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Great Britain and Kazakhstan
But the citys site has a smoother history -- an early Silk Road oasis, Almatu, destroyed by the Mongols, once stood in the area where Almaty was founded. Todays Almaty reflects some of its trading roots. As a modern city seen as a crossroads between East and West, it bustles with trading consortiums and businesses seeking to bridge the continental gap. The city also boasts several important museums, including the State Museum of the Arts, which showcases Kazak artworks, and the Museum of Kazak Musical Instruments, featuring harmoniously exhibited displays of traditional music-makers such as bagpipes, the three-stringed "kobiz," and wooden harps.
3. Semy - Nuclear zone
Another name for Semy has been Semipalatinsk. Semey was originally established as a fortress in 1718 in a location close by it's current location. In 1778 it was moved to it's current location along the Irtysh River. Semey is perhaps best known for the nuclear testing that was done nearby. This was the major nuclear testing sight for the Soviet Union. Much of the testing was done above ground, causing the spread of radiation throughout the area. Reservoirs were even made using a nuclear explosion to provide water for the residents. Over 470 nuclear bombs were exploded here between 1949 and
1989. Semey is only 93 miles (150 km) from where most of the testing occurred. Because of the lack of environmental concerns, many of the citizens of Semey suffer some form of radiation poisoning.
4. Baykonur - Space center
Other ways Baykonur is known is Baikonur, Leninsk, or Tyuratam. Baykonur has long been known as a place upon where the Soviets' heroes left this earth and became the first in space. It is from this launching point in central Kazakstan that Sputnik was launched in October 4, 1957. It is also from here that the first person to orbit the earth, Yuri Gagarin, started the "Space Race" with the United States.Baykonur has been the foundation of the Soviet space program. While there were two other launching pads, Plesetsk (Northern Russia) and Kasputin (Central Russia) , this was the primary launching point for manned missions. Currently, Russia has agreed to lease Baykonur from the independent country of Kazakstan for 20 years at $115 million in annual rent.
5. Atyrai - Caviar capital
Other names for Atyrai include Atyraь and Guryev. This city was founded as a Russian military base on the east bank of the Ural River in 1645. It has grown to expand on both sides of the river, leaving half of the city in Europe and the other half in Russia. Today, it is known for its oil refineries (from the rich oil deposits in the Caspian Sea) and for providing much of the caviar for the former Soviet Union.
6. Aqtau - Jewel of the Caspian Sea
Another name for Aqtau was Shevkenko. Aqtau did not begin it's existence until 1963. I was originally built as a "Soviet Model" of how cities should be built. It has wide, straight streets and sandy beaches. It was called Shevkenko for awhile because of a poet who was exiled there as a political prisoner. Aqtau means "white mountain" in Kazak, so named after the vast, flat steppes surrounding the city! It has become somewhat of a tourist location because of it's location along the Caspian Sea. Just don't plan on taking a bath while you are there as the water comes out of the tap brown. Currently, there is very little industry still in Aqtau. The main industry is oil. A few foreign oil companies have established offices in Aqtau as they extract oil from the steppe of Mangistau Oblast...
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