
Underground mosque Shakpak-ata
The unusual mosque is located in the northeast of the Tyub-Karagan peninsula. It was cut into the rock by ancient people. Archaeologists have excavated and discovered material traces dating back to the Bronze Age.
Later, the cave was occupied by Zoroastrians who came to Kazakhstan from Iran. When Islam supplanted the cult of fire, the cave was remade in accordance with the canons of the new belief. In addition, a mihrab, cells for hermits and niches for burial were cut through.
The mosque acquired its final appearance in the 15th century — it is in this form that it has survived to this day.
The Orthodox church in Nur-Sultan began to be built at the end of the 19th century, and was consecrated only in 1907. A little later, the Bolsheviks closed the cathedral and converted it into a museum of the Kazakh SSR, which was based in the church until 1976. A quarter of a century ago, the cathedral was transferred to the Russian Orthodox Church, and restoration work began in it. Masters have updated the facade and restored the frescoes.
The building was built from a unique Tien Shan spruce, and its individual sections are fastened with metal bolts. The cathedral is equally beautiful outside and inside. The facade is painted yellow, multi-colored domes are crowned with golden crosses. The iconostasis and murals have been preserved since the beginning of the 20th century.
Before the advent of Khazret Sultan, this mosque, built in 2005, was the largest in the country. The building area is about 4,000 sq. m. The height of the gilded dome is 43 m, slender minarets on the sides of the complex rush up to 63 m. At the same time, 5,000 believers can be in the mosque.
The blue color prevails in the interior decoration, and excerpts from the Koran are on the walls. The main shrine of the mosque is a fragment of Kisiva.
This is the first national park of the country, established in 1926 with the aim of preserving and replenishing the biodiversity of Kazakhstan. Over 1300 sq. km inhabited by more than 52 species of mammals, 247 species of birds, almost 3000 species of plants and 26 thousand representatives of the insect world. The predominant mountainous landscape is complemented by 27 lakes.
Big Almaty Lake
The picturesque lake of azure color arose as a result of an earthquake in the Zailiysky Alatau. The length of the reservoir is about 1.6 km, the width reaches 1 km, and the depth varies from 30 to 40 m. The length of the coastline is almost 3 km.
The natural pearl is surrounded on all sides by rocky mountains, the highest peaks are Ozerny (4131 m), Tourist (3954 m) and Strana Sovetov (4317 m). The flood of the lake occurs in the summer, when the melt water of glaciers flows from the granite ridge. In winter, the reservoir becomes shallow, partially exposing the bottom.
The peninsula, famous for its cosmic landscapes, is located on the eastern coast of the Caspian Sea. Bizarrely shaped mountains, blown by all winds, rocky desert plateaus, sandy shores crashing into sparkling water, leave a strong impression. The untouched land is full of unsolved mysteries. On its territory there are abandoned temples, rock mosques and tombs.
The area of the desert, stretching to the west of Lake Balkhash, is approximately 75 thousand square meters. km. The landscape is heterogeneous — sands are interspersed with rocky areas that break down into large depressions. Clay deposits predominate in the southwestern part.
The area has been little explored. At the beginning of the 20th century, scientists discovered 10 species of animals unknown to science here. There is currently no research activity.
Once the fourth largest sea in the world, it occupied an area of almost 70 thousand square meters. km. Its width was 284 km, length — about 450 km, and the depth reached 70 m. In the mid-1960s, the Aral Sea began to rapidly shallow. On the rivers Amudarya and Syrdarya, which feed the reservoir, canals were built to irrigate the fields.
As a result, by the beginning of the 1990s, the sea broke up into 2 lakes — Northern (Small) and Southern (Big). The last one is almost dry. The receding water left behind an incredible landscape that could very well be the backdrop for a Hollywood movie about the apocalypse.
The resort village, located on a picturesque mountain isthmus, is also called “Kazakh Switzerland”. The landscape is comparable to the Alpine: coniferous forests, harsh peaks and a scattering of deep lakes of meteorite origin. The microclimate is the same as in the homeland of the most reliable banks and delicious chocolate. People come here for recovery — sanatoriums and spa centers are available in Burabay. Walking in the area will also be good for the mind and body.
A popular ski resort is the property of the Zailiyskiy Alatau. The road from Almaty to Chimbulak will take only about an hour.
The infrastructure, created in the middle of the 20th century, was seriously modernized for the 2011 Asian Winter Games. Now there are modern lifts, several slopes of varying complexity and length, equipment rental, cafes, hotels, etc. Prices are lower compared to popular resorts.
Central State Museum
The most important and largest museum in the country occupies a building with an area of 17 thousand square meters. m. The expositions are located on three floors. In addition to the 4 main halls, there are many galleries. The funds contain over 200 thousand artifacts.
Visitors can learn the history of the country, get acquainted with the culture and customs of Kazakhstan. The exhibitions showcase archaeological finds, weapons, national costumes, photographs, important documents and masterpieces of art. In a separate room, objects are presented — evidence of the modern history of Kazakhstan, which declared independence in 1991.
Museum of Nature
The museum, dedicated to the diversity of Kazakhstani nature, settled in the building of the Academy of Sciences in Alma-Ata. The exposition is divided into 2 halls. The first is paleontological. The skeletons of dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures that lived in the region millions of years ago are exhibited here. The second is zoological. He talks about modern flora and fauna. These are stuffed animals and birds, herbariums, collections of insects.
Museum of Arts named after A. Kasteev
The largest art museum in the country has over 25,000 exhibits. They are divided into 6 collections.
Visitors can enjoy the masterpieces of Russian and Western painting, the art of Asia and the East. Particular attention is paid to Kazakh artists. There is also a gallery of modern art — sculptures, graphics, photographs and designer items are exhibited there.
Historical monuments and interesting places
Museum-reserve “Monuments of ancient Taraz”
In ancient times, the city of Taraz stood on the Silk Road, which began in China and ended on the Mediterranean coast. In the 13th century, constant raids by nomads began on the settlement, and its prosperity ended.
In 1979, archaeological excavations began on the site of the settlement, which continue to this day. Scientists managed to find and restore fortress walls, foundations of houses, a mosque, part of the water supply system, mausoleums and other objects. In addition to the ruins of Taraz, the reserve includes other historical monuments from different eras — more than 100 pieces in total.
Rock petroglyphs are located about 120 km from Alma-Ata. These are images of animals, mythical creatures and Buddha in different guises. According to one version, the drawings appeared in the 10th century, and were left by Buddhist pilgrims. In addition to well-preserved petroglyphs, there is a stone with ancient Turkic inscriptions (VIII-IX centuries).
This is the first in the world and until now the largest spaceport, from where ships, satellites and other aircraft are launched to distant planets and galaxies. It was here that Yuri Gagarin’s flight into space began, and the famous Vostok and Soyuz stations entered orbit.
After the collapse of the USSR, Baikonur ceased to be a sensitive facility. Part of the spaceport is now open to tourists. They are invited to visit the Museum of Cosmonautics, see the hangars, technical facilities and the platform with the epoch-making remains of the Buran spacecraft.