Geography in Kazakhstan
With an area of approximately 2,725,000 square kilometers, Kazakhstan is the largest landlocked country in the world. It lies roughly in the middle of Eurasia and stretches from the Volga plain in the west to the Altai Mountains in the east. In addition, 5% of the area, geographically speaking, belongs to Europe. The southern limit is formed by the Tian Shan mountain range, the Syr Darja river plain, the Aral Sea and the Kyzylkum desert. To the north, Kazakhstan extends into the Ural region and the West Siberian lowlands without any natural boundaries. Most of the country consists of steppes and deserts. In the northwest lies the Mugodschar Mountains, while in the southeast mountains of the Tian-Shan rise up to 7010 meters.
Kazakhstan borders Russia to the north, the People’s Republic of China to the east and the Central Asian states of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan to the south.
The relief of Kazakhstan is very diverse, although most of the territory consists of plains, low mountains and hills. The west of the country is shaped by the Caspian Depression, a mostly swampy area below sea level that merges into the Ustyurt plateau in the east. To the west of this plateau, on the Mangghystau Peninsula, is the deepest point in Kazakhstan at 132 meters below sea level.
From the east, the Caspian Depression is bounded by the southern foothills of the Ural Mountains, the Mugodschar Mountains, which are up to 656 meters high. Further southeast around the Aral Sea is the Turanian Depression, which also includes the largest deserts in the country, the Kyzylkum and the Aralkum. In the center of Kazakhstan is the Kazakh threshold, an area characterized by steppes and semi-deserts with many medium-high mountains and mountain ranges. In the northwest, the Kazakh Threshold is bounded by the Turgai Plateau and in the north by the West Siberian Plain. In these regions the landscape is characterized by fertile steppes and forest steppes with many lakes and rivers. In the east of the republic are the forest-covered, up to 400 m high mountain ranges of the Altai, which separate Siberia from the Central Asian deserts.
The Hunger Steppe lies south of the Kazakh threshold. Even further south of this steppe and Lake Balkhash lies a belt of deserts, Mujunkum, and the formerly fertile land of the Seven Rivers. In the very south of Kazakhstan, on the borders with China and Kyrgyzstan, there are high mountains such as the Djungarian Alatau, the Qaratau and above all the Tian-Shan. The latter is one of the highest mountain ranges on earth. The mountains, which are partly covered by forests and especially by glaciers, reach a height of 7439 m in neighboring Kyrgyzstan. The highest mountain in Kazakhstan is Khan Tengri, located in the extreme southeast, at 7010 meters above sea level. NN.
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Flora and fauna in Kazakhstan
Due to its size and extent over many natural zones, Kazakhstan has an extremely rich flora and fauna. Many cereal plants and grasses grow in the steppes and forest steppes of the north, including medicinal plants such as B. Valerians occur. Typical tree species such as birch, aspen, willow, oak and linden tree include berry bushes, rodents, hares, badgers, wolves, foxes, occasionally wild boars and deer and in the steppe the rare and protected saiga antelope. Birds and waterfowl such as swans, eagles, bustards, vultures, cranes, herons, ducks, geese, woodpeckers, larks and others populate the sky. The biodiversity is lower in the semi-deserts. The larger mammals here include wolves and korsak foxes, saiga and head gazelles, however, the semi-deserts are predominantly inhabited by smaller mammals such as mice and hares. Wormwood, chamomiles and feather grasses often grow. The most widespread natural area in the country are the deserts, which are mainly home to smaller mammals and reptiles. In the high mountain regions of the Tien Shan, which are largely covered by spruce forests, one encounters one of the heavily decimated and threatened national symbols of Kazakhstan, the snow leopard, which almost only survives in nature reserves. Lynx are also widespread and there are numerous bears in the Altai Mountains. Ibex and wild sheep are also found. The seal colonies on the Caspian Sea, which are a result of the time before the last Ice Age, when there was a connection between the Arctic Ocean and the Caspian Sea, are exceptional.
National parks and nature conservation in Kazakhstan
There are 13 national parks in Kazakhstan, mainly in the south and east of the country.