Kazakhstan is a relatively underrated Central Asian country that was part of the former Soviet republic. The region can be a rather mysterious territory for most people, but there is much to explore. That said, there are many fun facts about Kazakhstan that show how it can be a really interesting travel destination.
Historical Facts About Kazakhstan
The history of a country often influences its present. Here are some important facts about Kazakhstan’s past that are good to know.
World’s Longest Border Is Shared Between Kazakhstan and Russia
When Kazakhstan separated from the Soviet Union, the border between Kazakhstan and Russia became one of the world’s longest borders. This boundary which spans over 7,000 km separates the country from Russia.
Some claim that this is the longest continuous border on the planet, and the second longest if the total length is considered without continuity (the first would be the Canada – United States border.)
The Name Represents The Nomad History Of The Country
One of the top facts about Kazakhstan is that the word “Kazakh” has a significant meaning. This term translates to independent or being a wanderer, representing the nomadic history of the country.
The primary meaning of the term Kazakhstan is land of the wanderers. This is a befitting name for the country, considering that natives and people in the past lived as nomads, moving from one region to another.
People Of Kazakhstan Were The First To Ride Horses
Another unique fact about Kazakhstan is that it was the first country to domesticate horses. This means that the people of Kazakhstan were also actually the first to ride these majestic beasts.
Because of this history, many competitions involving horses take place in the country every year. Even women are not shy to participate in such events.
The Soviet Union Tested 500 Nuclear Devices Here
Kazakhstan has a significant history with the Soviet Union because of its status as a former Soviet republic.
It is no secret that the Soviet Union tested at least 500 nuclear devices in this nation between 1949 and 1989. These tests are said to be comparable to 20,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs collectively.
Cultural Facts About Kazakhstan
In addition to its historical context, Kazakhstan also has rich cultural traditions which can be observed when visiting. Here are some fun facts about Kazakhstan’s culture.
Berkutchi Is Still Practiced Here
Berkutchi is a famous practice in Kazakhstan that involves hunting with eagles Eagles are trained to capture different prey, such as rabbits, foxes, and small birds. Some hunters also train falcons to do the same thing.
There is a traditional belief amongst hunters about the prey they catch using eagles. It is said that they must keep the kill for at least one year to enhance their luck.
Kazakh Men Do Not Shake Hands With Women
This is a cultural practice in Kazakhstan due to religious considerations and as a form of respect for their modesty. This is why you rarely see a man shaking hands with females to greet them. So don’t be offended if you are a female, and offer a handshake that is not reciprocated.
Nauryz Is One Of The Top Holidays In Kazakhstan
One of the biggest holidays in Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries is Nauryz, which marks the meaning of a new year. This day is held on the spring equinox, for several days. The streets of the country will be transformed to create a festive mood.
Guests are taken to traditional nomad homes called yurts, where locals make dishes using seven culturally important ingredients. Some people even forgive the debts of others in celebration of the new beginning.
Beshbarmak Is The Country’s National Dish
One of the interesting facts about Kazakhstan is its unique food offerings. The national dish of the nation is Beshbarmak. It is also called “five fingers” by locals because all fingers are used in eating the meal.
The dish involves large pieces of mutton or horse meat placed on noodles that are boiled in a unique gravy or broth. Vegetables such as onions and parsley are also added to complete the dish. It’s definitely one of the traditional Kazakhstan food to try!
Interesting Facts About Kazakhstan For Kids
Kazakhstan is an often overlooked Central Asian country, but definitely worthy of exploring. Here are the fun facts about Kazakhstan that can pique the interest of young minds.
Horse Milk Is The National Drink Of This Country
The national drink of Kazakhstan is a rather unique beverage made using horse milk. It is called kumis and is loved by most adults.
Milk from a horse is fermented to make this slightly sour drink. Local traditions believe that kumis has healing properties that are believed to cure flu, tuberculosis, and other diseases.
World’s Highest Skating Rink Is Here
One of the most famous sites to visit in Kazakhstan is the Medeo Sports Center. This is actually the world’s highest skating rink for kids and adults. The surface area of the rink is huge, stretching about the size of two football fields.
Snow Leopards Are Found In Kazakhstan
One of the top Kazakhstan facts is that it is exotic wildlife, like snow leopards. This shy animal is an endangered specie listed in the Red Book of Kazakhstan.
Snow leopards are beautiful and intelligent animals. They are also rare in other parts of the world because of their low numbers. Only 3,500 to 7,000 snow leopards are found in the wild.
Snow leopards are the country’s symbol, and locals respect this creature for its high bravery and independence.
Useful Kazakhstan Facts For Travelers
If you are planning a trip to this Asian hidden gem, here are some interesting Kazakhstan facts that are good to note.
It Has Five UNESCO Sites
The country is home to five UNESCO sites, including Saryarka, the Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, Western Tien-Shan, and more. They are well-preserved historical sites that will not only amaze you but also offer insights into the country’s past.
Lake Balkhash Is One Of The Biggest Lakes In The World
Lake Balkhash is one of the largest lakes in Asia. Spanning 16,400 km, this lake ranks around 15th in the world in terms of size.
There is also a unique natural phenomenon happening at this lake. You will find salt water on the east side of Lake Balkhash, but fresh water on the west side.
Pricing For Taxi System
One of the important facts about Kazakhstan to know when traveling there is its traditional taxi system. Unlike other countries, where people are mandated to follow a meter system for the taxi fare, you must wave to stop a car and negotiate the price first according to the destination.
Upon reaching a mutual agreement on the fare, the driver will take you to the final location. Therefore, you should sharpen your negotiation skills and have some knowledge of the estimated rate for your trip to avoid paying a significantly high amount.
27,000 Monuments Are Present In The Nation
An exciting fact about Kazakhstan for travelers is that there is a whopping 27,000 monuments scattered throughout the country; each with a different story to tell. Some of these are meaningful sites that you can visit to appreciate art and learn more about the nation’s history.
One of the top monuments that you should see in Kazakhstan is the Golden Man. It is an impressive Scythian warrior wearing gold armor.
Common Facts About Kazakhstan
People Of Kazakhstan Believe Whistling Can Make You Poor
Superstitions and folklores are a part of every culture and they can vary from place to place. An interesting one in Kazakhstan is the belief that whistling a song or a tune inside a building will make you poor forever.
You may make fun of this, but many locals are serious about not whistling in a building. So avoid doing this when in Kazakhstan.
Kyz Kuu Is A Famous Competition Here
One of the amusing facts about Kazakhstan is that it is home to a famous competition called Kyz Kuu.
This event, which translates to “Catch The Girl”, involves a man and a woman riding two separate horses. The man must then try to get ahead of the girl.
However, the female is allowed to whip the man with a lash whenever he gets near. If the male wins the competition, he gets a kiss from the girl. Meanwhile, the woman will get to whip the man again if she wins.
The Flag Of Kazakhstan Represent Prosperity
The flag of Kazakhstan has a sun with 32 beams spreading out. These beams have significant meaning in local culture, representing the prosperity and progress of the country.
Other Interesting Facts About Kazakhstan
Yurta Is The Traditional Home For Nomads
Yurta is the traditional nomadic home in Kazakhstan that is mainly set up by women of the family. These circular tents may be insulated with skins to keep the place warm.
The Largest Lizard In Northern Eurasia
One of the most incredible Kazakhstan facts is that the country is home to the largest lizard specie in Northern Eurasia. The Desert or Caspian monitor lizard goes up to 150cm in length and can be found in the western regions of Kazakhstan.
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Discovering More Fun Facts About Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan is an extraordinary destination that’s just waiting to be discovered. With a rich history and culture, breathtaking natural landscapes, and vibrant cities, these are just some of the interesting facts about Kazakhstan.
The country is full of surprises and hidden treasures, and there is no better way than to discover it yourself with some firsthand experiences. So make a trip down yourself when you can, and uncover more fascinating things about Kazakhstan!