Kazakhstan is a first country in this series, there will be more coming soon about all the other countries I have found amusing and interesting. Like Oman, Benin, Iran, Azerbaijan, Jordan and many many more.
My Kazakhstan trip was a great adventure, a bit too short, as they country is huge but a lot of great memories. Oh well, I guess I will have to go back at some point!
Interesting, funny and quirky facts about Kazakhstan.
1. No ground floor
There is no institution of ground floor. You are on the 1st floor straight away. Especially confusing every single time when I was trying to go down with the lift.
I was like: ‘Wait! What? Which button I should choose?’ And not because I’m dumb, simply to used to having ‘zero’ button everywhere else around the world! :)
2. Shisha State
I named Kazakhstan ‘The Shisha State’.
Maybe Kazakhstan is not the first country which comes to your mind when you think about shisha but really everyone smokes it everywhere at any time of the day! Who would think?!
UPDATE: Now smoking shisha is banned in Kazakhstan.
3. Holland Tulip – National Symbol
The national symbol of the country is Holland Tulip. Originated in the mountains and around steppes of Kazakhstan.
Strangely hardly anyone is aware of that. I have discovered this fact only thanks to my pure curiosity.
In the centre of Shymket there was huge Tulip Fountain and tulips lights everywhere. It was bothering my mind. I have asked lady in my hotel. And then many people who I met on my way. Nobody knew. They were all telling me they just like flowers!
As usual Google had the answer and I could go to sleep peacefully.
4. First man on the horse?!
Kazakhstan is believed to be the country where man first climbed on a horse. And to be honest I’m not really surprised by this information.
It is all about horses and horse riding here, once you leave big cities of course!
5. Muli culti..
It is the most multi national and multi cultural country on Earth. Over one hundred different nationalities are living here.
You can noticed it in every aspect of life. Food is the best example. From Russian pelmeni through Kazakh supra and manty, Ukraine red borsch, Uzbek plov to Chinese rice dumplings. And now, I’m not talking about trip across Asia, just Kazakhstan. Lol
6. Navy Issue
Although Kazakhstan is a very long way from any sea, it does have a navy! It is based on the land-locked Caspian Sea.
7. 3 New Year’s Eves!
Kazak people celebrate three New Years Eves. For real!
Two official ones. First on the 1st of January, by the Gregorian Calendar. Second on the 22th of March, it is called Nauryz, and it is Persian origin. And one unofficial on the 14th of January, by the Julian Calendar. The legacy of the Soviet times.
Tree times a year? Nothing to complain about I guess! Lol
8. 99 out of 110
Out of 110 elements from the Mendeleev’s table of chemical elements 99 were detected on the Kazakhstan territory.
So does soil in this country is rich or just toxic? I will leave that to your imagination ha ha ha Just a little hint, I’m back from the trip and still nothing unusual grown on or in my body! LOL
9. Largest landlocked country?
It is the largest landlocked country in the world. Stretches from Siberia to desserts of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. And from China to Caspian Sea. It is so large, that distance from one end to another is about the same as London – Istanbul route.
10. 3 time zones
Kazakhstan has three times zones, depending on the season of the year GMT +4, +5 , +6.
Three New Year’s Eves, three time zones… maybe 3 is a magical number here?
11. Mysterious 2030
The Magic and Mysterious number 2030. Wherever I have traveled there were signs with this number. Often only a number. Nothing more. No information neither explanation. Even in places where hardly anyone lives. Now I know it’s the government’s info campaign about 2030 General Plan, but once I was there I found it surreal.
12. Every car is a taxi!
Every car is a taxi. There are not many official taxis and even those do not have fixed prices.
I actually loved it. You just wave on the street, cars stop, discuss the destination and price and hop on. No calling, no waiting, no hustle. Perfect! But better if you can speak Russian!
13. More women or horses?
There are more horses in Kazakhstan than women. This is what I have heard from many many locals. It was like a mantra!
After traveling the country and seeing all the women, I can only say it means they really have an extraordinary amount of horses! Lol
14. Kazakh = wanderer
The word “Kazakh” means “independent” or “wanderer”. The official translation says “free independent nomad”. Maybe that is why I felt so good in Kazakhstan, it is like my spiritual soul mate.
15. First man in space?
The first manned space flight took place in 1961 from the Baykonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with Yuryi Gagarin, a Russian cosmonaut.
Russia is renting out this province from Kazakhstan until today. Maybe that why they are in such good connections! Can you imagine Russia loosing the spot? LOL
16. Fermented horse milk?
Koumiss, the traditional drink made from the fermented horse milk. Called the milk champagne by malicious. “The Great Russian Remedy for Wasting, Debilitating and Nervous Diseases” from Treatise on Koumiss from 1877. I hate it! My adventurous attitude of trying everything once was a mistake! Never again ha ha ha
17. First Amazons?
Archaeological excavations conducted in Kazakhstan suggest that it is the homeland of the Amazons. The brave women warriors. You are welcome all my history lovers!
18. Apple Land
South-east Kazakhstan is the place where apples were first cultivated. From where they were spread around the world. They have biggest apples on the world. They even have city named after them – Almaty.
And I thought that we Polish people are crazy about apples!
19. All climate zones
Here one can find practically all climatic zones. From the torrid deserts through steppe and forest to eternal snows of the mountain heights reaching beyond the clouds.
20. First to repay all debt! –
Kazakhstan became the first former Soviet Republic to repay all debt to the IMF. Seven years before it was due, thanks to booming oil and metals industry.
Let me only say. It was a truly superb experience to visit this extraordinary country.