азақстан – Qazaqstan
Capital city Astana
Surface 2,724,900 km²
Population 19,082,000
Road network length 247,347 km
Length of highway network 2700 km
First highway 2010
Motorway name ?
Traffic drives Right
License plate code KZ

Kazakhstan (Kazakh: Қазақстан, Qazaqstan) is a large country in Central Asia. The country is the eighth largest country in the world and is almost 70 times the size of the Netherlands. The country has 19 million inhabitants and the capital is Astana. The largest city is Almaty.


A bridge over the Ishim River in Astana.

According to ABBREVIATIONFINDER, Kazakhstan is the largest landlocked (non-seaside) country in the world and is the ninth largest country in the world. It borders Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. To the southwest is the Caspian Sea (which is geographically considered a lake), inland the almost dried-up Aral Sea. In the southeast lies the large Lake Balkash. Kazakhstan measures 2,950 kilometers from west to east and a maximum of 1,640 kilometers from north to south. Geographically, an area the size of the Benelux west of the river Ural belongs to Europe. The capital of Kazakhstan has been Astana since 1997. Previously, that honor was reserved for the city of Alma-Ata (from 1993: Almaty). Almaty is the largest city in the country.

A large part of the country consists of steppe, in the south becoming desert. In the southeast and east are high mountain ranges, mainly on the border with Kyrgyzstan, China and part of Russia. The 7,010 meter high Khan Tengri is the highest mountain in Kazakhstan. These mountain ranges are covered with snow and glaciers all year round. The major rivers of Kazakhstan flow in three directions, to the Arctic Ocean (Tobol, Ishim & Irtysh), to the Caspian Sea (Ural) and to the Aral Sea (Syr Darya). The water from the Syr Darya no longer reaches the Aral Sea due to irrigation in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan has a continental climate with hot summers and very cold winters. Temperatures are often above 30°C in summer and below -30°C in winter. The average maximum temperature in the capital Astana is 27 °C, the average minimum temperature in winter is -19 °C


Kazakhstan has substantial reserves of gas and oil and is the most prosperous country in Central Asia. Large parts of the population do not share in this prosperity. Various parts of the country are suitable for agriculture, but large parts also consist of steppe that is too dry.


Kazakhstan has about the same number of inhabitants as the Netherlands, but the average population density is low because of its enormous surface area. See Kazakhstan population density. About half of Kazakhs live in cities, the other half in rural areas. About 63% of the population is ethnic Kazakh, 24% is Russian. In addition, there are minorities such as Uzbeks, Ukrainians and Tatars. Germans also live in Kazakhstan. Before 1991 there were about 1 million Germans living in Kazakhstan, but a large number migrated after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Many Russians also migrated during that time, the proportion of Russians decreased from 38% in 1989 to 24% in 2013.

There are two official languages ​​in Kazakhstan, Kazakh and Russian. Both are written in Cyrillic script. Both languages ​​are widely spoken, with Russian mainly used in the media, government and business world.

Kazakhstan has a number of large cities, of which Almaty (before 1993: Alma-Ata) with 1.5 million inhabitants is the largest. The capital Astana is the second largest city with more than 800,000 inhabitants. Other major cities are Shymkent, Karaganda and Aktobe.

In the past, the names of cities in Kazakhstan have been changed one or more times. Particularly during the 1990s, many cities were renamed. The capital Astana has been renamed the most frequently, from originally Akmolinsk to Tselinograd in 1961, Akmola in 1992, Astana in 1998 and Nur-Sultan in 2019. In 2022, the name was changed again to Astana.


Kazakhstan was initially populated by nomads. Later it was mainly inhabited by the Mongols. From the 16th century it regained a nomadic character, with the Kazakhs becoming the dominant population group. In the 18th century, the Russian Empire expanded southwards and by the mid-19th century, all of Kazakhstan belonged to the Russian Empire. In 1936 it became the Kazakhstani Soviet Socialist Republic. In Kazakhstan, the Soviet Union’s space program was developed from the base of Baikonur. In 1991, Kazakhstan was the last country to declare its independence from the Soviet Union. The country continues to maintain close ties with Russia.

Kazakhstan Location Map