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Regional Ethnographic Museum

The Regional Ethnographic Museum is spread across several locations within and around Kirov Park. At the southwest corner of the park, where Kirov and Kasenova streets meet, stands Block 1. Housed in a single-storey Tsarist building dating from 1901, which originally housed a girls' school, this section of the museum focuses on non-Kazakh ethnic groups represented in East Kazakhstan. A Kazakh yurt and Russian wooden hut are pictured above the door. It was closed for refurbishment at the time of writing, but the displays are likely to showcase the costumes, personal and religious items of the many non- Kazakh ethnic groups in the region, including Russians, Germans, Ukrainians and Koreans.

At the opposite corner of the park, at the junction of Gorky and Golovkov streets, is Block 2. This pink-walled single-storey building was constructed in 1914 as the house and shop of a merchant named Kozhevnikov. It houses displays focused on the traditions of the Kazakh ethnic group. The large first room contains a yurt, six kanat (sections) in size. There are also displays of hunting techniques, featuring a stuffed eagle and falcon, weapons, saddles and blacksmiths' tools. The next room has wooden utensils and a display of clothing: coins and buttons sewn onto children's clothes were considered good protection against the evil eye. Kazakh jewellery is displayed; invariably silver, as this was believed to have powers of purification. By tradition Kazakh women were not supposed to prepare food unless they were wearing silver jewellery. A display of musical instruments includes a kobyz used by a shaman, with a small mirror in its bowl. The importance of regional trade is illustrated with samovars, porcelain, Chinese silks and a Singer sewing machine. There is a display on religion, including a tiny Koran and a piece of candle from Mecca. Kazakh games are illustrated, including a wooden indented board for the game of togyzkumalak. There are also sheep's vertebrae, used in the children's game asyk.

In the northern part of the park, close to Block 2, is the open-air section of the museum, the Regional Architectural-Ethnographic Reserve. This fenced area includes Kazakh dwellings, including a yurt, the winter home of a wealthy Kazakh, and a yurt-shaped stone building, used as a store. There is also a lane of Russian wooden houses, moved here from other locations in the town, including the nicely decorated house of a Cossack ataman, and the house in which Pavel Bazhov, author of 'The Malachite Casket', a collection of fairy tales from the Urals, lived from 1919-20.