Atyrau — Asia Travel

thumb-300x199Atyrau (former Guriev) – is considered to be the Oil Capital of the country, a large industrial town in the western (European) part of Kazakhstan, situated near the northern coast of the Caspian Sea on both sides of the Ural River. The city is the hub of Atyrau region, according to the statistics from 2010, its population is 231 thousand people.

The climate in region is varies from sharply continental to moderate, characterized by hot, long summers and cold, snowy winters.

The city has an amazing story, originating in the distant 1640 year, when Yaroslavl merchant Guri Nazariev together with his sons founded a wooden fort at the mouth of the river Yaik (Ural) and called it as Ust-Yaik town. The main occupation of the first settlers was originally a fishing of valuable sturgeon and its delivery to the royal court, in exchange for protection and permission to fish exclusively. However, in 1645 year, the Nazarievo family had to build fortifications around the village, in order to protect themselves from the brutal attacks of Nogai Khan.

Generally, Lower Yaitsky stone town, this settlement had namely such a name after the construction of walls around it, was known as free-thinking and unreliable place for the government. That was the reason why, in 1667 year Stepan Razin came here with a detachment in order to survive the winter and gain strength for further action. However, in February of the following year, 3000 archers, who were sent here, could quell the rebellion, forced him to leave the Cossack to Persia through the Caspian Sea.

In 1685 year customs outpost was established there, which contributed to the development of transit trade, and, as following, gave a considerable profit to the treasury. However, already in 1689 year, Guryev fishing was confiscated by order of government, as it was considered to be totally insolvent.

In April of 1717 year Russian expedition that was going into Khiva under the command of a geographer, traveler and explorer Alexander Bekovich Cherkassky, visited Lower Yaitsky.

In 1734 year, Lower Yaitsky town got the official name – Guriev, named after its founder — the head of the family Nazarievo.

In January 1774 year, by order of Pugachev, the detachment of his associate, Andrei Ovchinnikov conquered the town by storm, those who resisted,were violently executed. In May of this year, punitive detachment of the tsarist army, who arrived from Astrakhan kicked the troublemakers out of town and freed Guriev. After that in 1775 year, by decree of Catherine II, in order to obliterate the memory of Emelyan Pugachev, the river of Yaik was renamed for Ural.

In 1865 year, Guryevsky district was formed there, and the Guriev, respectively, became its administrative center.

In 1911 year, petroleum deposit was discovered near the city, which was called as Emba, and the following year, the English «Shell» started full-scale oil production in the fields of Dossor, Iskin and Makat.

The Soviet government came to Guriev only in January of 1920 year. But over the years of socialism, the city became the largest center of petroleum and chemical industries, oil pipelines Guriev-Orsk (1935) and Uzen-Samara have been laid here.

In 1992 year the town became part of the independent Republic of Kazakhstan, and was renamed in Atyrau.

«Atyrau», according to a literal translation from Kazakh – is the mouth or delta of the river, and local people from time immemorial called this way all the north-east coast of the Caspian Sea, and Guriev, including.

These days, Atyrau – is a modern industrial city, the main source of replenishment of the treasury which, as before is the oil and fishing industries. Here companies in oil refining, oil equipment plant, as well as the largest fish cannery in Kazakhstan are successfully functioning.

Transportation in the city is represented by bus, shuttle and urban taxis.

There is an international airport at five kilometers from the city, there are also the railway and bus stations into its boundaries.

Attractions in Atyrau.

Regional History Museum.

Atyrau historical museum – is a real hotbed of promoting the culture of peoples of Kazakhstan. The most ancient and valuable exhibit there is the jug, found in 1909 year in the village of Saraichik. The special unique of the pitcher is in the survived inscriptions of the thirteenth century — a fragment of the poem Zhusup Balasaguni.

The statuette — «Golden Man» dated from II century BC, found in 1999 year during the excavations in the area of Zhylyoi is also among the most valuable exhibits.

The most interesting part of the exhibited collection – is traditional jewelry of the Kazakhs of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, made from silver and gold, color inserts, natural and semi-precious stones.

The museum also stores products of arts and crafts. Among them, there is a very interesting copy of embroidered camisole, which belonged to Khanum Fatima – the wife of Zhangir Khan, and many other artifacts.

Mosque of «Imangali.»

The mosque is located on the street Satpayev in the city center. This is a huge building with total area of 9358 square meters. Inside it there is a main hall with a balcony for 600 people and a small hall for women with 100 seats. The premises were separated from each other by a wooden grating — pandjara. The structure is crowned by a large dome with a diameter of 7 meters and a height of 23 meters. In addition, two minarets were built on the both sides of the mosque, the height of which is 26 meters.

The ancient town of Saraichik.

According to reports, Saraichik (which means «small» in Kazakh) — is one of the oldest monuments of Kazakhstan, however, today it is not a historical excavation, but the memorial complex on the site of ancient ruins.

The composition of the memorial ensemble includes:
-The so-called Khan’s pantheons, each of which has eight faces, and reaches 17 meters in height. Between them there is a monument to the seven khans, governors, who were buried in Saraichik, where their names and dates of the rules were engraved on a black marble slab.
-The current mosque with the length of 13 meters and width of 6.5 meters. Its pride is considered to be the unique library, where along with the Koran other religious books are stored. Weekly Friday prayer is hold in the mosque. It is richly decorated and equipped with modern technology.
-The museum that holds many artifacts from local excavations. Here, the large-scale view of the layout of the city Saraichik in the XIV century is of particular interest.