This is the most Russified part of Kazakhstan but it’s also the location of the new capital Astana, chief crucible of the prosperous, multiethnic Kazakhstan of the future, an extravagant exercise in capital-city creation and the pole around which...
Love it or hate it, Astana is here to stay as Kazakhstan’s capital.
Ust-Kamenogorsk, a relatively prosperous regional capital, is the gateway to the Altay Mountains – one of the most beautiful corners of Kazakhstan but one for which you need to plan ahead because a border-zone permit is required.
Semey, 200km down the Irtysh from Ust-Kamenogorsk, is sadly better known to the world by its Russian name Semipalatinsk.
Most Westerners who come to Kazakhstan’s far west – so far west that the part beyond the Ural River is in Europe – are involved in exploiting Kazakhstan’s biggest oil and gas fields: Tenghiz (oil), Karachaganak (gas) and the offshore oil of...
Atyrau, 30km up the Ural River from its mouth on the Caspian Sea, began as a Russian fort in the 16th century and today acts as command station for the huge Tenghiz oilfield 200km south.
This beautiful 1319-sq-km patch of valleys and mountains climbing to the Kyrgyz and Uzbek borders east of Shymkent is the longest established (1926) and one of the easiest visited of Kazakhstan’s nature reserves.
Aralsk, 475km northwest of Kyzylorda on the same road and railway, used to be an important fishing port on the shores of the Aral Sea.
This quaint and tranquil farming village lies 1020m high at the foot of the Zhungar Alatau mountains which lie along the Chinese border.