|Area|| total: 2,717,300 km2
water: 47,500 km2
land: 2,669,800 km2
|Population||16,402,861 (July 2009 est.)|
|Language||Kazakh (official, state language) 64.4%, Russian (official) 95% (2001 est.)|
|Religion||Muslim 67%, Russian Orthodox 24%, Protestant 2%, other 7%|
Kazakhstan is by far the largest of the Central Asian states of the former Soviet Union. It has borders with Russia, China, and the Central Asian countries of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. It is the world's ninth biggest country by size, and it is more than twice the size of the other Central Asian states combined. Its lack of significant historical sites and endless featureless steppe have put many off Kazakhstan, while many still are captivated by the emptiness and mystery of this goliath state. It will be many travellers' first port of call on their Central Asian adventure, and there is much for the intrepid traveller to enjoy. Kazakhstan is the richest country in Central Asia, due to its large oil and natural gas reserves. The country is also the largest landlocked country.