Top 50 Things to Do and to See in Kazakhstan

The country of Kazakhstan is also referred as the “land of wonders’ is one of the most famous tourist destinations of the world. It is a unique region in the world and number of factors is responsible for its immense popularity like its history, geographical position and size. The country of Kazakhstan is the world’s 9th largest landlocked country and located in the center of Eurasia and also the largest landlocked country in the world. Kazakhstan offers plenty of attractions such as authentic cultural tourism, nature-based activities, ecotourism, bird watching, etc. Fifty things that you can enjoy in Kazakhstan along with your family are listed below:

1. Almaty

The city of Almaty earlier was the capital of Kazakhstan, situated in Almaty Province. During 1000–900 BC in the Bronze Age the first farmers and cattle-breeders recognized settlements on the land of Almaty. The city of Almaty is among the top 50 most expensive cities in the entire world. Although Almaty dropped from 30th place in 2007 to 44th in 2008, it’s still more expensive than Toronto, Los Angeles or Hamburg. You will find some of the best tourist attractions here. So planning your trip to Almaty is surely worth it. Kazakhstan English Language Theater, Ave. Abay 2, started in 2001; the Kazakhstan English Language Theater (KELT) is the only English language theater in former Soviet Central Asia.

2. Turkestan

The city of Turkestan is one of the most popular tourist destinations of Kazakhstan. It is a well known historical region of west-central Asia stretching east from the Caspian Sea into western China and south from the Aral Sea into Afghanistan. Turkestan has long been a junction for business and conquest between East and West. The history of this city is as old as third millennium BC. During this era various relics were produced and a lot of trade was conducted. One of the major attractions of this city is the Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi that is an unfinished mausoleum in the city of Turkestan, in southern Kazakhstan.

3. Astana

Astana is one of the famous tourist destinations of Kazakhstan and offers plenty of attractions in the tourism sector. During the Russian and Soviet eras, a unit of Siberian Cossacks from Omsk founded a huge fortress on the upper Ishim during the year 1824. Currently Astana is the capital and second largest city of Kazakhstan. The major attraction of Astana is Baiterek Tower is one example of the futuristic architecture in the newborn city.

4. Shymkent

Shymkent is a city in the Kazakh Desert, and is the third largest city in Kazakhstan. It was founded during the year 12th century as a caravanserai to protect the Silk Road town of Sayram, 10 km to the east. Shymkent, today is one of the leading market centers for trade between nomads and the settled people. Some of the popular attractions of this city includes Ordabasy circle, site of Friday Mosque and MIG Memorial, Regional Studies and History Museum, Victory Park, Central Park, Museum of Repression, Afghan War Memorial, Arboretum, Nauryz/Navruz Holiday Celebrations over Spring Solstice, Al-Farabi Square, Mega Shopping Center. Visit Shumkent to explore these plenty of beautiful spots.

5. Karaganda

Karagandy is among the famous tourist attractions of the city. Its name is derived from a “caragana” bushes which are found in abundance here. Today this site is labeled on city maps as the “Old Town,” but almost nothing remains on that site. Currently the city is a big coal-mining city in Kazakhstan’s Central Highlands, at the center of Karagandy Province. One of the major tourist attractions of this region is the Karaganda Zoo.

6. Atyrau

You will find Atyrau towards the northern part of the Caspian Sea in Kazakhstan. The major tourist attractions of this region are the wooden fort that is to be found at the mouth of the Yaik River. The fort was established during the year 1645. Today it is renowned for its oil and fish industries.

7. Pavlodar

Pavlodar is a famous place located towards the northeastern Kazakhstan and the capital of Pavlodar Province. Pavlodar is considered as one of the oldest cities in northern Kazakhstan and was established during the year 1720 as Koryakovsky, an Imperial Russian outpost. Pavlodar is a fairly quiet and uneventful former Soviet city. Some of the finest attractions of Pavlodar include the Mosque, the Orthodox Church, and the WWII memorial park and statue.

8. Ust-Kamenogorsk

Ust-Kamenogorsk was established during the year 1720 at the confluence of the Irtysh and Ulba rivers as a fort and trading post named Ust-Kamennaya. One of the famous tourist attractions of this place is Strelka the arrow of land where the Irtych and Ulba rivers meet. Under the name of the Ust-Kamenogorsk Lock, the highest lock in the world lies at Ablaketka where it allows river traffic to pass around a hydroelectric dam on the Irtysh River. It is also the site of the Great Patriotic War Memorial.

9. Alakol Lake

The Alakol Lake is also referred as Multi-colored lake is one of the major tourist attractions of the country. It is also among the most unique lakes in Kazakhstan, to be found towards the south-eastern part of the Republic on the border with China. It is the biggest lake of the whole chain of Alakol lakes. It is unique in its beauty and wildlife. It is situated 347 meters above sea level; it is 104 km long and 52 km wide. Tourists can stay at the recreation center “Arktur” located in the Northeast region of Almaty and is located on the southwest coast of the lake.

10. Baiterek

Baiterek is considered to be the major landmarks of the city of Astana. The tower is elegant and innovative to witness. It has the observation deck 97 meters (300 feet) above ground level. The number 97 symbolizes the year 1997 when the Kazakhstan’s capital was transferred from Almaty to Astana. From here you can have an unobstructed, panoramic view of the city. Baiterek means “poplar tree” in Kazakh. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions of the country. This famous monument is based on a folktale about a mythical tree of life and a magic bird of happiness called Samruk.

11. Duman Center

The Duman Center is another most prominent tourist attraction of the city of Kazakhstan. This center possesses a remarkable aquarium which is open to the public on weekdays. Tourist here can enjoy some of the best attractions and can spend a good part of the day at the aquarium, where they can see everything from sharks, always a favorite with the children, to exotic rare fish from the tropics. Inside the center you can also find some of the best shops. You are even permitted to take Photographs.

12. Metropolitan Circus

The Metropolitan Circus is one of the most visited tourist attractions of the Astana. The “Flying Saucer,” as the building is commonly called, because, well, it looks like a flying saucer, is in fact the home of the Metropolitan Circus. The building has administrative offices, holding pens and a 2,000 seat arena, where 320 performers perform some of the best show. Some of the popular shows are acrobats, gymnasts, illusionists, clowns and, of course, animals.

13. Nur-Astana Mosque

The Nur-Astana Mosque is the largest mosque in Kazakhstan in fact in all of Central Asia. The architecture of this magnificent mosque is simply appealing and considered to be one of the symbolic structures of the country. It is 40 meters high, the age of the Prophet Muhammad when he received the revelations, and the minarets are 63 meters high, the age of the Prophet when he died. The mosque is made of glass, concrete, granite and other materials.

14. Khan Shatyr

Khan Shatyr is considered to be one of the most fascinating structures you find in whole of the country. The Khan Shatyr – “The King of Tents” in Kazakh – is a shopping and entertainment center designed to accommodate the wide temperature swings of the Kazakh steppe. The total interior space is huge, more than 10 football stadiums. Once here you can find almost all the attractions such as entertainment, shopping, dining and other services. Amenities include a miniature golf course, sports center and spa, shopping arcade with cobbled streets, and even an indoor beach, among many attractions.

15. The Palace of Peace and Harmony

The Palace of Peace and Harmony is well known as “The Pyramid,” is one of the must-visit places of Kazakhstan. It is the one of the famous structure of Astana and will surely draw your attention. It is modeled on Egypt’s Pyramid of Cheops on the Giza Plateau – with some differences. While stones were used in constructing Egypt’s pyramids, here, the materials used are mainly glass and metal. And Astana’s pyramid comes equipped with elevators that go up and down.

16. Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi

The Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi is perhaps the top tourist attraction of Kazakhstan. It is located in Turkestan. Yasawi was a renowned Sufi master who lived during the 12th century. The Mausoleum that bears his name is a UNESCO world heritage site that was constructed during the time of Timur between 1389 and 1405 in the signature Timurid architectural style which is beautifully decorated with coral-blue tiles and dome. In the main atrium of the mausoleum, you will find a bronze kazan (cauldron) that is regarded as sign of unity and hospitality. It is one of the most sacred places of the country.

17. Panfilov Park

The Panfilov Park of Kazakhstan is one of the favorite tourist attractions to be found between Gogol and Qazybek Bi. It is one of the huge and popular rectangles of greenery that laid out first during the year 1870, is focused on the candy-coloured Zenkov Cathedral, and designed by AP Zenkov in the year 1904, the cathedral is one of Almaty’s few surviving tsarist-era buildings, the cathedral is constructed entirely of wood (including the nails).

18. St Nicholas Cathedral

St Nicholas Cathedral is famous place to visit in Kazakhstan. The light turquoise Nikolsky Sobor, with its gold onion domes, stands out west of the centre quite close to end of Qabanbay Batyr and Baytursynuly. It was constructed during the year 1909, afterwards used as a stable for Bolshevik cavalry, before reopening about 1980.

19. Atyrau History Museum

The contemporary Atyrau History Museum exhibits some of the finest artifacts that will surely drag your interest. The museum also displays a replica of the local ‘Golden Man’, a second century BC Sarmatian chief with gold-plated tunic, discovered during the year 1999 – and a room on recently exhumed Saraychik, an old trading centre 55km towards the north of Atyrau, where numerous khans of the Golden Horde were buried.

20. Central State Museum

The Central State Museum is considered as one of the best museums that stands 300m up Furmanov from Respublika alanghy. It will surely attract you if you are interesting in knowing the history of this country right from bronze-age burial mounds to telecommunications and the transfer of the capital to Astana. The museum has many spectacular artifacts to display. One of the notable attractions is the large replica of the Golden Man that you can find in the entrance hall.

21. Kol-say Lakes

One of the major tourist attractions of Kazakhstan are the Kol-say Lakes. These three beautiful green lakes located right in the middle of the steep forested foothills of the Küngey Alatau. The lakes are strung along the Köl-Say River at an altitude of around 2000m (6560ft). You can also an arrange helicopter tours of the lakes from Almaty or reach them overland from Saty; the lower lake is accessible by vehicle.

22. Arasan Baths

The Arasan Baths are very famous in Kazakhstan and offers you to select from Russian (Russkaya), Finnish (Finskaya) and Turkish (Vostochnaya) baths, the latter with three different temperatures of heated stone platforms plus a thrust pool. Inside the Arasan Baths you will find separate sections for men’s and women’s. Things that you have to carry with you are soap, a towel and some thongs (flip-flops) for walking around in. It is considered an ideal place for relaxing and enjoying.

23. Respublika Alanghy

Respublika Alanghy is a famous broad ceremonial square, towards the southern part of Almaty, created in Soviet times, is a block uphill from Abay. One of the most famous attractions of this place is the amazing Monument to Independence. It is made up of stone column and is triumph with a replica of the Golden Man standing on a winged snow leopard, and is flanked at its base by fountains and two bas-relief walls depicting scenes from Kazakhstan’s history.

24. Dostoevsky Museum

One of the most interesting museums of Kazakhstan is the Dostoevsky Museum. It is considered as a well laid-out Museum to be found on a leafy street a block east of Abay ploshchad. The museum was constructed beside the wooden house where the expelled writer used to live during the year 1857 with his family. The museum exhibits Dostoevsky’s life and works, covering his childhood in Moscow, residence in St Petersburg, five years in jail at Omsk, five years of enforced military service at Semey, and his creative life from 1860 to 1881.

25. Bayterek Monument

The Bayterek embodies a Kazakh legend in which the mythical bird Samruk lays a golden egg containing the secrets of human desires and happiness in a tall poplar tree, beyond human reach. The monument is among the most visited tourist attractions of the country. a line of central gardens and plazas leads inevitably to the 97m Bayterek monument that is a white latticed tower crowned by a huge golden orb. Through a lift tourist can tour the inside of the golden egg, where you can ponder the symbolism, enjoy unrestrained views and place your hand in a print of President Nazarbaev’s palm looking eastward to the giant new presidential palace.

26. Kazakhstan Museum of Arts

The Kis one of the most interesting museums to visit in Kazakhstan. The museum houses some of the best art collection in the country that also contains art of those artists who were banned during the Soviet period. You will also find compilation of Russian and Western European art. Particularly interesting are the room of modern Kazakh handicrafts and the large collection of paintings by Abylkhan Kasteev (1904-73), to whom the museum is dedicated.

27. President’s Culture Centre

The luminous and blue-domed President’s Culture Centre houses the high-quality main museum. Inside the centre you can find traditional Kazakh substance – a brightly decked yurt, carpets, costumes, elaborate horse tackle. The archaeological section of this place houses models of some of the country’s most important old buildings, and the Hall of Gold and Precious Stones, with the obligatory Golden Man replica.

28. Duman

You can find Duman near to the Monument to the Dead of the Totalitarian Regime. It is one of the most famous tourist attractions of Kazakhstan. Duman is located in Astana and it is the city’s noisy modern leisure centre, with a collection of unappealing cafés and bars, Rodeo, Gladiator and Sumo rides, a 3D cinema and – what makes it worth visiting – a state-of-the-art Oceanarium with 2500 marine creatures from around the globe and a 70m shark tunnel.

29. Museum of Kazakh Musical Instruments

The Museum of Kazakh Musical Instruments is definitely worth a visit. You will find this museum in a prominent 1908 wooden building towards the eastern part of Panfilov Park; it is indeed the city’s most original museum. The museum has a fine collection of traditional Kazakh instruments – wooden harps and horns, bagpipes, the lutelike two-stringed dombra and the violalike qobyz.

30. KazMunayGaz

KazMunayGaz is to be found around 1.5km past Duman on Kabanbay Batyr. It is a large curved headquarters of the state energy company that appears on the right (west), looking across a flyover and along with the major showpiece axis of the new capital, 2km-long bulvar Nurzhol. The most daring of all Astana’s architectural fantasies, the Khan Shatyr, is going up behind KazMunayGaz.

31. Abay Museum

Abay Museum is one of the famous tourist attractions of Kazakhstan. It is a huge domed Museum that is dedicated to the nineteenth-century humanist poet Abay Kunanbaev. The museum has sections on the Alash Orda government and his literary successors along with displays about Abay’s life. The collection also includes Mukhtar Auezov, author of the marathon Kazakh novel Abay Zholy (The Path of Abay).

32. Almatinsky Nature Reserve

Almatinsky Nature Reserve is a famous rocky area that is an important habitat of the elusive snow leopard, among other rare species. This nature reserve also contains Mt Talgar, the highest peak in the Zailiysky Alatau at 4979m (16330ft), which takes experienced climbers four days to climb. You’re supposed to have special permits to enter the reserve; the experience is surely worth visiting.

33. Tamgaly

Tamgaly is a petro glyph location in the Semirechye. Tamgaly is one of the beautiful places to visit in Kazakhstan to be found almost 120 km towards the northwest of Almaty. The petro glyphs are largely comprises of Bronze Age, but in some cases from the Iron Age and the Medieval. The meaning of the name Tamgaly in Kazakh and also in other Turkic languages is “painted or marked place”. During the year 2004 it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

34. Kentau

One of the beautiful towns of Kazakhstan is Kentau, at the foot of the Karatau Mountains 30 km northeast of the city of Turkestan (City). Kentau was formed during the year 1955. In Soviet times, the population of the city was mainly from Russia, the descendants of the repressed: Greeks, Russians, Germans, Koreans, Jews, Chechens, etc. between 1980s and 1990s saw enormous emigration of population and the closures of mines and industrial enterprises.

35. Talgar

Another prominent town of Kazakhstan is Talgar, situated between Almaty and Esik, 25 km from Almaty and several kilometres east of Birlik. The first records of Talgar settlement were made by a Persian geographer in an ancient geographical treatise Khudud al-alem during the year 982. The settlement bore a name Talkhiz and was situated in the mountains of Semirechye at the borders of Turkic tribes Karluk and Chigils.

36. Atyrau

Atyrau is a transcontinental city and also the capital of Atyrau Province. You will find it situated at the mouth of the Ural River. The current city of Atyrau is renowned for its oil and fish industries. It has 154,100 inhabitants (2007), up from 142,500 (1999 census), 90% ethnic Kazakhs (up from 80%), the rest being mostly Russians and other ethnic groups such as Tatars and Ukrainians. The city of Atyrau offers some of the fairly interesting tourist attractions.

37. Petropavl

The city of Petropavl located close to the border with Russia, about 261 km west of Omsk along the Trans-Siberian Railway. Petropavl was established during the year 1752 as a Russian fort extending Russian settlement and influence into the nomadic Kazakh territories to the south, one of the famous tourist places of Kazakhstan. It is believed that this fort got its name after two Christian saints, apostles Peter and Paul. It was granted the status of city in 1807.

38. AkvaPark

AkvaPark is one of the famous spot for picnicking that is equally famous with tourist as well as locals. This central park to be found towards the south side of the river is reachable by a footbridge from the south end of Zheltoksan. The park is home to an antiquated funfair and the gleaming contemporary Akvapark, where you can find a good indoor pool with slides, and outdoor slides and pools open from around May to September.

39. AAnet Baba Kishikuly Mosque

The Anet Baba Kishikuly Mosque is one of the famous landmarks of the city; you will find it around 400 meters beyond the Fine Arts Museum. This magnificent mosque was constructed during the nineteenth century by Tatar merchants in noticeably different Russian-influenced style. It boasts twin minarets and a pillared interior with a big chandelier.

40. Islamic centre

The Islamic Centre is one of the famous places to visit in Astana. Detour a block south of the Transport & Communications Ministry to the new Islamic Centre with a beautiful four-minaret mosque. The mosque represents some of the impressive some of the best arts inside the walls of the mosque. The mosque’s interior is a beautiful multi-domed space with inscriptions and geometrical patterning in blue, green, gold and red.

41. Abay State Opera and Ballet Theatre

It is said that Abay State Opera and Ballet Theatre is Almaty’s major cultural venue; you wll get to see three or four performances a week at 18:30. You can also witness some of the best Classics like Swan Lake, La Bohème, Aida and Carmen. Also look out for Kazakh operas such as Abay and Abylay Khan.

42. Russian Orthodox Church

The Russian Orthodox Church is one of the famous churches you will find in Kazakhstan. You will find in the crumbling ‘old town’ towards the north of the public square. The church is a well-maintained Russian Orthodox Church that dates back to 1888, which emerges like a jeweled finger from the surrounding shacks.

43. Geology museum

The Geology Museum of Kazakhstan is surely one of the interesting places to visit in Kazakhstan. This famous Geology Museum is in the bowels of a structure opposite to the Hotel Kazakhstan. On the display you will find the nation’s mineral wealth with relief maps and touch-screen computers to provide quick geology lessons in English.

44. Monument to the Dead of the Totalitarian Regime

The monument to the Dead of the Totalitarian Regime is a famous monument to be found in Astana. You will find it located towards the southern part of the central park on the south side of the river, near Kabanbay Batyr. The monument is a heap with stark sculptures commemorating victims of Soviet repression.

45. Fine Art Museum

One of the Atana’s famous tourist attractions is the Museum of Fine Art. You will find it on Respublikia a little up from the President’s Culture Centre. This little attractive museum’s permanent collection includes some striking works and there are regularly changing temporary exhibitions. It is an informative place for children that can be enjoyable at the same time.

46. Tengri Umai

The Tengri Umai is one of the Almaty’s famous places to witness some of the best of Kazakhstan’s Arts and crafts. You will find that this gallery hosts some of the nation’s finest selection of modern art, by artists from Kazakhstan and other former Soviet republics. Bright colours predominate and there’s some very appealing work here.

47. Fantasy World

The Fantasy World is in Almaty and considered to be one of the best places of Entertainment in Kazakhstan Sights. It is indeed is an up-to-the-minute amusement park with rides that will thrill anyone – around T200 extra for the vertiginous Cobra loop or the ultra-popular dodgems. It is considered an ideal destination to visit with the entire family.

48. Karkaraly National Park

Karkaraly National Park is a famous national park in the Karaganda Oblast that is largely visited by tourist as well as locals. This national park features 153 species of birds, 11 of these species are in Kazakhstan’s Red Book of Protected Species. They are: Golden Eagle, Imperial Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Booted Eagle, Saker Falcon, Eurasian Eagle-owl, Dalmatian Pelican, Black Stork, Whooper Swan, Swan Goose, Pallas’s Sand grouse. It is an ideal destination for visitors of all ages especially kids loves it.

49. The Almaty Tower

The Almaty Tower was constructed between 1975 and 1983 in the city Almaty. You will find it situated on high slopes of Kok Tobe Mountain towards the south-east of downtown Almaty. Unlike other similar TV towers, it is not a concrete, but a steel tubular structure. It is the tallest free-standing tubular steel structure in the World. It is 371.5 m tall; its 114 m metal aerial reaches 1000 meters above sea level. This TV tower was designed to withstand earthquakes up to strength of 10 on the Richter scale.

50. Charyn Canyon

Charyn Canyon is an 80 km canyon in Kazakhstan on the Charyn River; it is part of the Charyn National Park, one of the famous places to visit in Kazakhstan. It was founded during the year 2004. The Charyn Canon stretches 154 kilometres along the Charyn River in the northern Tien Shan mountain range. In parts, it attains a depth of 150 to 300 metres.

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