Kazakhstan extends across both sides of the Ural River, it is one of only two landlocked countries in the world that lies on two continents (the other is Azerbaijan).
With an area of 2,700,000 square kilometres (1,000,000 sq mi) – equivalent in size to Western Europe – Kazakhstan is the ninth-largest country and also largest landlocked country in the world. When it was part of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan lost some of its territory to China’s Xinjiang and some to Uzbekistan’s Karakalpakstan. Kazakhstan shares borders of 6,846 kilometres (4,254 mi) with Russia, 2,203 kilometres (1,369 mi) with Uzbekistan, 1,533 kilometres (953 mi) with China, 1,051 kilometres (653 mi) with Kyrgyzstan, and 379 kilometres (235 mi) with Turkmenistan. Major cities contain Astana, Almaty, Karagandy, Shymkent, Atyrau and Oskemen. It lies between latitudes 40° and 56° N, and longitudes 46° and 88° E. While most of land is located primarily in Asia, a small portion of Kazakhstan is also located west of the Urals in Eastern Europe.
Kazakhstan’s area extends west to east from the Caspian Sea to the Altay Mountains and north to south from the plains of Western Siberia to the oases and deserts of Central Asia. The Kazakh Steppe (plain), with territory of around 804,500 square kilometres (310,600 sq mi), occupies one-third of the country and is the world’s largest dry steppe region. The steppe is characterized by large terrain of grasslands and sandy regions. Major seas, lakes and rivers include the Aral Sea, Lake Balkhash, Lake Zaysan, the Charyn River and gorge and the Ili, Irtysh, Ishim, Ural and also Syr Darya rivers.
The Kazakhstan’s climate is continental, with warm summers and colder winters. Precipitation fluctuate between arid and semi-arid conditions.