Borat and the Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

“Journalist” Borat Sagdiyev made waves worldwide with his film “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.” Surrounded by controversy, the mockumentary was nevertheless nominated for Best Motion Picture at the 2007 Golden Globe Awards and Best Adapted Screenplay at the 79th Academy Awards.

According to the fourth most famous son of Kazakhstan (i.e. Borat), his country was founded in 903 A.D., when the Mighty Hawk Ukhtar pecked the Great Egg (i.e. Earth) open and out it came. Here, tourists can enjoy a round of ping pong, which is the most popular sport, or visit the Kazakh State Circus to see the dancing bears of Tarashenk, Gogol the Clown, and Lily Utmarkan, the former Olympic gymnast. Borat also invites visitors to catch a concert at the Hueylewis Stadium or have some quality time with the family at the Astana Funworld Resort Town.

In reality, Kazakhstan is a country bordered by Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. Present-day Kazakhstani are descendants of nomads who roamed the deserts and steppes with their livestock. Kazakhstan is home to the endangered mountain-dwelling snow leopard, which locals are trying to save by protecting and preserving the animal’s habitat. The country has huge potentials for ecological and historical tourism, and has implemented a state program to save and restore important stops along the Silk Road – a once-vital trading route between East and West – in the southern part of the country.

The archaic “town of merchants”, Taraz, for example, is known for its bazaar, workshops, and metal craft. Otrar, on the other hand, was a fortress the Mongols tried to invade on their way to Central Asia. Sufis travelled to the “second Mecca”, Turkestan, where the mausoleum of preacher and poet Ahmed Yasawi can still be found today.

Ship cemeteries” along the Aral Sea; spaceship launchings at the Baykonur cosmodrome; unearthly sounds at the sandy Singing Barhan mountain; 4,000 cave drawings at the Tamgaly Canyon; Tamgaly-Tas (stones with ancient drawings on them) by the Ily River; sandstone castles at the Charyn Canyon; a winter sports complex on the Medeo mountain… Kazakhstan has so much to offer to sightseers looking for something different.

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