Kazakhstan, a Central Asian state and the former Soviet republic, spans from the Caspian Sea to the foothills of the Altai Mountains in the south to China and Russia. Its largest city, Almaty, is an important trading hub whose famous landmarks include the Central State Museum of Kazakhstan, a restored Tsarist-century Russian Orthodox cathedral, and the Central State Museum of Kazakhstan itself, exhibiting thousands of ancient Kazakh artifacts. The country’s cultural attractions include the human imagination-fueled Futurism museum, the busting sky mountain, the spectacular Baikal National Park, and a thriving bazaar that has been trading goods since the 12th century. All these can be explored in a complete trip to Kazakhstan by embarking on train tours.
A major portion of the country is controlled by the people of Kazakhstan’s Muslim minority, who number about five million. These people follow Sufism, an Islamic faith, and follow the traditions of their ancestors. Kazakhstan’s government and businesses are also largely Muslim, making it an ideal destination for religious tourists.
Although Islam is the officially practiced religion in Kazakhstan, Buddhists and other spiritual sects continue to thrive there. The country’s most important spiritual tradition is the Spiritual Gathering, which is held in two distinct locations. At the weekend gathering, which is held in Astana, Kazakhstan, dozens of Buddhist monks and yogis attend classes and partake in meditation, yoga, prayer and other practices. The main gathering, the Festival of Light, commemorates the birth of Buddha in India in the year 3,500 B.C. and includes traditional fairs, concerts, dances and other entertainment.
A must-see tourist destination is the Earth’s magnet-like Gomtsovo deposit. A massive sulfur deposit, the Gomtsovo Deposit produces a huge amount of natural iron each year. The deposit is thought to span from two to three miles long, and contains diamonds, silver and zinc. Tourists can view amazing sights in this huge deposit, including diverse ecosystems, river systems and landscape features such as cliffs and formations.
Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, is another ideal destination for tourists interested in exploring ancient traditions and cultures. Visitors can travel to the ancient village of Shcherai and the Tuliputra Temples. The Ovgon-Khrushil Museum, an archaeological museum, exhibits a wide variety of artifacts from ancient Khoresms, such as artifacts made out of clay and terracotta, along with Khoreshtrian artwork, carpets and ceramics. The village of Dashauktay is home to a historic center that includes the Dashauktay Caves as well as the tomb of Magadiyan, a historical king of Khoresms.
The Tuapse National Park offers some interesting wildlife activities. The park has many animals that can be viewed through binoculars or a simple hike, including deer, foxes, roosters, owls, porcupines, and much more. The Nissa State Museum and its library house many useful resources for cultural activities, such as ancient texts. The museum also features a mammoth elephant, which is on loan from Germany. There are numerous other attractions in the area, which include an open-air marketplace and an ancient fort.
The Irkutsk Tourist Village is one of several places in Kazakhstan that are perfect for a cultural tour. This village features a train station and an enormous shopping mall, which feature both national brands and local goods. It is also home to an art museum, including works by famous architects and artists. Other attractions include the village itself, the village museum, the Pushkar Temples, an ancient Buddhist temple and an oil painting workshop.