Trans Eurasia travel

Karkaraly District Historical Museum

Karkaraly history museumA single-storey white-painted building with blue window frames in the centre of the town, the headquarters of the uyezd administration in Tsarist times, now houses the District Historical Museum. The first room offers an account of the district's archaeological treasures, the second covers the Kazakh khanates. There are displays on two local leading lights of 18th- century campaigning against the Dzhungars: warrior hero Senkibay Batyr, and Kazybek Bi, judge of the Middle Zhuz. The next room combines ethnographic exhibits, including half a yurt, with 19th-century history, featuring photographs of the Koyandinsk fair in action and models of the Kunanbay Mosque and of a wooden house still standing in the town, in which Kunanbay's son, the great writer Abai, once dwelt. The next room covers the Soviet period, combining in close juxtaposition photographs of the victims of the repression of the 1930s with those of Heroes of the Soviet Union nominated for their wartime exploits. The next room covers the post-independence period and is painted a patriotic pale blue. There is a display about Tokhtar Aubakirov, whose 60th birthday, in 2006, is honoured by a photograph of the uniformed cosmonaut appearing to rise up out of a lake. Following a small room focusing on nature is a hall devoted to local art. This includes a couple of models of possible future statues of Madi Bapiuly, a local poet and singer, killed in 1921, who is regarded as a latter-day Robin Hood figure.

A single-storey brick Tsarist-era building across the road from the museum, now housing the district library, was the house of a merchant named Ryazantsev. The Russian ethnographer Grigoriy Potanin stayed here on a visit to Karkaraly in 1913.

Around the back of the museum stands Karkaraly's very own Baiterek Tower, a smaller-scale version of the one in Astana. It was put up in 2004 to celebrate the 180th birthday of the town. Pictures running along the wall behind the monument display the famous names associated with the district, from Kazybek Bi to Tokhtar Aubakirov.