by Pitoy Moreno
“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime? It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset?”
I may rarely see the flight of fireflies at dusk, the feel of warm air coming from a buffalo’s nostrils in the cold of winter, or the shadows that moves when nightfall sets in, but I can show you some breath-taking views of a place known for its taigas, flatlands, snow-capped mountains and picturesque seas.
For a time I thought I was the only Filipino living here in Kazakhstan, but diaspora made sure it wasn’t true. The saying that “in every nook of the earth, there is a Filipino” came real. As one among the few expatriates working in an enchanting place somewhere in Central Asia and Eastern Europe, I could say so.
About the size of Texas in the USA, Kazakhstan is nestled south of Russia. On its eastern border is China while Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan are located in the south. The Caspian Sea and part of Turkmenistan are in the west.
The territory is rich in mineral resources. From out of the 1,177 mi (1,894 km) of coastline of Caspian Sea, is a huge deposit of oil discovered in 2000, the largest ever found in the last 30 years. A fuel pipeline connects the Tengiz oil field of western Kazakhstan to the Novorossiysk, a Russian Black Sea port. Another pipeline brings oil to China.
From the beginnings of human history, it is in this country where the first horses have been first domesticated. From the tribes of the once nomadic Kazakhs and their neighbors has evolved the distillation of a cultures so diverse and interesting.
Sparsely populated through the ages, Kazakhstan has been part of the Soviet Union until its independence in December 16, 1991. In this beautiful locale are memorable awesome red sunsets, pristine blue skies, and numberless grains of sand on the seashore—among the most wonderful scenes I have seen. In addition, there is this buzz of industrial and cultural activity that spurs the country’s growth and hope for the 21st century. They make me remember our country, the Philippines. (Photo Credits: Pitoy Moreno,Xhancock; Anguskirk)=0=
Republic of Kazakhstan
National name: Qazaqstan Respublikasy
President: Nursultan A. Nazarbayev (1990)
Prime Minister: Karim Masimov (2007)
Land area: 1,049,150 sq mi (2,717,300 sq km); total area: 1,049,150 sq mi (2,717,300 sq km)
Population (2008 est.): 15,340,533 (growth rate: 0.3%); birth rate: 16.4/1000; infant mortality rate: 26.5/1000; life expectancy: 67.5; density per sq km: 5
Capital (2003 est.): Astana, 288,200 (formerly Aqmola; capital since 1997)
Largest cities: Almaty (former capital), 1,045,900; Karaganda, 404,600; Shymkent, 333,500; Taraz, 305,700; Pavlodar, 299,500; Ust-Kamenogorsk, 288,000; Aqtöbe, 234,400
Monetary unit: Tenge
Languages: Kazak (Qazaq, state language) 64%; Russian (official, used in everyday business) 95% (2001 est.)
Ethnicity/race: Kazak (Qazaq) 53.4%, Russian 30%, Ukrainian 3.7%, Uzbek 2.5%, German 2.4%, Tatar 1.4%, Uygur 1.4%, other 4.9% (1999)
Religions: Islam 47%, Russian Orthodox 44%, Protestant 2%, other 7%
National Holiday: Independence Day, December 16