Kazakhstan chocolate is one of the country’s landmarks in the confectionery industry, which is also loved by foreigners and anyone who has been fortunate enough to encounter this unsung treasure. These bars of semi-dark sweet chocolate are wrapped with the pride of Kazakhstan, which are packed and gift wrapped. Luckily for not only Kazakhs but for chocolate lovers you can find their chocolate in almost in every supermarket and chain store in Kazakhstan.
What is kurt you might ask? Kurt is a high-caloric sour milk product, invented by the Central Asian nomads. This product has a unique taste, and for a long time it has been eaten in the territory of Kazakhstan. Kurt helps one handle the heat and extreme conditions easier and it almost never goes bad. This is why kurt is one of the most practical gifts, you can take it anywhere without worrying about it spoiling.
Since the ancient times kamcha has been an essential attribute in every nomad’s house and is also a symbol of power. The Kamcha was inherited from father to son, and this is why nomads hang it on one of the kerege (a wooden folding grate at the base of the yurt) in the men’s territory of the yurt above the house’s threshold. They believe that the Kamcha also protects from evil people and spirits.
Clothes and souvenirs made of felt
A felt can be natural, made of 100% sheep’s wool while some can be a blend of wool and synthetic material. Felt slippers, vests and jackets protect from the cold and have some health benefits. Also modern Kazakh craftsmen create and design different decoration out of felt.
Usually decorative yurts are made of natural felt and they are the miniature version of nomads’ house. The yurt is a symbol of the family and the harmony that humans have with nature. A decorative souvenir is a great present for connoisseurs of the national attributes.
Traditional head-dresses and costumes
Kazakhs have a universal head-dress that is a circular-shaped skullcap called Taqiyah, which is worn by adults, children, men as well as women. The Taqiyah is sewn from high quality materials: soft cotton fabrics, silk, velvet and cloth. Usually they are decorated and embroidered with national ornaments, and beading. Kazakhs give their guests and honorable people national clothes as a gift: shapan (mens’ and women’s coat, caftan), jaulyk (head-dress of a married woman), kulish koilek (a dress), which reflects their life and culture. For those, who want to wear these kinds of clothes in everyday life, there are modern Kazakh designers that create day to day styles of clothing with traditional ornaments and symbols. This is a great way to show your taste in fashion while paying respect to your elders, relatives, and chiefs by presenting them with these memorable souvenirs.
Kazakh traditional instruments: Dombra, shankobyz
Shankobyz is an ancient Kazakh small and fragile musical instrument, which is made out of wood or metal. But the most popular instrument in Kazakhstan is the Dombra. In the earlier years of Kazakhstan, this musical instrument could be found in every yurt, as it was an essential part of Kazakh life. Today the Dombra is not only played, but it is also made as small souvenirs.
The most memorable gift that you will take with you back to your country is the hospitality of the Kazakh people. They are by far, some of the most hospitable and friendly people you will meet. They evoke only positive emotions with their treatment of people, especially foreigners, so that they will be remembered. That’s why, if you come to travel or for a business trip, you will certainly make friends for life here.
We are grateful to Kirillina Lett, Umakhanova Tamila, Aitkulova Rakhila, Graham Calder, Michael Kyllonen and Andrew Wick.