Kazakhstan, officially Republic of Kazakhstan, has the population of 15,186,000 people and territory 2,719,500 sq km, is situated in central Asia. It borders on Siberian Russia in the north, China in the east, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan in the south, and the Caspian Sea and European Russia in the west. Astana is the capital and Almaty (Alma-Ata) is the largest city. Other major cities include Shymkent, Semey, Aqtobe, and Oskemen.
Kazakhstan consists of a vast flatland, bordered by a high mountain belt in the southeast. It extends from the lower Volga and the Caspian Sea in the west to the Altai Mts. in the east. It is largely lowland in the north and west, hilly in the center (Kazakh Hills), and mountainous in the south and east (Tian Shan and Altai ranges). Kazakhstan is a region of inland drainage; the Syr Darya, the Ili, the Chu, and other rivers drain into the Aral Sea and Lake Balkash. Most of the region is desert or has limited and irregular rainfall.
The population of Kazakhstan consists mainly of Muslim Kazakhs and Russians; there are smaller minorities of Ukrainians, Germans, Uzbeks, and Tatars. Kazakh, a Turkic language, is the official tongue, but Russian is still widely used.
Despite Kazakhstan's largely arid conditions, its vast steppes accommodate both livestock and grain production. Wheat, cotton, sugar beets, and tobacco are the main crops. The raising of cattle and sheep is also important, and Kazakhstan produces much wool and meat. In addition, there are rich fishing grounds, famous for their caviar-producing sturgeon, in the Caspian, although these have been hurt by overfishing.
The Kazakh Hills in the core of the region have important mineral resources. Coal is mined at Qaraghandy and Ekibastuz, and there are major oil fields in the Emba basin. The country's industries are located along the margins of the country. Steel, agricultural and mining machinery, superphosphate fertilizers, phosphorus acids, artificial fibers, synthetic rubber, textiles, and medicines are among the manufactured goods. Temirtau is the iron and steel center. The Baikonur (Bayqongyr) Cosmodrome in central Kazakhstan was the Soviet space-operations center and continues to serve Russian space exploration through an agreement between the two nations. The main trading partners are Russia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
Almost all people are fond of travelling. It is very interesting to see new places, another towns and countries. People may travel either for pleasure or on business. There are various means of travelling. For me there is nothing like travel by air; it is more comfortable, more convenient and, of course, far quicker than any other means. There is none of the dust and dirt of a railway or car journey, none of the trouble of changing from train to steamer and then to another train.
With a train you have speed, comfort and pleasure combined. From the comfortable seat of a railway carriage you have a splendid view of the whole countryside. If you are hungry, you can have a meal in the dining-car; and if a journey is a long one you can have a wonderful bed in a sleeper.
Travelling by ship is also very popular now. It is very pleasant to feel the deck of the ship under the feet, to see the rise and fall of the waves, to feel the fresh sea wind blowing in the face and hear the cry of the seagulls.
Many people like to travel by car. It is interesting too, because you can see many sights in a short time, you can stop when and where you like, you do not have to buy tickets or carry your suitcases.
A very popular means of travelling is hiking. It is travelling on foot. Walking tours are very interesting. Hitch-hiking is a very popular method of travelling among young people. But it is not as popular in our country as abroad.
My Native Town - Мой родной город
There are many beautiful cities and towns in the world. I would like to visit some of them, to see with my own eyes what I have read or heard about. But there is no place like home. I love my native city. I was born here and live with my parents. It's not the capital, but it is a wonderful place to live.My city is old and modern at the same time. It is old because it was founded in the 11th century. At that time its streets were narrow, dark and dirty. Now my city looks modern because of its architecture. Almost all the buildings were built after the war. The streets and avenues are wide and clean.I live in the main street. It is the widest street in the city. A lot of cars, buses and trolley-buses run fast along it. If you want to see the places of interest in our city, you can walk along the main street. It leads to the main square. It will be a short trip, but you can see a lot: a cinema and a concert hall, an art gallery and museums, a stadium, a zoo and a large park.
Our art gallery is next to the main post office. Opposite the post office there is a modern hotel. If you turn to the left, you can see a theatre. And in front of the theatre there is a museum of history and culture. Walk two blocks and you'll come to a monument to our famous writer and a fountain in the park. If you want to visit our zoo, take a bus and get off on the third bus stop. Not far from the traffic lights you will see the entrance to the zoo. Near it there is a circus. Children and tourists can't but visit it. They admire funny clowns, tamed animals, miracles and magic. There are only some churches in our city. Every evening we can hear the sound of the bells.
Our city stands on the river. Parks, lanes, bridges across the river, small water falls and man-made islands add much to the beauty of the city.
Just come and see everything with your own eyes. It is better to see than to hear.
The poisoning of the world's land, air, and water is the fastest-spreading disease of civilisation. It probably produces fewer headlines than wars, earthquakes and floods, but it is potentially one of history's greatest dangers to human life on earth. If present trends continue for the next several decades, our planet will become uninhabitable.
Overpopulation, pollution and energy consumption have created such planet-wide problems as massive deforestation, ozone depletion, acid rains and the global warming that is believed to be coused by the greenhouse effect.
The seas are in danger. They are filled with poison: industrial and nuclear waste, chemical fertilisers and pesticides. The Mediterranean is already nearly dead; the North Sea is following. The Aral Sea is on the brink of extinction. If nothing is done about it, one day nothing will be able to live in the seas.
Every ten minutes one kind of enimal, plant or insect dies out for ever. If nothing is done about it, one million species that are alive today will have become extinct twenty years from now.
Air pollution is a very serious problem. In Cairo just breathing the air is life threatening- equivalent to smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. The same holds true for Mexico City and 600 cities of the former Soviet Union.
Industrial enterprises emit tons of harmful substunces. These emissions have disastrous consequences for our planet. They are the main reason for the greenhouse effect and acid rains.An even greater environmental threat are nuclear power stations. We all know how tragic the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster are.
People are beginning to realise that environmental problems are not somebody else's. They join and support various international organosation and green parties. If governments wake up to what is happening- perhaps we'll be able to avoid the disaster that threatens the natural world and all of us with it.