Wednesday, November 11, 2020

2020 Travel the World - Week 45

I started a Travel the World Series last year. (It should be noted that I did a similar thing in 2018, only it was the 50 states.) For 50 weeks in 2019, I visited a different country (virtually) and shared facts about that country. I then selected one tidbit of information about that week's country as inspiration for a card. Fifty weeks; fifty countries... BUT there are 195 countries in the world so that was just a little over 25% of them. Of course I couldn't stop, so this year I'm continuing with fifty more countries, one per week.

This week's country is...


I was excited to travel virtually to Kazakhstan this week, since I've actually been to this country on two different occasions - in 1999 on my very first international mission trip, and again the following year. I have such fond memories of the people I encountered there and the beauty of this nation that is rich in history.

Kazakhstan is the ninth largest country by area in the world and the largest landlocked country.

Although Kazakhstan is a landlocked nation, it still has a navy. The Kazakh Naval Forces (KNF) operate on the Caspian Sea, a massive inland sea that is technically a lake as it is not connected to the ocean. The KNF is around 3,000 personnel strong and operates using around 14 inshore patrol crafts.

Kazakhstan shares a border with Russia to the west and north, China to the east, Kyrgyzstan to the south-west, Uzbekistan to the south, and Turkmenistan to the south-east.

The highest point in Kazakhstan is Khan Tengri of the Tian Shan mountain range. At 23,000 feet, it is also the world’s most northern 7000-m peak. The lowest point in Kazakhstan is the bottom of the Karagiye Depression at 433 feet below sea level. Located east of the Caspian Sea, it is one of the lowest elevations on Earth.

Kazakhstan is home to part of the Eurasian Steppe (sometimes called The Steppe), the largest grassland in the world. It extends from Hungary to China and reaches almost one-fifth of the way around the Earth.

The people who live in Kazakhstan represent more than 120 nationalities.

Kazakhstan has two official languages - Kazakh and Russian.

Summers are sizzling hot and winters are chilly in Kazakhstan 

The traditional nomad home of the Kazakhs is known as a yurta. It is comprised of a collapsible tent, with a wooden frame, covered in felt. Its name comes from the Kazakh word meaning “community,” “people,” or “family.” I actually saw MANY yurts while in Kazakstan, but most of them were not as fancy as this one.

The historic Silk Road, the traditional buying and selling route that linked China with Europe and the Middle East, runs through Kazakhstan.

There are 27,000  historical monuments all through Kazakhstan, including the Golden Man, a Scythian warrior clad in gold armor. It is considered to be Kazakhstan's most vital archaeological discovery. It should be noted that the Golden Man may have in fact been a woman.

Archaeological excavations performed in Kazakhstan recommend it's the homeland of the Amazons, the courageous tribe of feminine warriors. 

Apple trees originated in the mountains of Central Asia. Scientists believe that the first apple trees grew around Almaty, the former capital of Kazakhstan, as far back as 20 million years ago. The name Almaty means “a place of apples.” Many wild apple trees still grow in parts of Kazakhstan.

If you spell out the name of Kazakhstan in Scrabble tiles, their combined value is 30, which is one more than that of United States of America. The only one-word country scoring more than Kazakhstan in Scrabble tiles is Mozambique (34).

The first man in space (Yuri Gagarin) and the first artificial satellite (Sputnik 1) were both launched from a cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The majestic and elusive snow leopard, a threatened species, is found in Kazakhstan. They live in the mountains in eastern Kazakhstan. They are notoriously shy and may grow to 150 pounds. Kazakhs have long revered the animal for its bravery, independence, and intelligence. The snow leopard is considered a national symbol in Kazakhstan.

Many different species of lizards are found in Kazakhstan’s deserts, including the gray monitor lizard, the world’s largest lizard, which is found only in the Kyzlkum Desert.

The golden eagle is one of Kazakhstan’s national symbols. Kazakhs revere it as a symbol of power and strength as it is a master of the skies. The female bird is actually larger than the male, measuring 3 feet  from beak to tail. The average bird has a wingspan of 7 feet. Golden eagles can also be found in the mountainous regions of the Western United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Kazakh men do not normally shake a woman’s hand in mixed company. Upon entering a room, they usually use both hands to shake hands with every other man in the room.

Kazakh and American women both got the right to vote on August 26, 1920.

A controversial Kazakh wedding tradition that still happens occasionally is alyp qashu, or bride-napping. The groom-to-be hires friends or relatives to bring the bride, with or without her consent, to his female relatives, where she is given a special neckerchief, which she must accept to show she consents to the marriage.

Horseriding is significant in Kazakh culture which also includes the traditional sport of kyz kuu, which translates as “girl chasing”. The sport is basically a form of “kiss chase” on horseback. A woman sets off on a horse chased by a group of men, also on horseback. The aim of the game is to catch the girl and kiss her while both are still at full gallop.

A time-honored Kazakh test of horsemanship is called kumis alu (Pick up the Coin). The goal is for a rider to gallop at top speed and, at the same time, pick up a silver coin from the ground. Kazakh legend says that Alexander the Great, after seeing an exhibition of kumis alu, was so impressed that he exclaimed the game could be used in the training of a warrior on horseback. Today, a white handkerchief is used instead of a coin.

Lake Balkhash in Kazakhstan is one of the largest lakes in the world. One part of the lake contains fresh water, and the other is made up of salt water.

Sleep hollow is a medical term used to describe a disease that causes people to sleep for days or weeks at a time. In March 2013, the disease was reported in Kalachi, a remote village in Kazakhstan, and killed 152 people. It disappeared for some time before reappearing once again in mid-2015. The disease does not cause people to sleep peacefully but enter a state of hallucination accompanied by vomiting, nausea, and disorientation. The affected people complained of always feeling sleepy and their normal lives were severely affected. Even animals were not spared. Investigations have revealed that leakage of toxic gases from nearby mining sites could be responsible for the lethal symptoms of sleep hollow.

Kazakhs believe that whistling a song inside a building will make you poor for the rest of your life.

The Medeo Sports Center, located near Almaty, Kazakhstan, boasts the highest skating rink in the world at 5,545 feet (1,690 m) above sea level. It also has a surface area as large as two football fields.

Kazakhstan is the world’s leading producer of uranium, the heavy metal used widely in nuclear energy production.

Kazakhstan’s Tengiz oil field is one of the largest in the world at 12 miles wide and 13 miles long, covering 970 square miles. It is also one of the largest discoveries in recent history and helps make oil the country’s number one export.

The default order of coffee in Kazakhstan is a mug of sugar with some coffee – Kazakhs like their coffee very sweet!

In the bakeries of Kazakhstan, you can buy sweets, cakes, pastries – and sausages.

It is commonly believed that there are more horses than women in Kazakhstan.

I decided to let this Kazakhstan fact be the inspiration for this week's card... 
Ancient Kazakhs were the first people in the world to domesticate and ride horses.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp Set
: My Favorite Things Pure Innocence Stirrup Some Fun stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers

Papers: Accent Opaque 120# White and SU Early Espresso and Real Red CS and DP from my scrap file

Punch: SU Banner

Embellishments: Eyelet Outlet Enamel Dots


Lynn McAuley said...

Super cute card, Jeanette! Love that sentiment!

Carol W said...

Jeanette I love your card. You are so creative and come up with such clever and unique ideas. You are a true inspiration. Thank you for all your wonderful cards and support. You are AMAZING!!!

kiwimeskreations said...

Loved hearing about Kazakhstan Jeanette - what a fascinating place!! Your card is a sweetie and illustrated the fact your chose beautifully
Stay safe