Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 5
By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:
Kazakhstan is very beautiful and diverse country which has a lot of tourist attractions. But due to its huge territory (Kazakhstan is the 9th largest country in the world) it is almost impossible for ordinary tourist to see all places of interest in one trip. So if you have just limited time for a trip to Kazakhstan here are five places which are a must of the country and will make you to fall in love with Kazakhstan for the rest of your live.
1) The city of Astana
Astana is the capital and the second-largest city of Kazakhstan. It is the most modern, beautiful and unusual city of the country. Founded in 1830 it changed names several times as Akmolinsk, Tselinograd, Akmola. However, in 1997 the capital was moved here, and in 1998 this city received a new name - Astana (the capital in Kazakh language). Since becoming the capital, Astana has attracted billions of dollars and undergone tremendous growth. A hundreds of modern buildings, new parks, roads, fountains, monuments, cultural, sports and entertainment facilities, restaurants and world-renowned hotels were build here. As a result, the city acquired a completely new, futuristic and unique look, which has nothing common with the old Soviet provincial Tselinograd. The best time to visit the city is from May to September since it has an extreme continental climate with warm summers and long, very cold, dry winters when the temperature can fall down to - 40 decrees.
2) The city of Almaty
The former capital Almaty is still the largest city and the major commercial and cultural centre in Kazakhstan, as well as its largest population center. It is one of the greenest cities of Kazakhstan with spectacular mountain backdrop. It a perfect destination for winter sports lovers since skating, skiing, snowboarding, ski jumping are very popular here. And for those who admire nature there is a lot of wonderful landscapes several hours drive from the city. Tourists who prefer calmer pastime can visit numerous museums, temples, theaters or pack a picnic in one of the numerous parks of the city.
3) The city of Baikonur and Baikonur Cosmodrome
Baikonur is a home city of the world's first and largest operational space launch facility located in the desert steppe of Kazakhstan. Baikonur Cosmodrome is the site of many spacefaring feats like the first operational intercontinental ballistic missile, the launch of Sputnik and the launch of the first manned orbital flight by Yuri Gagarin, first dog in space, "Leica," and first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova.
When Kazakhstan was part of the Soviet Union, Baikonur was closed to all visitors unless they were first cleared by the Soviet security services. Now however, the city and the cosmodrome have become prime tourist attractions. Tourists with a very large checkbook can purchase a seat into space. However, you may still need special permission to access the cosmodrome, so check with a tourism office.
4) Lake Balkhash
Lake Balkhash is one of the largest lakes in Asia. Nature of Balkhash is amazing and full of contrasts. The lake is divided by a strait into two distinct parts. The western part is fresh water, while the eastern half is saline. Beach tourism and water sports such as sailing, rowing, canoeing and sport fishing are very popular at the lake. One of the natural attractions of the region is the mountain chain Bectauata decorated with a variety of cliffs and canyons - beautiful place of Northern Balkhash. Mountainside Bekctauata formed cave "Auliye" with fresh water, which is considered holy, and the water is healing. The lake and its coasts have a rich flora and fauna with lot of species of fish, birds and plants many of which are in the Red Book.
5) Burabay (Borovoye) resort.
Burabay National Nature Park is one of the most unique and beautiful places in Kazakhstan. It is located not far from the capital, Astana and is often called "Kazakhstan's Alps" due to its beautiful landscape. Magnificent mountains, blue lakes, pine woods, larch forests and a number of rivers, springs combined here and created unique view completely different from the rest of Kazakhstan. Burabay (Borovoye) resort with a number of sanatoriums and health centers available all year around is one of the most visited destinations for domestic tourists.