Cities in Kazakhstan
Astana (Aqmola) — second largest city, and capital since December 1998. Worth visiting but you only need a few days to get to the most recommended sightseeings. The city is brand new and being built very rapidly. If you want to see what Akmola (Astana previous name) looks like, you need to do it now as the old city is disappearing quite rapidly.
Atyrau — oil capital of Kazakhstan, where large onshore Tengiz and offshore Kashagan oilfields are located.
Almaty — largest city, and capital prior to December 1998. Definitely a must-see. Beside the Soviet-style city, you may want to go to the Medeu and other places in the nearby mountains.
Karaganda — industrial city between Astana and Almaty; worth visiting if you like mining history.
Pavlodar — Kazakh city in very north of the country, founded in 1720, closed until 1992 for its military significance in tank production, and home to one very impressive mosque, as well as other interesting Orthodox churches and various memorials
Shymkent — Kazakhstan’s third largest city, very crowded with Uzbek people, it is an old market town located near Tashkent and some beautiful mountains; now booming with oil exploration,
Turkestan — another ancient city, long a border town between the Persian culture to the south and the Turkic nomadic culture to the north, now majority Uzbek and home to several important cultural-historical monuments
Ust-Kamenogorsk — Majority Russian mining city in the Altai mountains