In the very center of Eurasia, the state of the Republic of Kazakhstan is located. It is one of the largest countries in the world in terms of area (9th place), but relatively few live here - 17.5 million people. Kazakhstan is proud of its rich cultural and historical past.
The very location of the state obliged it to become the crossroads of trade routes of the most ancient civilizations. In the Middle Ages, such powers as the Golden Horde, the empires of Genghis Khan and Timur existed on the territory of Kazakhstan, and later the Kazakh Khanate appeared.
New history is connected first with the Russian Empire, and then with the USSR. Now it is a democratic rule of law, leading a wise policy, preferring mediation to participation in geopolitical conflicts.
But the farther you leave this country, the more distorted information about it gets. And the 2006 film "Borat" about the expressive Kazakhstani TV presenter was filled with the most inconceivable templates and clichés about the country. It is no coincidence that this tape was tacitly banned there. We will consider the most common myths about Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan is a small country. With an area of 2.7 million sq. Km. the ninth country in the world and the second in the CIS. Suffice it to say that five Frances can fit on the territory of Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan is a land of steppes. Deserts and semi-deserts really occupy 58% of the country's territory. However, 10% are mountains. From the southern to eastern parts of Kazakhstan, along the border with China and Kyrgyzstan, the Tien Shan ranges lie. The highest peak in the country is Khan Tengri peak with a height of 6995 meters.
It's hot in Kazakhstan all year round. The climate is sharply continental. Summer in the country is really hot and dry. Temperatures can even reach 50 degrees; in July, the average in the south is 31 ° C. But at the same time, winters are very cold. Average January indicators range from -5 ° С in the south to -19 ° С in the north. There is not much snow here, and the anti-record temperature was -58 degrees in Atbasar.
Kazakhstan is a run-down Asian country. Against the backdrop of mighty China and Japan, most Asian countries look seedy. However, the Republic of Kazakhstan stands out against the general background. It is a transcontinental state with an advantage in Asia, but partly in the very east of Europe. It cannot be assumed that Kazakhstan belongs to the third world. Every year its GDP grows by 8% and is 17 thousand dollars per capita (47th indicator in the world). The country is the leader in the CIS in terms of foreign investment. The economy of Kazakhstan is based on non-ferrous and ferrous metallurgy, oil and gas production, natural resources. Both mechanical engineering and agriculture are developed here. The grain is exported to 40 countries. And in the south of the country there is the first and still the largest cosmodrome in the world "Baikonur". Kazakhstan is one of the leaders in terms of coal and oil reserves. And it is the world leader in uranium mining, and only Australia has more reserves of this element. Small and medium-sized businesses employ 3 million people, and there are about 1 million registered businesses. The average salary in the country is $ 700.
The capital of Kazakhstan is Almaty. Recently, there has been confusion with the capitals of Kazakhstan. In Soviet times, the capital of the republic was Alma-Ata, Almaty in a modern sound. It is still listed as the country's main city in some outdated reference books. But on December 10, 1997, the capital of Kazakhstan was transferred to the city of Astana. This decision was made by the Supreme Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan on July 6, 1994. The transfer had its reasons. Almaty, although it was the largest city in the country, was limited in its further development. Geographically, the metropolis is located in the foothills. Yes, and the seismically former capital was not safe. But Astana is located in the north of Kazakhstan, where it is more peaceful. There were demographic reasons as well. With the transfer of the capital, the authorities redirected the flows of migrants, potential labor force, to a new, dynamically developing area. As a result, the population of the capital grew from 327 thousand in 1998 to 852 thousand in 2015. Unofficially, Almaty is still called the Southern capital of Kazakhstan. And the word "astana" in Kazakh means "capital".
There is nothing for tourists to do in Kazakhstan. In 1993, the country became a member of the World Tourism Organization. Today it is an important part of the Silk Road intercontinental tourist route. External and internal tourism is managed by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports. Currently, about one and a half thousand organizations work in this area in Kazakhstan, relations are maintained with 80 countries of the world. Thanks to the well-established flight connection, you can get here directly from many countries. Kazakhstan offers visa-free travel to 40 states, including Argentina, Turkey, Hong Kong, Tunisia, Montenegro and the Philippines. In Kazakhstan, attention is paid to different types of tourism: water, mountain, skiing, ecological, ethnic, hiking and even extreme. International hotel chains are represented in Almaty and Astana, other large cities: Intercontinental, Holiday Inn, Ramada, The Ritz-Carlton. Most of the tourists in Kazakhstan are from Russia, Germany, England, Korea, China and Japan. And there is something to see. There are more than a hundred tourist routes and objects in Kazakhstan. Singing dunes, the Chimbulak ski resort, the Altyn-Emel and Kokshetau national parks, the mausoleums of Khoja Akhmed Yasavi and Arystan-baba, and ancient settlements are popular with guests. In the future, in 2017, Kazakhstan is preparing to host EXPO-2017 and the World Winter Universiade, which will only increase the country's tourist attractiveness.
Kazakhstan is an Islamic republic. According to the constitution, Kazakhstan is a secular multi-confessional country. Studies have shown that the involvement in religion here is only 43% - this is the lowest indicator for all of Central Asia. Islam is not the dominant religion in Kazakhstan. Today there are about 120 ethnic groups living in the country. Islam is the main religion (70% of Muslims), followed by Christianity (26%).
In Kazakhstan, women are forced to wear a burqa. Islam came to the territory of modern Kazakhstan in the 7th-8th centuries after the memorable victory of the Arabs in the battle on the Talas River (751). But religion here was not fanatical, but rather imitative. Today, the traditions of Islam in Kazakhstan are rather weak. This also manifests itself in the attitude towards women. Kazakh women never wore a burqa, although the clothes were long, but open (camisole). Along with the foundations of Islam, elements of the ancient Turkic religion, Tengrianism, came to the religion of the Kazakhs. And in the culture of the local people, many customs do not have Islamic roots. This is the absence of the same burqa and hijab in the women's wardrobe, amengarism (marriage with the wife of a deceased brother), tokal ibaybishe (partnership).
Kazakhs are the ancestors of the Cossacks. It is possible to compare Kazakhs and Cossacks only according to the meaning of a word with a different ending. Literally, ethnonym means "free" or "free". The word "Cossack" itself appeared in the middle of the 15th century. Then the khans Kerey and Zhanibek came to the Semirechye on the territory of Moghulistan Yessen-boogi. Then the Kazakh Khanate arose. And the new tribes who migrated here began to call themselves Cossacks or Cossacks. This word itself, translated from the ancient Türkic, means "independent", "free". The letters "k" and "x" in the speech were pronounced dully and firmly, in the Russian language it was established to write the word "Kazakh". And in tsarist Russia, in order not to confuse the Cossacks and Kazakhs, the latter began to be called Kyrgyz or Kyrgyz-Kaisaks. This is how the confusion appeared in the definition of the term "Kyrgyz", because this is a completely different people. Cossacks, as a social structure, appeared in the XV-XVII centuries. And this happened in the territories of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (Poland) and Russia. And the term "Cossack" got into different languages, differing in terms of phonetics.
There is a ban on pork in Kazakhstan. Not only is there pork in this "Islamic" country, it is also produced here. Of course, Muslims do not consume this product for religious reasons. But there are no problems with the purchase of pig meat in any market in Kazakhstan. Local pork is popular in catering chains specializing in Russian, European and national cuisines. Industrial lots of such meat and products from it are exported. The enterprises of Kazakhstan produce more than 100 thousand tons of pork per year, mainly it is sent to Russia and the CIS countries. The most commonly raised breeds of animals are Duroc, Landrace and Large White.
In Kazakhstan, girls study separately from boys. There are also myths about education in Kazakhstan. The fact is that in the pre-revolutionary country there really was separate education. The peculiarities of the upbringing of boys and girls were taken into account. There were male and female gymnasiums. There are several levels of education in modern Kazakhstan. It starts with preschool, then goes to secondary, higher and postgraduate. In the traditional system, groups or classes are mixed, not separate. Students of both sexes study together here. There are isolated examples of truly separate training. It manifests itself in the form of experimental classes, groups in Kazakh-Turkish lyceums, military schools. It is interesting that even at the Kazakh Women's Pedagogical Institute, one of the oldest in the country, young men are already studying.
There is a ban on casinos and slot machines in Kazakhstan. In the country, gambling establishments are not prohibited by law, but they are concentrated mainly in resort areas. One of them is in the Almaty region on the coast of the Kapshagai reservoir, and the other is in the Shchuchinsky district of the Akmola region. In 2007, a gambling law was passed, criminalizing violations of the rules. Today in Kazakhstan, a couple of dozen casinos and several dozen bookmakers are openly operating. The most popular casino is the Riviera on the Kapshagai coast. In addition to its own restaurant, this institution also has a swimming pool, beach and playground. The Laffaette casino is located in the Borovoe resort area. Persons under the age of 21 are not allowed in such establishments. The government plans to open another play area; a place has been found for it at the year-round resort Tengri Resort in the Almaty region, with an area of 6.5 hectares.
Kazakhs move off-road with the help of camels. Surprisingly, Kazakhstani roads are recognized as the best in the CIS. Some routes are capable of supporting trucks weighing up to 13 tons. 6 significant international transport corridors pass through Kazakhstan at once. And citizens move along the roads not at all on camels. Only elite cars in the country are registered about three thousand. These are Bentley, Maybachy, Ferrari, Lamorgini, Aston Martins and even Bugatti. In Kazakhstan, they love SUVs, the most popular of which is the Toyota Camry. In 2014, more than 53 thousand cars were produced in the country itself, which amounted to a quarter of all sold. Of these, about 42% are SUVs. They are a better and more modern alternative to camels.
In Kazakhstan, people are reserved and do not like guests. It is unclear where this opinion came from. Kazakhs are considered an open people with ancient traditions of hospitality. It is customary to welcome guests and treat them generously. The visitor was always allocated the most honorable place at the dastarkhan, while the dishes were served with a certain meaning. The konakasa tradition still operates in the country. It provides for a truce between the warring parties during the treat. The rich Kazakh table symbolizes brotherhood, friendship, unity. During the feast, the guest will be sure to ask about his family, loved ones, health. And for the elderly, a special dish is prepared - mushe. It is customary to eat collectively here. This ritual guarantees the honesty and good intentions of the parties. In ancient times, local peoples, in addition to swearing on the Koran, also ate a piece of flat bread. The inhospitable owners were ridiculed and condemned, the notoriety extended to the entire family. For stinginess, a fine was even due, such people were openly spat in the face. Today Kazakhs have preserved the traditions of their ancestors. They visit all families with gifts and treats. A guest in a home is considered an omen of something good.
There is a problem of anti-Semitism in Kazakhstan. In Borat, the protagonist said that in his country, Jews are simply thrown into a well. Such views even drew condemnation from human rights organizations. But this myth about Kazakhstan as an intolerant country is absolutely fictional. In reality, there is a thriving Jewish community here; not so long ago, the largest synagogue in Central Asia was opened. The event was attended by both the President of the country and the Chief Rabbi of Israel, and guests came from all over the world.
Women's rights are violated in Kazakhstan. All the same Borat spoke about the unenviable share of women in Kazakhstan. The hero was very surprised to learn that American women have voting rights. In fact, in Kazakhstan, women have the same rights as men. They run their own businesses, serve as ministers and judges.
Kazakhstan is among the leaders in the number of sexual crimes. Borat said that in addition to disco, archery and table tennis in his country, they are fond of rape. However, according to statistics, the number of sexual attacks in Kazakhstan is even lower than in the United States. True, most likely, not all cases are recorded.
Kazakhstan has a tradition of buying brides. The tradition of buying brides disappeared a hundred years ago. And although Borat told how he bought his first wife for 15 liters of insecticide, this is not true. Marriages are concluded by agreement of both parties. A man gives his bride an engagement ring, offering to marry him. In this regard, the traditions are quite secular and generally accepted.
Kazakhstan is not a modern country. The country is proud of its ancient history. Here you can find images of researchers who explored new lands on horseback. Nomads slept in yurts, moving across the steppe depending on weather conditions or the season. Caravans went through Kazakhstan along the Great Silk Road. But all this is history. Today the country is full of five-star hotels, smartphones and cutting edge architecture from the world's best specialists. Speed is not referred to in terms of horses, but in connection with the Internet. More than 52% of the country's citizens have access to it. Social networks have become the latest fashion, with thousands of young Kazakhs running personal blogs. For guests of the country who do not know the local language, it will not be difficult to find someone who speaks English. Especially in this regard, young people stand out. The citizens of the country are generally open and well educated, they want to develop. And this pleasantly surprises the guests of Kazakhstan.
Almaty is the business capital not only of Kazakhstan, but of the entire Central Asia. The largest film studios and offices of industrial organizations from Moscow to Mumbai are gathered here. And in the new capital, Astana, the modern face of the country is presented. The appearance of the city was formed by top architects from England, Italy, Japan. The skyscrapers of the capital are not inferior to world analogues. Restaurants with foreign chefs, like clubs, are an important part of the country's nightlife.
The film "Borat" was filmed in Kazakhstan, showing the real life of the country. The scenes, which supposedly take place in Kazakhstan, were filmed in Romania. And the characters spoke not Kazakh at all, but Romanian. Sasha Baron Cohen himself, who played the main role, spoke in a highly distorted Hebrew. Interestingly, he has never been to Kazakhstan.
Polygamy is allowed in Kazakhstan. Although the country is considered close to Islamic, polygamy is prohibited here. Modern couples are happy in traditional marriages.
China is quietly expanding into Kazakhstan. Even round tables of political scientists were devoted to Chinese migration. The threat of settling vast territories by silent and disloyal foreigners has become a real phobia for some Kazakhs. One in three believes that Chinese illegal immigrants undermine the labor market. Kazakhstan, rich in natural resources, really attracts the interest of its neighbor. However, studies conducted by sociologists have shown that there is no significant increase in knowledge about Chinese culture and interest in the internal life of China in society. This suggests that there is no massive penetration of emigrants. Only about a hundred people receive Kazakh citizenship a year; from 1995 to 2014, only 400 Chinese stayed here permanently. And even then, we are talking about ethnic Kazakhs who returned home. The Chinese prefer to go to the much more developed eastern regions of their country, to Southeast Asia or to the developed countries of the West.