Upon, Beside, Above, Beneath the Soil

By Jheri St. James

Sky of golden sun,
Steppe of golden seed,
Legend of courage -
Take a look at my country.

“An unknown country with a size of entire Western Europe, and with centuries-old culture and traditions? For many years this land kept her secrets as ‘terra incognita’ right on the brink of Asia out of reach of the world. Probably, this country lacks the Caribbean-style beaches, enigmatic underwater reefs or world famous museums. But instead even the most sophisticated traveler can find here so many incredible places that will definitely impress much more that any previously visited natural beauties and classic-type “must-visit views”.

“The endless steppes of this country may look soundless and lifeless, and the local rivers probably are less impressive than their sisters somewhere in South America or Africa. However the Mother Nature of these lands is the true core of the soul of local people who are just the guests, staying by chance in her Realm.


“It may be not a Paradise that many people around the world are looking for, but that in fact doesn’t exist on our planet at all. But this is a land where brave and wise people were born, and want to make it much better for future generations. Be sure that they don’t want to stay unknown – their achievements, dreams and aspirations, undoubtedly, will make a name of this land really recognizable and respectful for those, who aspire to open their minds and souls towards something new, challenging and promising…” Yuri Sigov (“Unknown Kazakhstan” is an attempt of the author,Yuri Sigov, to open for the readers interested in Central Asia the little known pages of the rich culture and dramatic history of Kazakhstan, predicting the “oil-and-gas” prospects of this equal to the Western Europe by territory country, which from the backward past is skyrocketing to the enlightening future.)

* * *
From the antiquity
Our heroic glory emerged,
They did not give up their pride
My Kazakh people are strong!

* * *


“Hi Gary,

“I was going to write you, even started the e-mail but it was just crazy busy here—I’m organizing the Smithsonian seminar in Kazakhstan, and they are coming here this Saturday. I was also sick for some time, and before that I was opening the international exhibit.

”I was making many phone calls to DHL during these past weeks, but they have not returned any. Anyway, the package is cleared now and should be arriving here shortly. I just spoke with our shipping department yesterday, and they talked to DHL. I also asked my colleague in Almaty to collect some soil from the historic sites (she is there right now), so then we’ll send them the container.

“I’ll keep you informed on the progress.

“Dina Bodaubay, Sultural Affairs Specialist, US Embassy Astana, Kazakhstan


“Dear Mr. Simpson,

#1 –
“Finally, its getting warmer in Almaty! I am happy to inform you that I have almost completed my important mission! I have collected a soil sample and I am ready to ship it to you. I have red (sic) your instruction and now I am going to mail that to you through DHL.

“I know that the pictures are important, but I have lost my USB cord from my camera, so it will take me several days to email you some pictures.

“I have written a little description** of a place where the sample was collected. It was taken on the street that has a name of one of the greatest and popular Kazakh musicians.”

#2 -
“This is the soil sample from Kazakhstan! I filled up the plastic bag as it was written in your instructions. Hope, I’ve done everything correctly!

“I am very impressed with the work that I you have been doing! It is a tremendous project! I wish you to successfully complete it soon and I am sure it will make great resonance in the world of art!

“Please, let me know if there is anything else I can help you with!

“Sincerely, Aisulu Nurgosha”

#3 –
In the soil package: “Shamshi Kaldayakov Street (nearby his house). Shamshi Kaldayakov is my mom’s favorite composer.”


“The soil was collected at nearby Shamshi Kaldayakov’s house, which is located on one of the central streets (named after him) in Almaty-city, the ex-capital of Kazakhstan. Shamshi Kaldayakov is one of the most famous Kazakh composers, the author of the national anthem of the Republic of Kazakhstan – ‘My Kazakhstan.’ He was born on August 15, 1930, in South-Kazakhstan oblast (county). In 1956-62, he studied at the music conservatory in Almaty. Shamshi Kaldayakov is the author of more than 300 songs including my lyric songs about youths that were very popular in Kazakhstan. Many Kazakh stars perform his songs even nowadays. His song ‘My Kazakhstan’ was adopted and performed for the firs time as National Anthem of the republic of Kazakhstan at the reception for the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev on January 11, 2006. The composer died in 1992. His name was given to the central music hall and a street in Almaty city, where this soil sample was collected.

My country, my country,
As your flower I will be planted,
As your song I will stream, my country!
My native land — My Kazakhstan!


Vast in size, the terrain of Kazakhstan ranges from flatlands, steppes, taigas (coniferous forests), rock-canyons, hills, deltas, and snow-capped mountains to deserts.

By the beginning of the 19th century, all of Kazakhstan was part of the Russian Empire. Following the 1917 Russian Revolution and subsequent civil war, the territory of Kazakhstan was reorganized several times before becoming the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic in 1936, a part of the USSR. Kazakhstan declared itself an independent country on December 15, 1991, the last Soviet republic to do so. It is now considered the dominant state in Central Asia.

Kazakhstan has 131 nationalities in residence, including Kazakh, Russian, Ukrainian, Uzbek and Tatar, and other ethnic groups who were deported during Stalin’s rule. Many different beliefs are represented in this country, which allows freedom of religion. Historians believe that humans first domesticated the horse in the region’s vast steppes.


The way was opened to the posterity
I have a vast land
It’s unity is proper,
I have an independent country.


Located in Eurasia, Kazakhstan is the world’s largest landlocked country, its territory of 2,727,300 km2 is greater than Western Europe. It is neighbored clockwise from the north by Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and also borders on a significant portion of the Caspian Sea. The capital was moved in 1997 from Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, to Astana.


* * *

Erlan A. Idrissov is Kazakhstan’s ambassador to the U.S., stationed in Washington, D.C. As such, he must deal with international issues affecting Kazakhstan. Headlines on his current blog include the following:

  • President Nazarbayev’s Visit Strengthens Bilateral Ties
  • Embassy of Kazakhstan holds its first ever online seminar
  • Trip to Chicago
  • Roundtable Report Enhancing Asia’s Security Dialogue: The Role of CICA, Thursday, June 17, 2010

  • Birds of prey and ancient burial grounds draw tourists to Kazakhstan
  • IDRISSOV: Kazakhstan unfairly criticized in human rights case. Activities can’t kill people with impunity.
  • Roundtable event: Assessing the Need for an OSCE Heads of State Summit in 2010
  • Central Asia Newswire now Available
  • Anti-Israel Rant Drowns out CICA’s Display of International Cooperation

Janibek Bektemisov, Attache to the Embassy, sent us an envelope containing photos of political Kazakhstan: the buildings of the government and the parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Celebration Palace and business center, featuring modern curvilinear architecture and a few minarets. Here is a selection of those:

Upper L: The Mosque. Upper R: Cascade Fountains at the Zn. Omarov Street. Lower L:The Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Lower R: The monument to Kazybek BI, Tole BI, Aiteke BI. Thanx to Janibek for these photos.

It welcomed the time
Like an eternal friend,
Our country is happy,
Such is our country.


2009 09 26
By Michael Cohen | AllNewsWeb.com

Media outlets as well as the official government website in Kazakhstan are reporting the surprise discovery of local geoglyphs or ‘Nazca Lines’.

Geoglyphs are drawings created on the ground by arranging stones or removing the top layers of earth. These designs typically cover large areas.

The Kazakh lines show a strange figure crouching between two structures.
Image by N. Dorogov

The most famous geoglyphs are those found in the Nazca desert in Peru. These show hummingbirds, spiders, monkeys, fish, sharks, llamas, and lizards.
The Kazakhstan Geoglyphs (photo above, thanks to photojournalist N. Dorogov) appear to depict a humanoid figure wedged between two unusual structures. The drawings are located in the remote Karatau Mountains in South Kazakhstan.

Geoglyphs are of interest to UFO researchers, some of whom believe they might be messages or markers created by ancient people for the benefit of visiting extraterrestrials. It is alleged by these UFO scholars that in times of distress these were a way of asking ‘Star Gods’ to return and Assist these early societies, however this hypothesis has not been proven.

It is expected that some scholars of extraterrestrial matters will claim that the being shown in the drawing might well depict an alien that once visited the area and interacted with the locals.

Kazhakstan is an area of intense UFO sightings and activity. Recently the Kazakhstan Government toyed with the idea of creating a UFO landing field and an alien embassy. Article from: AllNewsWeb.com, www.redicecreations.com

My country, my country,
As your flower I will be planted,
As your song I will stream, my country!
My native land — My Kazakhstan!


Kazakhstan, the largest of the former Soviet republics in territory, excluding Russia, possesses enormous fossil fuel reserves and plentiful supplies of other minerals and metals. Kazakhstan’s industrial sector is primarily focused on the extraction and processing of these natural resources. Kazakhstan enjoyed double-digit growth in 2000-01 and 8% or more per year in 2002-07, thanks largely to its booming energy sector, but also to economic reform, good harvests, and increased foreign investment. In the energy sector, the opening of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium in 2001, from western Kazakhstan’s Tengiz oilfield to the Black Sea, substantially raised export capacity. In 2005, Kazakstan completed the Atasu-Alashankou portion, and in 2009, the Kenkiyak-Kumkol portion of an oil pipeline to China that will extend from the country’s Caspian coast eastward to the Chinese border, according to plans.

The country has embarked upon an industrial policy designed to diversify the economy away from over-dependence on the oil sector by developing its manufacturing potential. The policy changed the corporate tax code to favor domestic industry as a means to reduce the influence of foreign investment and foreign personnel. The government has engaged in several disputes with foreign oil companies over the terms of production agreements, most recently, with regard to the Kashagan project in 2007008 and the Karachaganak project in 2009. (www.cia.gov)

* * *

Sincere rakhmet (thank you) to all the people involved in this collection — Dina Bodaubay, Aisulu Nurgosha, Yuri Sigov, Janibek Bektemisov, and Erlan A. Idrissov, with sound track by Shamshi Kaldayakov--for helping us at Common Ground 191 understand the properties of the soil of Kazakhstan — upon, beside, above and beneath the earth there. The deeply meaningful word for peace in Kazakhstan is “Suisimuiivik beibitshilik.”


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