Regions of Kazakhstan
Saryarka - the name the Kazakh people have have given the territory located in the central part of Kazakhstan.
The largest part of Karaganda region is a prominent mountainous area, from which many mountain ranges rise: in the east - the Kyzylarai Mountains; in the north - the East Karkaralinsk Mountains; and in the west - the Ulytau. In the south, this elevated terrain turns to the clay desert Betpak-Dala, in the south to the sandy Turan lowlands called Pryaralskye Karakumy, and in the southeast - Lake Balkhash.
There are more than two hundred large and small rivers in the region. The largest ones are the Sarysu and the Nura. Karaganda region is a natural phenomenon. Here, steppes and mountains, deserts and lakes, share the territory with pine forests and birch groves. Karaganda region is a country of amazing wildlife- wild rams, djeyrans, golden eagles, and balaban falcons.
Two migratory routes of steppe antelopes, saigas, pass through Karaganda region. Every spring birds arrive from India, Africa, the Mediterranean , and East Asia to the lakes. The Kazakh people composed legends about the most notorious predators - the wolf and fox korsac. The wolf has been a totem animal from ancient times. In the lakes and rivers of Karaganda region are burbot, pike, perch, crucian, sazan, bream and many other species of fish. Spring, lake, shore, wave... These words have a gentle and melodious sound. And here, in this region they acquire special significance from the boundless steppe, as the shores and soft waves of Lake Balkhash and clear alpine springs are true wonders of nature.
The representatives of more than one hundred nationalities live in Karaganda region. The history of this national variety is unique and tragic at the same. In the 30's and 40's Karaganda region was a place of exile for people whom Soviet power didnt trust; not only individuals and families but whole nationalities were exiled - germans from Povoljye, Koreans from the Far East, Chechens from the Caucasus, Ukrainians from the western part of Ukraine. After the war, in Karaganda region, an internment camp was set up. In Spassk on the spot where the internment camp sat, a memorial has been built, where many governments and national representatives erect monuments to those citizens who fell victim to Stalinist repression.
Karaganda region is the geographic center of Kazakhstan. This advantageous disposition between the Ural and Altai Mountains, and Western Siberia and the Middle East, along with vast mineral wealth, has assured that Karaganda region has been bound to other regions since the days of old. The northern section of the Great Silk Road passed through here. The section through the Ulytau from the Middle East has been called "sarysu" or the "copper" way. Dozens of remaining caravansarais (rest stops on the Silk Road), fortified settlements, feudal castles, and guard towers confirm that urban culture, crafts, and trade developed as a result of the caravan route. Archaeological excavations at the ancient Karkaralinsk, Kent, Ulytau on the Baskamyr, Joshy-Orda, Ayakkamyr, and Orda-Bazaar sites provide evidence of this.
Its geographical situation favoured the fact that Karaganda region has become the most important transport hub in the country. You can get to any region of Kazakhstan from Karaganda. The railway connection binds Karaganda region with the cities of Russia, the Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan. The international airport "Sary- arka" operates direct flights to Russia, Germany, Turkey, and the United Arabian Emirates. Contemporary dynamic development of the region demands new road construction of National and international significance. A motorway, connecting the "southern capital", Almaty, with Astana - the official capital of Kazakhstan - runs through Karaganda region. International bus routes to China, Germany, Kyrgyzstan, Poland, and Russian cities Ekaterinburg, Omsk, Moscow, Novosibirsk, Sochi, and many others have been established.
The city of Karaganda is the administrative center of Karaganda Region, which is mostly famous for its industrial areas (mining and smelting industrial complex, fish and meat industries.) But it also features one of the most scenic places in Central Kazakhstan - the outlet-less Lake Balkhash (up to 26m deep, its area is about 22,000 sq. km) set among the boundless steppes, in the Alakol Depression. The Ili, Karatal and other rivers flow into the lake. It is interesting that in the western part of the lake the water is fresh, whereas in the eastern part it is salty.
Karaganda, the main city of Karaganda region, received its name from karagana, the short shrub, blooming with yellow flowers in the spring. Karaganda means "karagany" in Kazakh. The city was formed in 1934. About 600 thousand people live in Karaganda and it holds one of the leading places in Kazakhstan by its economical, scientific, cultural potential. Karaganda is often called a "space harbor". Cosmonauts launch into space from from Baykonur cosmodrome, on the territory of the Region.
The "Chayka", "Cosmonaut", and deluxe hotel "Sozvezdye" and many other hotels can offer a high level of service. The international billiard center, where National and intemational billiard competitions are conducted, is also situated in the hotel "Sozvezdye".
Modern Karaganda is a city where you can relax. The city offers recreation for any taste . You can go to one of the numerous sports clubs, fitness-centers, saunas, tennis courts, or pools. It is possible to have a good time in one of the numerous restaurants and cafes, where dishes from Asian and European countries are available. You may also spend your time in one of our billiard halls: Karaganda is already being called the billiard center of the Middle East and Asia and Kazakhstan. You can have a good time in the "Armani" bowling alley, or dance in one of the nightclubs, or visit the Aqua Park, where a pool , waterslides, and a billiard room are always at your service.
The ethnographical park built in honor of 10 years of National Independence, central park of recreation and culture, and veterans' memorial park are always open for a visit. The concert hall "Shalkyma", where the best musicians from around the world, nation and region perform, awaits fans of classical music. In the exhibition hall, museum of decorative art, and museum of local lore, history and economy, you will be acquainted with talented artists from -Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Russia, folk applied arts, and regional history. Every September a new theatrical season begins in the theatre named after K. S. Stanyslavsky and the Kazakh regional theatre named after S. Seifullin, the only theatre of musical comedy in Kazakhstan. You can spend a day with your children in the doll theatre "Buratino" or in the Karaganda Zoo, the oldest in Kazakhstan.
Over 1500 historical, cultural and archaelogical monuments have been found on the territory of Djezkazgan region, especially along the banks of the Sarysu, Sarykengir, Kara-Kengir, and Djezdy rivers and in the environs of the Ulytau. The Djezkazgan historical and archaelodical museum, the museum of mining and smelting history, the home-museum of academician K. Satpayev, who opened the mineral wealth of Djezkazgan, the museum and winter park in Djezdy, and the Ulytau natural-historical museum and preserve are parts of a united historical and cultural complex. Here you can come across such vegetation as turan ga, willow, reeds and rushes. White swans are a beautiful sight and the symbol of Lake Balkhash. At present they can only be found in inaccessible parts of the lake. But pelicans are the true masters of this area. Also, Lake Balkhash is home to cormorant, small bittern, teal, pheasant, golden-eye, egret and muskrat. And the wild boar is the master of the reed jungles.
For venturesome travelers Balkhash offers hunting with hunting birds for heath-cock, duck, partridge, pigeon, hare, fox and even wolf. Also interesting is the marine life of the lake. You can enjoy fishing for marinka, pike perch, bream, catfish and others.
However, if you want to have a good vacation near the water, you need not travel hundreds of kilometers from Karaganda. Along the Zhartas Reservoir (61km from Karaganda) there is a comfortable beach area with a well-equipped marina and the lovely town of Zhartas.
To the east of Karaganda lies the city of Karkaralinsk. It is rightly called the pearl of Saryarka. The primitive beauty of the Karkaralinsk Mountains and forest, and the gorgeous vegetation of its valleys and lakes as clear as glass will remain in the memory of visitors to this astounding land. The names of cliffs, mountains, valleys, lakes and rivers perfectly indicate the unusual beauty of this area: Falcon Peak, Mt. Deer, Red Bear Hill, Red Cliff, Mirror Fold Lake, Shaitan-kol (Devil's Lake) and others.