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Geography of Kazakhstan.
Travel by trains across Central Asia.
Kazakhstan covers an area of 2,717,300 sq km (1,049,155 sq mi), making it by far the largest country in Central Asia. It was the second largest republic of the former Soviet Union, after Russia. Although high mountain ranges fringe the republic’s eastern and southeastern borders, the terrain of Kazakhstan consists mostly of deserts, steppes (vast, semiarid grassy plains), and hilly upland areas.
Deserts and semideserts (such as stone, salt, and sand wastelands) cover more than two-thirds of Kazakhstan’s surface area. The most expansive deserts in the republic are the sandy, barren Qyzylqum, which also occupies part of Uzbekistan, and the clay-crusted Betpak-Dala; both are located in the southern portion of the republic.
Kazakhstan contains extreme variations in elevation. The Tian Shan mountains contain the country’s highest point, Hantengri (6,398 m/20,991 ft), which lies in the extreme southeast where the borders of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and China meet.
The Altay Mountains along the country’s eastern border also contain high peaks. Kazakhstan’s lowest elevation is found in the extreme southwest, just east of the Caspian Sea, where the Karagiye Depression lies 132 m (433 ft) below sea level.
The area north of the Caspian, in northwestern Kazakhstan, is occupied by the Caspian Depression, which also extends into Russia. The landscape of Kazakhstan varies dramatically. Lowlands and plains occupy the north, north-west and south-west of the country. The central part is occupied by the Kazakh low hills, also called the Sary-Arka.
The-Tien Shan, Zhungarskiy Alatau, Saura, Tarbagatai and Altai mountains occupy the largest area in the extreme South and south-east, where a lot of extremely high peaks. The Ustyurt desert Plateau is in the south-west of the country, and is surrounded by formative slopes; chunks from surrounding it plains.
A considerable part of the Republic is occupied by sandy deserts. The highest point in Kazakhstan - the Khan Tengri Peak in the Tien-Shan Mountains - reaches 7010 m. The lowest point - the Karagiye Cavity, located 132 m below sea level - is at the Mangystau Peninsula in West Kazakhstan.
The mountainous regions of Southern and Eastern Kazakhstan and some of the Kazakhstan low hills - are places of popular recreation. Opportunities for sports, active recreation and general tourism commend these regions.
"Zhetysu is the Land of tourism”. A Tourist Guide-book. Almaty. 2003. 68 p. and the material for this page is taken from the printed edition."Guide to Kazakhstan" Baur Publishing House. 2002