Skyline of Astana
Life in Kazakhstan
As I have done a bit of research on Kazakhstan I’ve been simply amazed. It is a country of incredible beauty, rich in history, and culture. I believe because of these treasures many will want to come and explore this exciting country of incredible contrasts. Interestingly enough Astana was little more than a sleepy little town 20 years ago. When started my ground work for this post I noticed that the skyline of the Astana reminded me of Denver, Colorado (see examples below). The things that plagued my mind where: What would cause these radical changes in such a short period? How could this futuristic skyline evolve so quickly? Through my short expose I hope to show some of the reasons for this.
Skyline of Denver
City Center of Astana
A tourist dream come true
The high mountain meadows here in the picture above reminds me of the same in Colorado, this I know first hand since this is where I was born and raised. If these mountains are anything like the ones in Colorado, the colors, smells, the crispness in the air all bring back memories.
I can imagine following a path down the hill to a lake filled with trout. I can see my father and grandfather casting their fishing lines into the water. I have a flashback of watching a trout taking the fly, leaping in the air, and at the end of the day seeing string of a dozen of them hanging from a line in front of the cabin. My mind is etched with the memory of walking along a train trellis worrying that a train might come while trying to get to the other side.
If any of these memories even come close Kazakhstan’s mountains they are rich not only in beauty but memories as well. Did the indigenous people’s roam these mountains as they did in Colorado? I’m certain they did! It’s visions like these that draw my attention to Kazakhstan. The wild beauty captures the imagination, how much of this land is still yet to be explored? It’s a tourist dream come true.
It’s History and Culture
One of the more fascinating things that I found while researching this post was the real meaning of ‘Kazakh’, is a Turkic word. In the opinion of most investigators, it means ‘a free man’. Kazakhs were originally nomads and farmers who loved freedom. They owned enormous herds of cattle and horses which grazed on succulent pastures in this rich land along the foothills and river valleys of Kazakhstan.
During Bronze Age, four thousand years ago, Kazakhstan was inhabited by the Andron and Begazy-Dandybai ethnic groups. They were an agrarian society that breed life-stock,they were also highly skilled warriors who mastered battle chariots.
Pictographs can still be found of chariots still on rocks, People also carved scenes of ritual dances, sun-headed gods, huge bulls and camels personifying ancient gods on the sun-burnt black rocks. These are found today in places where the ancient people established their mobile villages. They had a stratified society that consisted of ordinary people and chariot warriors. Warriors were considered,’ guardian was the Sun God to whom they dedicated their religious hymns.
Kazakh Culture today
At the turn of the 20th century the Kazakh culture was predominantly nomadic. Today Kazakhs are still passionate about sports and hunting, which were and still are a essential part of nomadic culture. Evidences of this nomadic culture can still be found outside the large cities of Kazakhstan.
Hospitality is considered a basic moral imperative in this land of great extremes. Guests are treated with honor and provided with shelter if necessary while on their travels. As in the past when a guest proceeds on their journey, it is customary to offer food, sarkhyt, for the continuing travels.
Traveling through Kazakhstan is traveling the Silk road, for those who are adventurous seeing this land of beauty is a must. As the world’s ninth biggest country, Kazakhstan is a land of extremes that offers a vast landscape of environments, including flatlands, steppes, hills, deltas, canyons, lakes, mountains, and deserts. The avid fisherman will not be disappointed coming and experiencing the sights, sounds, and beauty of a land called, “Kazakhstan”.