Kazakhstan Population, Main Cities and Geography

By | January 27, 2023

Kazakhstan Population, cities



According to Countryaah website, Kazakhstan has around 16.8 million residents.

Ethnic composition

It is noteworthy that only about 54% of the country are Kazakhs. With around 30% of the population, the Russians form the largest ethnic minority. Around 5% of the residents are Ukrainians, around 2.5% Uzbeks and 2% Germans. In total, over 100 officially recognized nationalities live in the country, in particular Belarusians, Igurs, Koreans, Poles, Dungans, Yakuts and Udmurts.

Religious affiliation

Muslim approx. 47%, Russian Orthodox approx. 44%, Protestant approx. 2%

National languages

Kazakh and Russian

Capital, other cities


The capital of Kazakhstan is Astana (the Kazakh word for capital) with a population of around 815,000 people and an area of 722 km². According to Abbreviation Finder, KAZ stands for Kazakhstan in English. Click to see other meanings of this 3-letter acronym.

Astana has been built since 1997 on the spot where the city of Akmola used to be. The Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa and his team created the master plan for the new capital.

The former capital of the country was Almaty. Astana is one of the windiest and coldest capitals in the world, so temperatures down to -40 °C are not uncommon.

Other cities are:

Almaty (Russian: Alma-Ata) with around 1.2 million residents,

Atyrau with around 200,000 residents,

Karaganda with around 409,000 residents,

Petropawl with around 200,000 residents, most of whom are of Russian descent ,

Baikonur, the der former Soviet Union served as a spaceport (cosmodrome) and is now leased by Russia for the same purpose from Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan geography

Area and land use

Kazakhstan covers a total area of 2,724,900 km². It is the 9th largest country on earth in terms of area. Check topmbadirectory for politics, flags, famous people, animals and plants of Kazakhstan.



  • ForestAround 7.5% of the country is forested area (around 21 million hectares).
  • Meadow/pasture landAround 190 million hectares are used as meadow or pasture land.
  • SteppeAround 26% of the country are steppe areas.
  • Arable land and fieldsAround 220 million hectares are used as arable land or fields.
  • DesertAround 44% of the country is desert and 14% semi-desert.
  • Water areasIn Kazakhstan there are a total of over 48,000 lakes with a total area of around 45,000 km²

Semipalatinsk atomic bomb test site

In the east of Kazakhstan, an area of around 18,500 km² is one of the most heavily contaminated regions on earth with radioactive substances – especially plutonium. On August 29, 1949, the first aboveground atomic bomb explosion of the former Soviet Union took place here. A total of over 500 nuclear weapons were detonated above ground here. After the agreement of 1963, which banned above-ground tests, around 400 further tests took place in underground tunnels and caves that were up to 2 km below the surface of the earth.

National borders

Kazakhstan shares a border with a total of five countries:

Russia with a length of around 6,470 km,

China with a length of around 1,470 km,

Kyrgyzstan with a length of around 980 km,

Uzbekistan with a length of around 2,300 km,

Turkmenistan with a length of around 380 km.


Kazakhstan’s coast on the Caspian Sea is around 2,340 km long.

Longitude and latitude

Kazakhstan extends over the following geographical latitude (abbreviation Δφ) and geographical longitude (abbreviation Δλ):

Δφ = from 40 ° 56 ‘N to 55 ° 26’ N Δλ = from 046 ° 31’E to 087 ° 50’E

The northernmost point of Kazakhstan is roughly on the same latitude as London and Berlin, the southernmost point roughly on the latitude of Madrid and Istanbul.

You can find detailed information on this subject under Longitude and Latitude.

Legal time

For Kazakhstan, the following value applies to Central European Time (CET), i.e. the time without summer time. A minus sign means that it is earlier there and a plus sign that it is later than CET. Kazakhstan has 2 time zones, it is:

Δt (CET) = +3 h to + 4 h

Further and detailed explanations of the time can be found under Time zones, time.

The highest point of the sun in Astana

Astana lies at a northern latitude of around φ = 48 ° (exactly: 48 ° 18 ‘).

If the sun is at the tropic, i.e. at δ = 23.5 °, summer begins in Astana, this is June 21. Then, for the highest position of the sun at noon, according to Eq. 1 (see position of the sun).

48 ° = (90 ° – h) + 23.5 °


H = 65.5 °

At 65.5 ° the sun in Astana has reached its highest level above the horizon for the whole year.


Pik Chan-Tengri massif

The highest mountain range in the country is the Pik Chan-Tengri massif in the Tun Shan mountains (not far from Almaty) in the country triangle Kazakhstan/China/Kyrgyzstan with a height of around 7,000 m.

The mountains are considered one of the most beautiful in the world and are the destination of numerous mountaineers from all over the world.

Obschtschy Syrt, Plateau des Vorurals, Mugadschargebirge

Further higher mountains are in the northwest of the country the mountain range Obschtschy Syrt and the plateau of the Vorurals as well as in the northeast of the pre-Caspian lowlands the Mugadschargebirge.


There are many large and small rivers in Kazakhstan, but many of them dry up in summer.


The longest river in the country is the Irtysh with a length of around 4,250 km – of which around 1,700 are in Kazakhstan. It rises in China in the Mongolian Altai and flows into the Ob in Russia (Siberia).


The Urals with a length of around 2,575 km – 1,100 of them in Kazakhstan.

The Urals rises in the Ural Mountains in Russia and flows into the Caspian Sea in the west of Kazakhstan.

Ishim River

The Ishim River is a tributary of the Irtysh, it has a length of around 2,450 km. Astana, the capital of the country, is located on the river.


The river has a length of 2,215 km – 1,400 km of which in Kazakhstan


The Ili rises in China and has a length of around 1,000 km – of which around 815 km in Kazakhstan. The river is one of the main tributaries of Lake Balkhash, into which it flows.


The Karatal about 400 km long river rises in the southwest of the Djungarian Alatau in Kazakhstan on the border with China. It flows into Lake Balkhash, which has no outflow, in Kazakhstan.


The river, which flows entirely in Kazakhstan, is the longest steppe river in the world with a length of 800 km.


The river has its source in the north of Kyrgyzstan (Kyrgyzstan) and “seeps away” after approx. 1,065 km in the deserts or semi-deserts of Kazakhstan.


The river has its source in the Karagandy area in the center of Kazakhstan and flows westward through the Kazakh threshold and flows into Lake Tengiz after around 980 km.

Irtysh-Karagandy Canal

The canal connects the Irtysh and the Nura over a length of around 500 km.

Lakes, Aral Sea

Kazakhstan has around 4,000 large and small lakes – but many of them are salt lakes

Aral Sea

The Aral Sea is an example of a dire human-made environmental disaster. In this respect, it can only be described as a natural beauty to a very limited extent.

The lake, which was approx. 68,000 km² in size until around 1960 and has no natural runoff, has now dried up so far that it has disintegrated into several separate lakes, including the southern ” Great Aral Sea “and the northern” Small Aral Sea “.

In 1960 the lake had a volume of approx. 1,090 km³ – in 2007 it was 75 km³. The area of the two lakes is around 13,000 km². The northern Small Aral Sea belongs to Kazakhstan, while the southern “Great Aral Sea” belongs to Uzbekistan.

Places that used to be on its bank and where, for example, fishing was carried out, are now far away inland. The main reason for the drying up of the lake is that the two main tributaries, Amu Darya and Syr Darya, have been drawing ever larger amounts of water to irrigate the areas under cultivation for cotton and other agricultural products since around 1929. In addition, the salt content of the lake has increased significantly, so that fewer and fewer fish can exist there.

It is encouraging, however, that efforts have recently been made to save at least the Little Aral Sea – so far with some success. However, its rescue operation is at the expense of the other part of the lake.

Lake Balkash

This approximately 18,428 km² lake is located entirely in Kazakhstan. The lake has a crescent shape with a length of up to 620 km and a maximum depth of 25 m – on average only about 6m. In the middle of the lake there is an approx. 4.5 km wide narrowing (Uzun-Aral-Straße), which divides the lake into two roughly equal parts. This gives the lake a curiosity. Its western part consists almost of fresh water, while the eastern part has a salt content of over 7%. The two main tributaries are the Ili and the Karatal.

Saissansee, Buchtarma Reservoir

The approx. 135 km long lake with an area of 1,810 km² is about 60 km west of the border with China. The main inflow of the lake is the Irtysh, which is dammed here and forms the Buchtarma reservoir. The reservoir floods the Saissansee and together with it covers an area of around 5,490 km².

Tengiz Lake

The Tengiz Lake is an approximately 1,950 km² large and maximum 8 m deep salt lake with no drainage, which is located in the middle of the Kazakh threshold. The main tributary is the Nura River, which flows into the lake.

The Kazakh threshold is a mountain range in the eastern half of the country. In 2008 it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. For more details see under sights.

Caspian Sea

Kazakhstan lies in the north and northeast of the Caspian Sea.

The Caspian Sea is the largest inland lake in the world as the lake is surrounded by land and has no natural connection to the oceans. With an area of 386,400 km² and a water volume of 78,700 km³, it also has the largest fresh water reserves in the world. Its main tributaries are the Volga, Urals, Kura, and Terek. The lake has no natural outflows worth mentioning, but there is a navigable connection to the Black Sea via the Volga, the Volga-Don Canal, the Don, the Sea of Azov – a tributary of the Black Sea and the Kerch Strait. In addition to Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan (in the west), Turkmenistan (in the east), Iran (in the south), Kazakhstan (in the north) and Russia (in the north) border the Caspian Sea.

The greatest depth measured from the water surface is around 1,025 m – with an average depth of 185 m.

The sea lies roughly in a north-south direction and has a length of around 1,200 km, with a maximum width in the southern part of around 425 km.

The most famous city on the Caspian Sea is certainly Baku – the capital of Azerbaijan.

Kazakhstan Population