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Kazakhstan is a large country at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, which always welcomes its guests with cordiality, attracts with its rich nature and ancient monuments. Hundreds of cultures and nationalities have harmoniously coexisted in this beautiful and colorful country for many centuries, giving its appearance a unique versatility. The sights of Kazakhstan include natural and man-made, historical and modern monuments, which are concentrated on these lands in abundance. One of the main wealth of the country is the endless steppes, which store countless artifacts of antiquity. Everyone finds something to see in Kazakhstan, discovering something new and special for themselves here.
What to see in Kazakhstan in the first place
In order for the future trip to be clearly coordinated and organized, it is recommended to plan its route in advance. To make the right choice of what to see in Kazakhstan in 1 day, a week or another period, you should familiarize yourself with the best sights of the country and read the recommendations given in this article.
1. Astana-Baiterek Monument
Flower alleys in front of the Astana-Baiterek monument
The rating opens with Astana-Baiterek – one of the main symbols of the country, embodying its prosperity and well-being. As conceived by the architects, this landmark of Kazakhstan embodied the idea of a three-level Tree of the World, symbolizing the antagonism of good and evil, and uniting the world of the dead, the world of the living and heaven. The lower level of the structure houses a café, an art gallery and a large fish tank. The middle level of the monument is a high tower with modern high-speed elevators. The upper level is decorated in the form of a huge glass ball, from the inside of which a beautiful panoramic view of the surroundings of Astana opens.
Khan-Shatyr shopping and entertainment center at night
Over the short years of its existence, the Khan-Shatyr shopping and entertainment center has become a popular attraction, to which entire excursions are organized in Kazakhstan. The huge 150-meter “tent” of the shopping center can be seen from afar, organically fitting into the architecture of the surrounding buildings. Once inside, you can spend almost the whole day – so many interesting things are concentrated on the Khan-Shatyr squares. These are numerous shops, restaurants, Internet cafes, a green greenhouse, a huge parking lot and even a large water park with three pools and a real sandy “beach”.
3. Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi
Architectural complex of the XIV century from the time of Emir Timur
Among other attractions, guides in Kazakhstan recommend visiting this most important shrine on the endless steppes of South Kazakhstan. The mausoleum was built in honor of the famous poet Ahmed Yasawi in 1405 in the place where his modest grave was previously located. Over time, this architectural ensemble combined a variety of premises – a tomb, a mosque, a library, a pantheon of Kazakh khans with 43 tombstones, a bathhouse and various auxiliary premises.
Official website: https: //www.wdl.org/ru
4. Baikonur Cosmodrome
Proton launch vehicle at Baikonur Cosmodrome
For many decades, the Baikonur Cosmodrome has been and remains the world's most important platform for launching spacecraft. It was from here that the flight of the first man into space took place, the launch of the first artificial satellite, famous manned spacecraft and orbital stations, as well as other spacecraft that to this day surf the expanses of the solar system. There is no doubt that visiting the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan is one of the first places – this trip will leave the most extraordinary memories.
Official website: http://baikonur.russian.
5. Museum of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Main entrance to the Museum of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan
This museum favorably stands out against the background of other museums of the capital Astana, and above all by the fact that the residence of the first president of the country was once located in its halls. Today in the museum you can see the originals of the most important archival documents, valuable book editions, awards and other exhibits that are somehow related to the history of the country. Photo exhibitions are also regularly held here, expositions dedicated to political science and scientific activities are demonstrated.
Official website: http://tour.presidentlibrary.
Be sure to watch this beautiful video about Kazakhstan!
6. Palace of Independence in Astana
Place for conferences, international meetings and forums Alex J. Butler
Guests of Astana are sometimes surprised by a large number of buildings with unusual architectural design. Reviews testify that the Palace of Independence belongs to such buildings. In fact, this building does not correspond to the classical idea of a castle at all. The trapezoidal structure made of glass and metal bars, according to the architects, symbolizes Kazakhstan and the rapidly developing Astana. The palace has three floors, on the first of which there are halls for holding important business events, on the second – galleries with expositions of modern art, on the third – the historical museum of Astana.
Official website: http://indepalace.kz/
7. Palace of Peace and Accord
Park and entrance to the Palace of Peace and Accord Ninaras
Returning to the question of what to see in Kazakhstan, once in its capital, we can recommend the Palace of Peace and Accord – another landmark of Kazakhstan from the category of unusual architectural structures. The building is made in a futuristic style in the form of a regular pyramid 62 meters high, the edges of which symbolize the openness of the Kazakh people to all nations and religions. Inside the building there is an Opera Hall and several presentation halls, various official meetings, presentations and marriage ceremonies are held.
Official site: http://astana-piramida.
8. Map of Kazakhstan “Atameken”
Ethno-memorial complex “Map of Kazakhstan Atameken” Alex J. Butler
It is hard to imagine, but you can get around the whole of Kazakhstan, see its interesting places and main sights in just one hour – just be in the unique historical and ethnographic complex “Map of Kazakhstan Atameken”. The park, spread over an area of 1.7 hectares, is a model of the entire country: on an area the size of two football fields, endless fields and steppes of Kazakhstan, ancient temples and other major sights are spread, all regions of the republic are marked and the location of the two main cities of the country is marked – Almaty and Astana.
Official website: http://atamekenmap.kz/ru/
9. Almaty Zoo
Camels in the enclosure of the Almaty Zoo
There is something to see in Kazakhstan for lovers of wildlife – the spacious Almaty Zoo has become a haven for 5,600 individuals of various animals, of which there are about 3.5 hundred species, including 28 species listed in the Red Book. This includes animals from the African continent, the tropics, the Kazakh steppes, which are distributed on the territory of the zoo in 6 different sections. 4 sections are devoted to animals, and 2 more – to feathered inhabitants, exotic and local. There is also an aquarium with marine life, an exotarium with amphibians and insects.
Official website: http://almatyzoo.kz/
10. Medeo Sports Complex
Ice skating rink of the high-mountain sports complex – “Medeo”
In the mountain tract Medeo there is a sports complex of the same name – the highest mountain sports complex in the world, designed for winter sports. This is a real paradise for active tourists – for example, a huge ice rink with an area of 10.5 thousand square meters has become the site of numerous world records, having received the status of a “factory of records” for this. A modern cable car with a length of 4.5 km allows you to climb from the Chimbulak base to the ski slope in 15 minutes, and the Medeo stadium can accommodate up to 8500 people at the same time.
Official website: http://medeu.com.kz/
11. Nur-Astana Mosque
Nur-Astana Mosque with a fountain in the foreground
Where to go in Kazakhstan from religious shrines? One such attraction is the Nur-Astana Mosque in Astana, a modern building from 2005 that impresses both with its external and internal splendor. The snow-white building is crowned with a huge gilded dome, and the four minarets of the mosque rush up to 62 meters. Inner premises with an area of several thousand square meters can accommodate up to 5 thousand worshipers at the same time. There is a spacious courtyard with a large fountain bowl around the mosque.
12. Beket-ata Underground Mosque
The road to the underground mosque Beket-ata Ashina
One of the most revered Kazakh people was the famous hermit Beket-Ata, who traveled many roads during his earthly journey and built four mosques. One of these mosques, carved in the Oglandy tract right in the rock, has become one of the significant sights of Kazakhstan and a famous place of pilgrimage. Locals claim that after visiting the grave of a saint, believers are granted a cure for any ailments. The premises of the mosque include four rooms, which are arranged in such a way that ideal audibility is created while reading prayers.
13. Khazret Sultan Mosque
View of the Khazret Sultan Mosque
The largest sanctuary in Kazakhstan is located in its capital and is called Khazret Sultan. This is a modern landmark of Kazakhstan, the countdown of whose history begins not so long ago – in 2012. Both the external and internal decoration of the mosque attracts with its lightness, solemnity, magnificent painting and voluminous decor. The internal prayer halls of the mosque are designed for 10 thousand worshipers, and the total area of the shrine is as much as 11 hectares. The building is especially beautiful in the dark, when each of its tiers is favorably emphasized by night illumination.
Official website: http://www.muslim.kz/ru
< h3> 14. Ascension Cathedral in Almaty
Facade of the Holy Ascension Cathedral in Almaty
Another religious landmark of Kazakhstan is the Ascension Cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Church. Its unique feature is that it was built of wood at the very beginning of the 20th century, and even a major earthquake did not shake the fortress of this structure. Today, this wooden structure knows no equal not only in Kazakhstan, but throughout the world. The cathedral still shines with its splendor and brilliance, and daily services are held in its halls, symbolizing the unbending power of faith.
Official website: http://cathedral.kz/ru< /p>
15. Arystan-Baba Mausoleum
Arystan-Baba mausoleum – a place of pilgrimage for Muslims
There is something to visit in Kazakhstan among the burial structures – 150 kilometers from the city of Shymkent there is a mausoleum erected on the grave of the famous spiritual preacher Arystan-Baba. The building consists of the tomb itself and the memorial hall, united by a wide corridor. In the tomb, in addition to the gravestone of the spiritual mentor, there are gravestones of three of his followers. And the mosque houses a prayer hall and various auxiliary premises.
16. Aksu-Zhabagly Nature Reserve
Juniper on the slopes of the Aksu-Zhabagly Reserve Tomiris
In addition to cultural and historical attractions, there is something to see in Kazakhstan among the numerous natural monuments. The Aksu-Dzhabagly Reserve is an incredibly beautiful place where all the magnificence of the nature of the mountains opens up: these are the snow caps of the highest mountain peaks and breathtaking gorges. and swift waterfalls, and alpine meadows. The lands of these territories are rich in fossil remains of plants and animals of the Jurassic period. The flora of the reserve today is diverse and includes more than 1700 species of plants, and of the animals the most populated is the fauna of birds – there are about three hundred species of them.
Official website: http://www.aksu -jabagly.
17. Altyn-Emel National Park
Landscape of Altyn-Emel National Park
The largest protected area in Kazakhstan, the Altyn-Emel National Park, is located in the desert and mountainous regions of the country. It is here that the Singing Dune known to many, the unusual mountains of Katutau and Aktau, as well as the well-known Saka mounds are located. This land attracts with amazing landscapes, purest mountain air and numerous ancient monuments. Another attraction of the park is radon springs with warm healing waters.
Official website: https://www.altyn-emel.
18. Singing Dune Altyn-Emel Nature Reserve
Singing dune – a natural phenomenon of the Altyn-Emel reserve
The Altyn-Emel National Park is so large that some of its objects are perceived as unique sights of Kazakhstan. This also applies to the singing dune – a sand dune about a hundred meters high and more than 3 kilometers long. The dune was formed from the constant wind Shilik, which walks in this area. It is called singing because its quicksand emits a unique vibrating rumble, somewhat reminiscent of the sound of an organ. The hum is the result of sand grains rubbing against each other.
Official website: https://altyn-emel.kz/en
19. Petroglyphs of Tamgaly-Tas
Rock paintings found in the Tamgaly tract
Lovers of mysticism and all sorts of mysteries of nature will find something to see in Kazakhstan – the territory of the republic is rich in anomalous zones. One of such places is the Tamgaly-Tas tract. This unusual place consists of sheer cliffs, many of which are completely dotted with mysterious inscriptions and drawings that attract not only tourists, but also scientists. To this day, specialists are struggling with the mystery of who these masters were, who left rock messages to posterity.
20. Borovoe resort (Burabai)
The natural beauty of the resort Borovoe (Burabay)
Akmola region is distinguished by the extraordinary beauty of the landscape and comfortable climate. Therefore, it is here that the Borovoe resort is located, often called the “pearl of Kazakhstan”. It is a beautiful oasis with blue lakes framed by high mountains and ancient pines. The resort's sanatoriums offer a whole range of health-improving services – mud therapy, balneological procedures, treatment in salt mines, radon therapy, etc. In addition to sanatoriums, the best hotels in Kazakhstan are located in Borovoe, offering a high level of services at affordable prices.
Sights of Kazakhstan: what else to visit in Kazakhstan
The Republic of Kazakhstan is rich in attractions, and even an experienced traveler who knows this region firsthand will always find something to see in Kazakhstan. Below is an overview that includes descriptions of other equally interesting places in the country.
21. Big Almaty Lake
Big Almaty Lake and the snowy peak of the Soviets
Not far from Almaty there is a real miracle of nature – an alpine lake framed by snow-capped mountain peaks, one of the most beautiful places in Kazakhstan at an altitude of 2.5 thousand meters. Everyone who has been in this unrealistically beautiful place comes back here again and again. The main mystery of the lake is the changeable color of the water, from light greenish to deep turquoise. Another feature of the reservoir is sharp seasonal water drops, which can reach 20 meters.
22. Lake Balkhash
Lake Balkhash and Bektau-ata mountain range at sunset
The largest lake in the Republic of Kazakhstan is Lake Balkhash, which stretches for 600 km in length. Numerous beaches of the lake are covered with sand and are ideal for relaxing from May to September. The main unique feature of this lake is that its waters vary in composition: the water area of the lake is divided into parts by a narrow strait, the western part of the lake is filled with fresh water, and the eastern part is salty. Salt waters and mud of Balkhash have properties that are beneficial for the human body.
23. Aral Sea
Cemetery of ships on the Aral Sea
Another attraction of Kazakhstan, the Aral Sea, is unique in that in fact it is a salt lake, and the sea is named due to its impressive size. Alas, this lake is now known not only for its size – human activity brought it sad fame, namely the systematic withdrawal of water from the rivers that feed the lake. This led to the fact that in the 60s of the last century the lake began to dry up rapidly. Today, the area and volume of water in the Aral Sea have decreased several times, the area of the lifeless desert in its place is rapidly growing, and since 1989 the Aral Sea has split into two bodies of water – the North and South Aral Seas.
24. Charyn Canyon
Charyn Canyon – the most beautiful monument of nature
The nature of Kazakhstan is diverse, and this diversity is complemented by the picturesque 154-kilometer gorge – the Charyn Canyon, stretching along the valley of the Charyn River. It was this river that for several million years carved a gorge in the rock, creating a unique landscape in this area. Today, the canyon has a relief that surprises with its diversity – bizarre rock shapes, steep slopes, plumb lines, hills, arches and columns attract attention and resemble some kind of sculptures.
Official site: http ://charyn.kz/rus/
25. Lake Issyk
Landscape of Alpine Lake Issyk
In a mountain gorge east of Alma-Ata, Lake Issyk is located – a landmark of Kazakhstan, which, along with the Aral Sea, has its sad glory. The population of Kazakhstan to this day remembers the tragedy of 1963, when a mudflow that descended from the mountains knocked down the natural dam of the lake, devastating it literally in a matter of hours. After a while, Issyk was restored, an artificial dam was installed, but the lake never reached its former size – today it has half the size.
Official website: https://kolesa. kz/read/
Current trends in tourism indicate that travel to the countries of the former Soviet Union is gaining popularity, and Kazakhstan is no exception. Excursions to Kazakhstan with a Russian-speaking guide will allow you to get acquainted with the sunny and hospitable country, appreciate the beauty and grandeur of the Kazakh land. Read also about the best sights of Tajikistan and get inspired for your next trip to Asia!