Kazakhstan, also spelled Kazakstan (Kazakh: Қазақстан, Qazaqstan, IPA: [qɑzɑqˈstɑn]; Russian: Казахстан, Kazakhstán, IPA: [kazəxˈstan]), officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a country that stretches over a vast expanse of northern and central Eurasia. Ranked the ninth largest country in the world, it has a territory of 2,727,300 km² (greater than Western Europe). While located mainly in Asia, a small portion lies to the west of the Ural River and is technically in Europe (see Transcontinental country). It borders Russia, the People's Republic of China, and the Central Asian countries Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan and has a coastline on the Caspian Sea.
Despite its vast size, much of the land consists of semi-desert (steppe) terrain. In terms of population, Kazakhstan ranks 62nd in the world, with a population density of less than 6 people per square kilometre (15 per sq. mi.). The total population has declined somewhat since independence, dropping from 16,464,464 in 1989 to 15,300,000 in 2006. This is due to the emigration of ethnic Russians and Volga Germans, since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Kazakhstan, once the Kazakh SSR, is now a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
SILKROAD VOYAGER - Via Karakoram Highway