President Nursultan Abishuly Nazarbayev since 1991.
Head of government:
Prime Minister Serik Nığmetulı Akhmetov since 2012.
220 volts AC, 50Hz. Round two-pin continental plugs are standard.
Unexplored by many, Kazakhstan is an intriguing and little-known land of vast plains, mountainous horizons and beautiful culture.
South Kazakhstan is a focus of Central Asian history, featuring many famous monuments. It is a scenically diverse region where the snow-capped peaks, lakes and glaciers of the Tian Shan range give way to steppe and desert. The desert is home to the Singing Barkhan - a sand dune 3.2km (2 miles) long, which, as it crumbles, produces a peculiar singing sound.
Almaty was until very recently the former capital of Kazakhstan and it enjoys a beautiful setting between mountains and plains; it is a city of modern architecture, cool fountains, parks and spectacular mountain views.
Most visits to Kazakhstan are trouble-free.
Travellers should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate international terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.
There is an underlying threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.
You may travel to most places in Kazakhstan, but travel to any 'closed territories' or secure areas require advance permission from the relevant authorities. Some military/restricted areas are not clearly marked so care should be taken when travelling away from normal routes.
With the exception of Air Astana Airlines, all Kazakh airlines are refused permission to operate services to the EU because they do not comply with internationally accepted safety requirements. It is advised that you avoid flying with the airlines subject to the EU operating ban.
This advice is based on information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. It is correct at time of publishing. As the situation can change rapidly, visitors are advised to contact the following organisations for the latest travel advice: British Foreign and Commonwealth Office Tel: 020 7008 1500. Website: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice