Almaty is the largest city in Kazakhstan and the former capital of the Republic. Nowadays the population of the city runs over 1,300,000 people.
Relief. The landscape of Kazakhstan is diverse. The northern forest-steppe lands turn into steppe, half-deserts and deserts in the South.
Natural resources: large mineral deposits of oil, gas, coal, alumina, iron, rare- and precious metals. Agriculture: wheat, sheep breeding and vegetables.
Geographical zones: deserts, semi-deserts, steppes, forest-steppes, mountains.
Climate: Continental. Average air temperature in the Kazakhstan north in winter is 19o to 24oC, in summer - (+) 22o to 28oC; in the south in winter - 3o to 9oC, in summer - 26o to 29oC.
Language: Official language of the country is Kazakh (of Turkic group). Russian is the language of interethnic communication
Religion. The Republic is a multinational state inhabited by representatives of more than 120 nationalities and the two mainly professed religions are Islam and Orthodox Christianity. Besides one can find worshipers of Catholicism and even Buddhism there.
Kazakhstan is a land of boundless, interminable steppes, vast harsh deserts and inaccessible snowy mountain ranges - unlimited source of crystal clear water running down the steep slopes to feed fertile lowlands. Remnants of ancient caravan routes still can be seen to reveal how the East was connecting the West were in the past times through country's southern steppe areas verging to the great deserts of the Central Asia.
This world is not that different with its customs and moral, in particular if one takes a closer look at the local architecture and cuisine. A multifaceted universe rises up at ones eyes putting together the dazzling bright contrasts on the one hand with the placatory peaceful halftones on the other. Here one can find practically all climatic zones: from torrid deserts to eternal snows of the mountain heights reaching beyond the clouds. This gives a peculiar colouring to the nature and the landscape of Kazakhstan.