Kazakhstan (Kazakh: Қазақстан, translit. Qazaqstan, IPA: [qɑzɑqˈstɑn] ( listen); Russian: Казахстан, IPA: [kəzɐxˈstan]), officially the Republic of Kazakhstan (Kazakh: Қазақстан Республикасы, translit. Qazaqstan Respýblıkasy; Russian: Республика Казахстан, tr. Respublika Kazakhstan), is the world's largest landlocked country, and the ninth largest in the world, with an area of 2,724,900 square kilometres (1,052,100 sq mi). Kazakhstan is the dominant nation of Central Asia economically, generating 60% of the region's GDP, primarily through its oil/gas industry. It also has vast mineral resources. Some argue that Kazakhstan may be considered a European country because Kazakhstan's Western region is on the European continent and meets the Council of Europe's criteria for European inclusion.
Designated the capital city of Kazakhstan in the late 1990s, Astana boasts a landscape glittering with new architecture and construction projects as the government infrastructure continues to be built. Old and new quarters of the city are divided by the Ishim River, with older, Soviet era structures on the north side while the governmental quarter and monuments like the monolithic Bayerek Tower spread out to the south. The central Avenue of the Republic is a hub of entertainment and business.
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