Exploring Kazakhstan: The Heart of Central Asia

Geographical Overview

Straddling the lines between Europe and Asia, Kazakhstan is renowned for its striking geographic diversity and vastness. With a total surface area of 2,724,900 sq km, it ranks as the ninth-largest country globally. The nation’s terrain is predominantly characterized by extensive flat steppes expanding from the Volga to the west, reaching the Altai Mountains to the east, and stretching from the western Siberian plains in the north down to the deserts and oases of Central Asia in the south. Kazakhstan shares its borders with five countries, including a 1,765 km boundary with China and an extensive 7,644 km frontier with Russia, illustrating its significant position in Eurasian trade and geopolitics. Despite its substantial landmass, Kazakhstan has no coastline, emphasizing its landlocked nature.

Climate and Natural Resources

The climate in Kazakhstan is continental, with cold winters and hot summers, varying from arid to semiarid conditions across its different regions. This climatic variation supports a wide range of biodiversity and landscapes within the country. Among its natural treasures are significant deposits of petroleum, natural gas, coal, and various metals and minerals. These resources have not only shaped the country’s economy but also its role in global markets.

Society and Demographics

As of July 2020, Kazakhstan’s population was estimated at around 19,091,949, with major cities such as Almaty and the capital city Nur-Sultan being vital hubs of economic and social activity. The Kazakhstani society is markedly urban, with approximately 57.7% living in urban areas. The country’s demographic distribution shows a sparse population in its expansive interiors, with denser clusters in the northern and southern urban areas.

Culture and Languages

Kazakhstan’s national identity is a tapestry woven from the threads of its diverse cultural heritage and languages. Kazakh, the official language, serves as a symbol of Kazakhstan’s post-Soviet national identity and cultural revival. This multicultural nation is home to various ethnic groups, contributing to a rich cultural mosaic.

Economy and Infrastructure

The backbone of Kazakhstan’s economy is its wealth of natural resources, which include oil, natural gas, and various minerals. The agricultural sector also plays a significant role, utilizing 77.4% of the land for cultivating grains, vegetables, and supporting livestock. Industrial outputs, primarily from oil, coal, metals, and machinery, represent other key economic pillars. With a GDP per capita of $26,300 in 2017, Kazakhstan has seen substantial economic growth, supported by its strategic exports to countries like Italy, China, and Russia.

In terms of infrastructure, Kazakhstan boasts a 100% electrification rate as of 2016, signifying its progress in ensuring access to essential services for its citizens. The country’s focus on developing its transportation and logistical networks further emphasizes its ambition to enhance domestic mobility and increase its connectivity with global markets.

Global Trade and Diplomacy

Kazakhstan’s economic strategy is heavily influenced by its geographical location and natural resources. Its main export partners include Italy, China, and the Netherlands, with oil and natural gas being among the most significant exports. Conversely, it primarily imports machinery, equipment, and foodstuffs from Russia, China, and Germany. Such trade dynamics emphasize Kazakhstan’s pivotal role in regional and global supply chains, contributing to its growing influence in Eurasian geopolitics.


Kazakhstan, a land of vast steppes, mountains, and deserts, stands as a testament to the resilience and diversity of Central Asia. Its blend of rich natural resources, strategic geographic positioning, and vibrant culture positions Kazakhstan as a key player on the global stage. As the country navigates the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century, it continues to shape its identity and path towards sustainable development and prosperity.

Country data

Country Code KZ
Region Central Asia
Surface 2724900 sq km
Land Surface 2699700 sq km
Water Surface 25200 sq km
Agricultural Surface 77.40%
Forest Surface 1.20%
Lowest Elevation Point Vpadina Kaundy -132 m
Highest Elevation Point Khan Tangiri Shyngy (Pik Khan-Tengri) 6,995 m
GDP / capita $26,300 (2017 est.)