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My native town

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Marina Marina | 04:12 UK time, Saturday, 14 August 2010

Hi dear friends!

As I promised I'm going to tell you about my native town Zhezkazgan. I was quite surprised to meet here two people from there (Vadim and Askar). Anyway I'm sure they'll recognize some places I'm going to describe in this entry.

I never mentioned that people in Kazakhstan speak two languages - Kazakh and Russian (as Kazakhstan was the part of Russia for almost 260 years). They both are official in our country. There're three members of our family who speak both Kazakh and Russian languages - my father, sister and nephew. Neither my mother nor I speak Kazakh. Actually people who moved to Zhezkazgan in the 1950s (like my grandparents) don't speak that language either.

In a nutshell

As I've already mentioned in my first entry Zhezkazgan means "copper mine". The city is situated in the centre of Kazakhstan; to be accurate - in the territory of the Great Sary-Arka Steppe. It's known that almost three thousand years ago copper was found in that territory. In 1909 the English bought the Zhezkazgan deposit and in 1913 planned factory building. But they had to leave that idea because of the Great October Revolution in 1917 and the Civil War in the 1920s when Kazakhstan joined to Soviet Russia (later USSR). So after that in 1928 the factory started working.

In the same time the group of soviet geologists was studying the territory. Later Zhezkazgan copper deposit was recognized the biggest one in USSR. In 1940 the Kengir reservoir, which now supplies the whole city with water, was built.

The Kengir reservoir


After the World War II (1941-1945) my ancestors came to build the industrial settlement "Big Zhezkazgan". By the end of 1954 almost 30,000 people had been living there and later the settlement officially became the city.

My grandparents. The builders of Zhezkazgan


Now there are about 100,000 citizens in Zhezkazgan. The well-known "Kazakhmys Corporation" - the largest copper producer in Kazakhstan - is based there as well.



There are many historical places and monuments near my native town. In my opinion the most significant of them are the ancient mausoleums. My mother used to teach geography to students and she knows these places well. To my shame, I've visited only The Alasha Khan Mausoleum once.

The Dombaul Mausoleum, 8th-9th century AD, is situated 58 kilometers north-east from Zhezkazgan.


The Alasha Khan Mausoleum, 10th-11th century AD. Alasha Khan was well-known historical figure who merged the Turkic nomads and created first Kazakh state.


The Jochi Khan Mausoleum, 13th century AD.


Taraday Street

One of the Zhezkazgan streets is named in an honor of my uncle Victor Taraday. He was killed at the age of 20 in Afghanistan war on May 26th, 1980. He was a sergeant of Soviet troops and posthumously awarded the Red Star Order.


"Died in Afghanistan paying his international duty"


The towm itself is quite small as you could understand. The most of houses are belong to Soviet architecture period that's why Zhezkazgan looks like the other small towns in Kazakhstan.


Dear Emat! Am I right saying that the first and the biggest cosmodrome - "Baykonur" - is situated near your native town Aralsk? There are two monuments in Zhezkazgan that dedicated to the first space flight of Yuri Gagarin on 12 April 1961. There's also the "Сosmonauts Alley" where the Kazakh and Russian spacemen planted the pine-trees. Actually "cosmonaut" is a soviet word and as far as I now the more convinient word to use is "astronaut".



We don't have any mountains here like in Almaty. There is only steppe around the town. But I love this view very much especially the smell of tarragon - a plant that is normally grown on the steppe. And honestly, there is only one place on the planet where the stars' shine is the brightest - home town.

The steppe


That's all for now friends!




  • Comment number 1.

    Hi Marina,

    I've always been a fond and keen user of BBC website resources, though I've never joined the student's blog so far. However, your style is so brilliant and the subject (the Kazakhstan country) so interesting that I could not stop myself from giving my contribution.

    I lived in Kazakhstan for a few months only, in the so called "capital of oil and gas", i.e. Atyrau, that isn’t in the same league as Almaty or Astana. However, even there I was astonished by some features that now I find again in your posts.
    Somewhere you describe your country as a multinational one. This is undoubtedly right, I just would note that Kazakhstan is a multiethnic country as well and it seems to me that throughout the times the different ethnic groups have given birth to a very interesting mixture. I remember it was very common to meet people with, for instance, Russian, Kazakh, Chinese and Mongol features. That happened at any moment and everywhere: in the office, at the supermarket, on the way home. And I liked that very much, partly because it was all new and exciting to me, and partly because it gave me the feeling of being immersed in a continent.

    The post about your native town reminds me of the vastness of your country. Kazakhstan is estimated to be the ninth largest country of the world, isn’t it ?. How long does it take from your native town to Almaty ? Do you travel by train or by plane ?

    The pictures of Zhezkazgan and the surrounding steppe reminds me the climate that I do not like very much: on Summer temperatures are nearly scorching to me and there are countless mosquitos. Winter was much more pleasant: the river completely froze in a few days, and you could cross or walk along it safely, while a cold wind blew and the snow glared. Is the climate in Almaty similar ?

    Looking forward to see your next post


  • Comment number 2.

    Hi Cross_the_Bridge !

    That's really interesting that you've lived in Atyrau. I've never been there but some of my frieds work in that city. Have you worked in the 'oil and gas'sphere? Did you like there?

    OK, well, it takes about 1,5 days by train and 2 hours by plain from Zhezkazgan to Almaty. You may also travel by car that takes 13-15 hours. To be precise it's 1,010 kilometers between these two cities.

    As to the climate in Almaty, I must say it much softer than in Zhezkazgan. Winter isn't so cold and summer is cooler.

    See you,


  • Comment number 3.

    hi there,

    befor russia was your country belongs to Iran?

  • Comment number 4.

    Hello Marina,

    I really liked reading your all blog posts but I am sorry to appear for a comment now. I wish you welcome on the board and as I can see you are enjoying blogging already. It's really good to read about your home town and the rich history attached to it. The pictures are beautiful and on the whole, I had just heard about Kazakhstan but have got to learn more about it from you and I can say that Kazakhstan is very beautiful.

    Looking forward to next your blog post.

    Ps- You do look like Pocahontas and about your features it's more like Russians but there is a hint of Korea in your eyes and on the whole you are very pretty:)


  • Comment number 5.

    Hi Marina,

    My first comment on your blog. To be honest, I have no knowledge about Kazakhistan so it is nice to learn about your country and traditions. In my imagenation Kazakhstan was underdeveloped country but your pictures tell a different story. It seems to be very developed country and it is beautiful. Looking forward to learn more about your country.


  • Comment number 6.

    you are excellent again,as usual:)I'm from Türkiye and you know, Türkiye and Kazakhstan are two brother countries.I 'm very pleased when I see the Alasha Khan Mausoleum from Türkic nomads.Knowing that is a benficial knowledge for me.It's the meeting point for two countries.It occured to me that the countries have a lot of common historical places ,buildings etc,other than The Alasha Khan Mausoleum.

  • Comment number 7.

    Hi Marina,

    Walking on a street named by near and dear one is really a great experience, I think. Would you share how you do feel? I’m really sorry to hear about your uncle. But, strongly do I believe that you feel proud of him. It’s also appreciating that people have paid tribute to his sacrifice. It’s really great.

    It seems to me that you love your native town very much. In fact, in all cases, the native town always helps us going back to our root. Anyway, I’m heading for my native town tonight. Wish to come back day after tomorrow. Read you then. Take care!


  • Comment number 8.

    Hello Marina,
    Your story is like we are having a live visit of the site. The information you shared is really wonderful. I have heard about the Steppes of wheat overthere. Kazakhstan is really beautiful.

    Fida Hussain Changazi.

  • Comment number 9.

    Hello Marina,

    Congratulations! your blog is just great thank you :)

    have a brilliant day

  • Comment number 10.

    Hi Marina,
    I apologise, but it is difficult to keep your pace !

    Yes, I've worked in the "oil and gas" sphere, however my company is a subcontractor. I am not directly employed in any big and internationally known firm, though directly or indirectly we (my company and me) have to do with them.

    You ask me if I liked there, the answer is yes and no. I liked living there because the town was a kind of "peering hole", through which I could cast a look over a country that to me is remarkable under many respects.
    However the town itself it is not exactly an amazing place. There are few nice corners but most areas look (and probably are) poor, run-down and deprived. Personal safety sometimes is an issue for westerners but also for locals. Russian is practically a must, most people does not speak or understand English so Russian is the only way to break the ice and communicate. Once you break the ice people are friendly but if you don't they are distant and suspicious. A collegue of mine could speak also Kazakh but she discovered that in Atyrau they use a local dialect that does not always match the standard Kazakh.
    I think it is enough, I hope you will forgive me for being so wordy.


  • Comment number 11.

    Hi friends! Many thanks to you all again!

    To kasra: I think it wasn't :)

    To Naheed: thanks for your words whenever you've appeared!

    To Negee: I'm glad I could break your first impression about Kazakhstan :)
    To gulumse: I absolutely agree with you, our countries are really have many things in common! Actually, Turkish language is similar with Kazakh.

    To Ashish: I really feel proud walking on that street. But, you see, sometimes the fact of the city poor maintenance makes me feel sad. I guess you've already back:)

    To Aliass - thanks and welcome to Kazakhstan :)

    To Krypan11 - thanks! see you :)

  • Comment number 12.

    Hi, Marina: How interesting, exotic and moving your descriptions of places and people! You have good knowledge of History indeed. The memory of the tea time with your grandparents is really touching. Can I ask you something? Why are many children brought up by their grandparents in Kazakhstan? Thanks for the photos, and well now, Iam ready for a tea with "Varenie". Bye. Beatriz.

  • Comment number 13.

    Hi friends!!

    To Cross_the_Bridge: Thanks for sharing your opinion whichever it is :)

    To Beatriz: you see, it was just a tradition, I really don't know where it came from :) anyway, thanks for all your comments!


  • Comment number 14.

    Hi Marina,

    Your town seems to be situated in a country side and it’s just beautiful. I can see from the images that you have attached with your article that the village has nice atmosphere and have good views.

    About your uncle fought and dead in Afghanistan. I suppose your uncle has fought for your country and for the benefits of your people and it wasn’t very easy thing to do in Afghanistan. I have heard lots stories about the Soviet Union forces fighting in Afghanistan. Anyway I am not interested in war and I believe people can solve problems by negotiations.

    The birds in one of your images has remembered me the start of winter and the end of summer in our country where these birds cross in our country’s air as seller to the sub Indian continent. My uncle used to hunt them sometimes near by the river in bad whether. He didn’t hunt them much but he used to get on with the day and kept busy. If I am right about the birds, these birds usually fly in big queue in the sky.

    I like tell a lot but I think that’s enough for now.

    Best wishes from Abdullah,

  • Comment number 15.


  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    Hi Dear Marina,
    thanks for your this guide-work by your native town Jezkazgan, it was very good. Marina, is Taraday Belorussian surname? I know, it isn't of Korean one and neither is Polish. Well, first of all I have to pay my sincere respects to your uncle... And it's might be seems enough to award the Red Star Order and the street is named in honour of him for us (for others) but, I think, it's not for his Mother, because it was happened at the expense of her son's life...

  • Comment number 18.

    (for the duration of my above post)
    ...To see the photo of the Jochi Khan Mauseleum was for me really very curious, and, do you know who was Jochi? Maybe you know by history although Jochi was beloved elder son of Chinggis Khan and was killed by hest his father... And if you know Kazakhs were under the influence of Mongolian nomadic culture during over 500 years and Kazakhs adopted many different things from Mongols, even they look alike outwardly, not to mention yurts and other nomadic lifestyle customs. In a trilogy "The nomads" by written of Kazakh writer Ilias Esenberlin the book's first volume wholly dedicate to the Mongolian people the time of Chinggis Khan and Kazakhs deep respect this period of his history even nowadays.
    About spaceport Baykonur you are right, it's situated near from Aralsk, I've been only once there, my sister and her family live here. Did you ever heard about Aral Sea's ecological disaster? Do you know, Is our Old Man (and his ministers) taking any measures as regards to safe the Sea??
    Best wishes,

  • Comment number 19.

    Hello Marina and Students,

    My name is Natanael Santos, I am Brazilian and I trying to learn english. My vocabulary is poor,I think, and I am working on Oil and Gás Company in Brazil.

    It's a international company and all the things are in english, i need to speak with them every day by phone and by e-mail or Communicator (Software) and i really need to improve my english. Looking on the net, i found the BBC Learning English and i read a little more, i found your post comment. Your native town is very beatiful like mine. I was born on Rio de Janeiro - Brazil, one of the most beatiful city around world and my country is very interesting and beatiful country, too.

    Actually, I living on a small city called Rio das Ostras due to my work, i live here with my wife and my little daughter Lidia, she's a very pretty little girl and she is three years old.

    It's very good place to live, very next to the beach, like i lived on Rio de Janeiro and here is summer during all the year. Rio das Ostras is a small beach city two and a half hours far from Rio de Janeiro.

    I hope find another friends here, and improve my english too.

    Have a very nice day.

    Bye, Natanael

  • Comment number 20.

    Dear Marina, you are a lucky girl coz your hometown is amazing.Reading you blog is a custom for me in this days.I hope you could provide us more information about your hometown coz we are looking forward for nice essays from you. I hope we could be friend and welcome to my hometown sanya,china.


  • Comment number 21.

    Hi Aprol!

    Thanks a lot for invitation! I always dream about China-trip. So I think some day I will visit your nice country not only like tourist but like a student as well.

  • Comment number 22.

    Hey Natanael!

    Nice to meet you! Good luck with your job. You are probably a lucky person having so nice daughter and wife!

    All the best,


  • Comment number 23.

    i know your city but I didn't know that it's so amazing!
    Usually I spend a month in Uralsk so that's why I know something about Kazakhstan cities!

    All the best?

  • Comment number 24.

    Hi Alex!

    It's nice to see you here :)

    That's interesting you have visited Uralsk. What did you do there? And how did you know about Zhezkazgan? :) Share your experiance with us!

    See you,



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