We begin our Five Stans tour in Kazakhstan, an amazing country with no shortage of tourist attractions. Kazakhstan is the ninth largest country in the world, and the largest in Central Asia. It is a country rich in minerals, and also has large natural oil and gas reserves. The geography of this country is spectacularly diverse, ranging from lush northern forests to wide flat steppes, then gradually going into regions more and more arid until reaching the deserts in the south of the country. This diverse landscape alone is reason enough to entice visitors to take the Five Stans tour. However, there are also many other factors about Kazakhstan that contribute to the overall enjoyment of those who decide on Five Stans travel. One of those factors is the hospitable nature of the Kazakh people. Stemming from the country’s longstanding nomadic culture, visitors are treated as honored guests in Kazakhstan homes. Respect for guests and the elderly, as well as tolerance for religious and other differences, are ingrained from childhood. You will find this same attitude in most of the countries on the Five Stans tour.
Although Islam and Christianity are the dominant religions of Kazakhstan, the general attitude is a peaceful tolerance and acceptance. In fact, many people among the population of Kazakhstan actually profess to have no religious affiliation, a holdover from the years of Soviet rule.
The principal city of Kazakhstan is Almaty. Like many other major cities on the Five Stans tour, Almaty is established on the site of an ancient settlement dating from the third century BC. The city has a long history full of both joyful and sorrowful periods, reflecting the political, social and economic influences of various eras. This is another common thread among the ancient countries on the Five Stans tour.
Situated at a high altitude in the beautiful mountains, the stunning scenery in Almaty is one of the most impressive among all the Five Stans countries. Tourists are thrilled by the natural beauty, the ravines, rivers and streams, the mountain glaciers, and the ice-blue mountain lakes. The primary source of the water supply to the population of Almaty is the rivers and lakes from the majestic mountains.
The rich historical heritage of Kazakhstan is preserved for posterity in the fascinating museums and monuments that can be found throughout the country. Great care has been taken to pass down to future generations the history of this ageless region, and it is with pride that tourists to the Five Stans are welcomed to this ancient land.