Kazakhstan is nested in central Asia between the Caspian Sea and the Altay Mountains and between the plains of Western Siberia and the oasis and desert of Central Asia. The Kazakh Steppe occupies a considerable portion, approximately 1/3, of the country's are. It is the world's largest dry steppe area, being characterized by waste areas of grasslands and sandy territories. The largest lake that lies entirely in Kazakhstan is Lake Balkhash, which is a hybrid lake, being half saline, half fresh water. The topography is considerably variable within Kazakhstan The highest elevation, Khan Tengri Mountain, on the border with Kyrgyzstan in the Tian Shan mountains reaches 6995 meters, while the lowest point of the country, at Karagiye, in the Caspian Depression, lies 132 meters below sea level. Only 12.4 % of Kazakhstan is mountainous, the most considerable ranges are located in the Altay and Tian Shan mountain ranges, and the Ural Mountains also extend southward from Russia into the northern part of central Kazakhstan. Numerous peaks of the Altay and Tian Shan ranges are covered by snow all year, and their run-off is the source for most of Kazakhstan's rivers and streams.
Major cities include, Nursultan (capital since June 1998, formerly known as Astana), Almaty (former capital, once known as Alma-Ata and before 1917 as Verny), Shymkent (Chimkent), Karaganda, Semey (Semipalatinsk) and Turkestan, once known as Yasi.
Kazakhstan Physical Map
Physical map of Kazakhstan, equirectangular projection
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Kazakhstan physical features
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