The Republic of Kazakhstan is located in the central part of the Eurasian continent, at an equal distance from the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Area of the country is 2724.9 thousand km². This indicates that the country is the 9th largest in the world and the 4th among the countries of Eurasia. Seven major European countries such as France, Spain, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Italy and the UK could be simultaneously accommodated in steppes of Kazakhstan, according to topographers.
Kazakhstan is neighboured by Russia, China and other Central Asian countries, such as Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan and also a considerable part of the border goes through the Caspian Sea.
The country is rich in oil and minerals, and according to many specialists, almost all elements of the periodic table could be found in Kazakh land.
Kazakhstan’s nature distinguishes with landscape diversity: deserts or semi deserts can be found in the South-West, mountains are natural attractions of the Central, East and South-East Kazakhstan, and North of the republic is mainly in the steppe and forest steppe zones.
About 48000 lakes are found in Kazakh steppes, mountains and deserts, the largest of which are the Caspian Sea, the Aral Sea, lakes Balkhash, Zaysan, Alakol and Tengiz. Lakes with sandy beaches, among beautiful scenery are popular tourist destinations in summer.
There are more than 7 thousand rivers in the country. The major ones are: Ertis (Irtysh), Esil (Ishim), Oral, Syrdariya and Ili. The majority of rivers in Kazakhstan belong to the basins of the Caspian and Aral Seas, Lake Balkhash and Tengiz, and only Ertis, Esil and Tobol carry their water straight into the Kara Sea in the Arctic Ocean.
Fauna of Kazakhstan is multifarious as well: more than six thousand plant species grow in the country, about 500 species of birds nest here; local rivers and lakes serve as a home for 107 species of fish, steppe and forest steppe zones are inhabited by 30 thousand species of insects. Herds of gazelles and wild koulans can be met in steppes of Kazakhstan. Deserts are dwelled by giant lizards, snakes, and rare species of spiders. Tops of mountains are a favorite habitat of snow leopards. Among the unique animals living in Kazakhstan are: Ustyurt wild sheep, Turkestan lynx, Tien-Shan brown bear, flamingo, some types of swans.
Typically, most of major cities are located on the banks of major rivers. Among the largest cities of the country are: Astana, Almaty, Karaganda, Shymkent, Taraz, Pavlodar, Kokshetau, Kostanay, Petropavlovsk, Ust-Kamenogorsk, Semey, Uralsk, Kyzyl-Orda; overall there are 86 cities and towns in Kazakshtan. The percentage of urban population is 56%.
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