Ural: a place of attraction
The development of tourism involves the solution of whole complex of tasks. The primary goal of this is to bring the country's economy to a new level. The President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev sets a further objective: increase in the share of tourism in the country's GDP from 1% in 2016 to 8% in 2025. The main burden in achieving these ambitious indicators lies to the regions and involves the high degree of responsibility for this work.
Tourism in West Kazakhstan: modern realities
Development of tourism is closely connected with the development of small and medium-sized enterprises, as the majority of activities in that industry are created by businesses. The tourism industry cannot exist without investment and the principles of public-private partnership. Also, it is bounded with the development of transport and logistics infrastructure, which is fundamental for the development of tourism.
Development of logistics, construction, and reconstruction of roads is one of the actual issues of the region. Over 1500 kilometers West Kazakhstan region (WKR) borders with five regions of Russia: Astrakhan, Volgograd, Saratov, Samara, and Orenburg. According to the order of the President, which was given during his working visit to the WKR in May of this year, during next three years we must build high-quality roads that will connect the region with other regions and the Russian Federation. Highways with eight-lane interchanges at the border checkpoints will connect the WKR with such large cities as Saratov, Samara, and Orenburg. This will give impulse not only to the development of inbound and domestic tourism but also will increase trade flows through the “western gate of Kazakhstan.”
Along with the listed above projects, over this years a road will be built to one of the main tourist centers of the region - the village of Khan Ordazy, Bokeyorda region, where widely known in the country and beyond its borders museum is located - the headquarters of the Khans of Bukeyev (Internal) Horde.
Uralsk is the most environmentally friendly city in Kazakhstan.
Due to its location West Kazakhstan region has a unique history and culture. At the crossroads of Europe and Asia, different ethnic groups live and they have made a considerable contribution to the development of modern Kazakhstan. Evidence of their life, archaeological, architectural and historical monuments are an inexhaustible source of knowledge, which can be attractive to tourists from around the world. Moreover, President of Kazakhstan N. Nazarbayev during his visit to the region noted that Uralsk is the most environmentally friendly city in Kazakhstan.
The city and, in general, WKR is often visited by tourists from Russia and other CIS countries, citizens from Germany, France, Switzerland, as well as citizens of the United Kingdom, Holland, Italy, and other countries who work in Western Kazakhstan.
The architecture of Uralsk is the richest heritage. The unique appearance of the regional center is associated with the activities of such architects as M. Delmedino and I. Tets. Among the famous monuments of history and architecture, the most noticeable are the houses of merchants A. Karev and Vanyushins, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the Tatar and Red Mosques erected in the XIX century and many other buildings that make up an unforgettable look of Uralsk. The city was visited by A. Pushkin, V. Zhukovsky, V. Dal, V. Korolenko, L. Tolstoy, S. Krylov, F. Shalyapin and many other famous people, which is also evidence of its rich history.
At the crossroads of eras
There are many interesting touristic places belonging to entirely different historical periods. For example, just a couple of years ago, schoolchildren in Zelenov district made a discovery, dating back to the Mesozoic era. Young tourists discovered the remains of a sea lizard who lived 150 million years ago - the ichthyosaur, whose length reached 7 meters. In this regard, the opening of a paleontological reserve and museum in the region is being discussed.
One of the most exciting discoveries of recent years is undoubtedly the Altyn Hanshayim. Scientists have confirmed that the remains of a woman discovered during the excavations of the Taksai Kurgan complex in the Terekta region belong to a Sarmatian priestess. This is evidenced by the gold jewelry and many attributes, found in the burial. The kurgan complex is included in the Republican list of “100 sacred places of Kazakhstan”. Recently, the local patrons voluntarily installed the mausoleum of the Taksai princess.
Another archaeological monument of the region, which acquired sacred status, is located not far from Uralsk. The medieval settlement of nomads was named after the ancient city of Zhaiyk. During the excavation, there was found evidence of the existence of the ancient city, dated by historians back to the XIII-XIV centuries. Before this discovery, it was believed that urban culture was not typical for Western Kazakhstan.
Also, one of the interesting for tourism places will be the story of already mentioned above Bukeyev Horde. A unique state formation - the area where the first Kazakh school and the treasury were found and the first fair was held. A pine forest, which was planted here in the Narynsands still exists and brings pleasure to eyes. The initiator of all these innovations was the son of the founder of the Inner Horde Bukei - Zhangir Khan, whose European education was combined with refined taste and lifestyle of the eastern aristocrat. Today, on the site of the Khan Zhangir estate in the Bokeyorda district, a large historical memorial complex “Khan's Orda” “Khan Ordasy”has been deployed.
The Urals is associated with many historical events. The local land remembers the Mongol invasion, the uprisings led by Stepan Razin, Yemelyan Pugachev, Syrym Datov, Isatai Taimanov, and the battles of the civil war of 1918-1920. In the supposed place of death of the famous divisional commander V.I. Chapayev on the Ural River a monument dedicated to the hero of the civil war was erected.
West Kazakhstan region is scorched by the fierce battles in Stalingrad. The region is officially recognized as the rear of the Stalingrad Front. Fascist air bombings damaged the border villages. During the war, factories that forged the Victory were transferred to Uralsk; military hospitals healed the wounded soldiers of Stalingrad.
Forty of our citizens were awarded the high title of Hero of the Soviet Union. The famous fighter pilot Leonid Ignatievich Beda was awarded this title twice. Six citizens became full holders of the Order of Glory. And the names of the three great daughters of the Kazakh people — “Heroes of the Soviet Union”Manshuk Mametova, Aliya Moldagulova, and “Khalyk Kakharmany” Khiuaz Dospanova — known by every Kazakhstani.
During the war, the family of the famous writer, the winner of the Nobel Prize in literature, Mikhail Sholokhov was evacuated here. In the village of Daryinsk, Zelenov district, tourists can visit the house-museum where he lived and worked. His typewriter, desk, the hunting rifle, and fishing tackle are preserved and kept in the museum. During his life in the Urals, he fell in love with this land, and after the war, he returned here several times and visited his friends.
Kurmangazy, Dina Nurpeisova, Gumar Karash, Gabdulla Tukai, Kadir Myrza Ali, Kairat Zhumagaliyev, Tair Zharokov, Eskendir Khasangaliyev and many historical figures and respected contemporaries were born and worked on the bank of the Ural.
Not only rich historical heritage is attractive for tourists in our region. Fantastic nature, clean ecology, and friendly people are essential components of a good holiday.
On the territory of the region a large salt lake Shalkar is located, the mud of which is considered to be therapeutic for many types of skin and joint diseases. Large water basins of the region, such as the Ural (by the way, the third longest river in Europe after the Volga and Dunai), the Chagan and the Derkul represent an excellent opportunity for fishing and hunting and the development of water tourism. During the last 20 years, annually, participants of the international historical and cultural, ecological expeditions have been rafting down the Ural River. Famous people participated in the expedition, including political and public figures led by the love for their native land and worries about its ecology.
In honor of the main river of the region, the last two years, in cooperation with the Orenburg we have been celebrating the Ural Day.
WKR is also developing interregional cooperation with the Saratov, Samara, Orenburg, and Volgograd, Astrakhan regions, residents of which celebrate Nauryz, Unity Day and other holidays together. Recently, bilateral visits were held between our region and the Republic of Tatarstan, in the result of which agreements of cooperation including in the field of tourism were signed.
A lot of work has been done for the development of youth tourism and ecology by the tourist and recreation complexes "Eurasia" and "Atameken." It should be noted that the youth tourism of the region takes the first place in the republic, and in 2016 the center was awarded the status of UNESCO Club.
This year a large International Tulip Festival was held. Winter nature in WKR is a separate topic for fishers, hunters, including hunting with birds. The international tournament of hunters with birds of prey “Kansonar-2018” was held as well as ice fishing competitions, which were attended by athletes from Kazakhstan and Russia. It is obvious, in Uralsk region winter is like winter and summer is like summer.
For those who want to learn more about the region, the website “visit-west.kz” is open; there are groups and social networking applications, 3D-exhibits and models are being developed.
The ethno-tourist complex “Sayat” has recently been opened, where horse-riding, national equestrian sports, sightseeing tours of the region, eco-ethno-tourism are provided for tourists.
It is obvious that region has everything to attract tourists. However, along with interesting touristic places, we must offer those convenient logistics, comfortable hotels, and other infrastructure. This requires significant funds, and the region is seeking for them by attracting private investment.
Today, three new five and four stars hotels are being built under the franchise of such companies as “NOVOTEL,” “HILTON,” Intercontinental Hotel Group – “Holiday Inn”. To improve the infrastructure and develop logistics in the region, new roads are being built; the Oral airport terminal is being reconstructed, direct regular flights to Moscow (S7), Frankfurt (Air Astana), Atyrau, and Aktau have been opened, flights between Astana and Almaty are scheduled. High-speed trains were launched to Astana and Almaty, thanks to which they managed to reduce the travel time to Astana by 10 hours and to Almaty by 20 hours.
To conclude, we are open to the world, West Kazakhstan region and its center - the city of Uralsk are always happy to welcome our guests and say “Kosh keldіnіzder!” - “Welcome!”
For reference: The region is one of the dynamically developing regions of the country. The share of GRP in the country's GDP is 4.9%, about 9% of the industrial production of Kazakhstan is produced. A special place in the economy of the region and the country is taken by the mining industry, 43% of gas is extracted, and more than 95% is gas condensate.
The manufacturing industry is represented by enterprises of oil refining, mechanical engineering, and metalworking, processing of agricultural products, production of wood products, textile, and clothing industry, production of rubber and plastic products.
A favorable investment climate has been created, large international investment and business forums are held annually. For investors, an Internet portal is open and operating; there are 86 branches of foreign firms, 238 joint ventures with international participation, most of which are from the Russian Federation.
Small-sized and medium-sized businesses are actively developing, more than 40% of all products and services of the region are conducted. The region ranks the first place in housing construction and meat exports.