Season: June - October
The Kazakhstani part of Soviet legacy is presented in the central part of the country in the best way. It was the region where the notorious correctional camps of the Stalin epoch – “Karlag” and “Alzhir” were located. These lands became witnesses of the nuclear explosions, which were produced during the Cold War and “Nuclear arms race” period. Moreover, history of the Civil War, which followed the October revolution, is also presented here abundantly. Developing of virgin lands, industrialization, urbanization… Silent witnesses of all those processes, being a part of life in the USSR, can still be seen here, in the very heart of Kazakhstan.
DAY 1. ASTANA, ARRIVAL
Arrival to Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. Meeting and greeting at Astana International airport. Transfer to the hotel. Accommodation and breakfast.
Half-day excursion around the city, including sightseeing at objects of Soviet period: Memorial of victims of political repression, Congress-Hall, Yesil hotel, Pioneers’ House, National Security Commitee, Oktyabr cinema, Molodezhniy palace, steam locomotive monument, Presidential Center of Culture, the new administrative center on the left bank of the river Ishim. Lunch. Trip to the Akmol (Malinovka) village to the museum of the former ALZHIR correctional camp.
*) "ALZHIR" is Akmola camp for the wives of traitors of Motherland - one of the largest camps of Soviet women and one of the three islands of the "Gulag Archipelago". The camp was opened in the beginning of 1938, when it received the first stages of the prisoners - mostly members of the families of traitors. According to incomplete data, the number of repressed exceeded 18,000 convicts
Return to Astana. Dinner. Overnight in Astana.
DAY 2. ASTANA - AKSU - KURCHATOV
Breakfast at the hotel and check-out. Transfer from Astana to Aksu (about 6 hours). Lunch and visiting the public garden, where monuments of the Soviet period are kept together. Transfer from Aksu to Kurchatov (about 2,5 hours). Accommodation in Kurchatov. Walking tour around the town, being the former center of the Semipalatinsk test site, including sightseeing at general directorate of the National Nuclear Center, National Security Committee building, house of Lavrentiy Beria, abandoned part of the town
*) Situated on the bank of the Irtysh River, the city of Kurchatov is named after Soviet physicist Igor Kurchatov, who lived and worked in this city and together with other scientists “forged” Soviet nuclear shield. Kurchatov - former center of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site, closed in 1991. The city is located 45 km away from the experimental field, where the first atomic and thermonuclear bombs of USSR were tested. In Soviet times the city was closed, with to the strict access control, barbed with wire around the perimeter, and depicted on the maps as railway station "Ending". After the collapse of the Soviet Union number of troops in the city was reduced sharply, and its population decreased. As a result - many houses have been abandoned, the soldier's camps are completely become empty, and its objects, including the ones of the remarkable architecture, were sold and later demolished
Dinner. Overnight in Kurchatov.
DAY 3. KURCHATOV
Breakfast at the hotel. Excursion to the museum of the test site. Lunch. Trip to the “Experimental Field” test site (4 hours), where the first nuclear explosion was made in 1949, with short-term stay on the spot. Return to Kurchatov. Lunch. Excursion to the ghost-town Shagan, where the aerodrome of long-range aviation was situated (about 3 hours).
Return to Kurchatov. Dinner. Overnight in Kurchatov.
DAY 4. KURCHATOV - KARKARALINSK
Breakfast at the hotel and check-out. Transfer to Karkaralinsk (290 km, 7 hours). Road to Karkaralinsk partially lies along the territory of the former Semipalatinsk test site through the mountain oases Yedrey and Ku. Short stops are expected in the most picturesque places, as well as lunch in the field.
Arrival to Karkaralinsk. Accommodation and dinner. Overnight in Karkaralinsk.
DAY 5. KARKARALINSK - KARAGANDA
Breakfast at the hotel. Excursion around Karkaralinsk with sightseeing at objects of the Civil War period: general Kornilov house, Memorial of 78 Communards, people's commissariat building. Excursion to the history museum, short tour to the mountains (on request).
Lunch. Transfer from Karkaralinsk to Karaganda (4 hours). Accommodation in the hotel. Sightseeing tour around the city: Lenin monument, the Miners’ culture palace, Stanislavskiy theatre, city administration, Chaika hotel, Nurken Abdirov monument, Circus, industrial part of the city, old town. Dinner. Overnight in Karaganda.
DAY 6. KARAGANDA, DEPARTURE
Breakfast at the hotel. A half-day trip to Dolinka village – the former center of the Karlag correctional labour camp - one of the largest labor camps of the Gulag. Excursion to Karlag museum, building of former Karlag administration, Maternity hospital and Mamochkino child cemetery and to the Spassk memorial, located in the place, where the former camp of prisoners of war was situated. Return to Karaganda. Lunch. Excursion to the Karaganda Ecological Museum (1 hour).
Free time, purchasing souvenirs. Dinner. Transfer to the airport for departure flight.
Tour Price is given per person, provided two persons traveling together. Group discounts available
Tour Price Inclusions:
1. Double and/or triple accommodation in the hotels of tourist class according to the program
2. Airport transfers and transportation as per program by comfortable A/C minivan
3. English-speaking guide service and sightseeing according to the program
4. Environmental and admission fees and tickets
5. Individual security equipment on the territory of the test site (respirators, shoe covers)
6. Meals according to the program
Tour Price Exclusions:
1. Visa support and registration on the territory of Kazakhstan, if required
2. Additional accommodation in Astana and Karaganda before and/or after the tour
3. Meals not indicated in the program and/or not included into the tour price
4. Personal expenses and other expenses not indicated in the program
1. A part of the tour lies through the territory of the former Semipalatinsk test site. A short-term stay in the places, being the key points of the tour offered, does not pose any hazard to health, provided that elementary safety regulations are followed. Accompanying staff possesses necessary knowledge and hardware for security protection
2. The tour is recommended to start on any day, except Monday. This makes possible to visit all the museums, mentioned in the program