KARAGANDY – The city of Karagandy, Kazakhstan’s industrial powerhouse renowned for its highest quality coal, is a place with a rich history and diverse attractions to explore for a captivating weekend getaway. Almaty and Astana remain the most popular urban destinations in Kazakhstan, but the city of Karagandy, located within a three-hour drive from the capital, is fast becoming a rival attraction.
History of Karagandy
Karagandy’s economy was largely built around coal, and the gains from extraction allowed families in town to prosper. “The history of Karagandy coal began not during Soviet times, as many people use to think, but much earlier.
According to the legend, a young shepherd named Appak Baizhanov was freezing in the steppe and throwing some stones into the fire and suddenly discovered that some of the stones do not cool down, they heat up very quickly and give away a lot of heat,” said Maria Brizickaya, a tour guide, during a press tour on July 22-23 organized by Kazakh Tourism national company, showcasing Karagandy beyond its coal-centric history.
Gradually the rumor about “special” stones reached the Russian merchant Nikon Ushakov who realized that people were talking about coal. In 1856, Ushakov bought the lands from two Argyn (name of Kazakh tribe) families for 250-255 rubles, located on the current territory of Maikuduk, the industrial part of the city. Ushakov could not stay afloat for long and sold his business to the Russian merchant Ryazanov.
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