The ‘Land of Wanderers’
Wherever he goes, Dimash will say to everyone ‘Welcome to Kazakhstan!’
[Source: Ruth Dimash.co.uk.] The Republic of Kazakhstan (the ‘land of the wanderers’) is the nineth largest country in the world spanning two continents, Asia (mainly) and Europe. It has a population of 17-18 million but a land area of 1,052,085 sq miles.
The official languages are Kazakh and Russian. Kazakhstan has borders with China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and although Mongolia doesn’t share a border, they are within a few miles of each other. It also adjoins a large part of the Caspian Sea.
Its’ terrain is diverse (steppe, flatlands, deltas, mountains, canyons) as are the temperatures (summers +28ºC; winters -18ºC).
Historically, the region’s climate and terrain has been suited to a nomadic lifestyle and was for many centuries part of the ‘Silk Road’ trade route between the east and the west. This network of ‘Silk Routes’, along with the trading of many goods and merchandise, also exchanged cultural ideas like art, religion, philosophy, technology, language, science and architecture.
However, if we look at the past 100 hundred years of Kazakhstan’s history, it’s people have endured huge loss, pain and brutality. Under Stalin’s Soviet regime in the 1930’s and it’s ‘forced collectivisation’ ideology, it is estimated that over 1.75 million Kazakh people died of starvation and during the second World War many were conscripted to fight for Russia without weapons. It is estimated that Kazakhstan lost 30-40% of its population during the 1930s and 1940s.