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Regional Historical and Economic Museum

Immediately to the north of the central square, just beyond the regional akimat building, sit a couple of attractive two-storey tsarist-era brick buildings, built by a merchant whose wealth lay in the vodka business. One of these is now a university building, the other houses the Regional Historical and Economic Museum. Not one of the more interesting regional museums in Kazakhstan, this offers a display of minerals and semi-precious stones in the foyer, and rooms on the ground floor devoted to palaeontology and to World War II, the latter focused on displays related to local war heroes such as nurse Maria Smirnova-Kykharskaya, whose photos show her resolute and steely eyed, a recipient of the Florence Nightingale Medal.

Upstairs, a geology room features a display on the Vasilkovsky gold mine, a few kilometres out of town, and there is a dull display on flora and fauna. The history room includes items about the Kazakh khanates, including the weaponry of Kazakh fighters and household utensils such as an astau, a large wooden tray on which meat would be piled when guests were entertained. It also covers the arrival of Slavonic migrants, with interesting photographs of the early Cossack settlement, and a plan of the town from 1907 showing Kokshetav already laid out in a grid pattern on the southern shore of Lake Kopa. There are also displays on the modern life of the region, covering its local factories, such as an assembly plant for Kamaz lorries, wheat production, and the stars of the local theatres. The last room features temporary exhibitions, usually focusing on one of the various ethnic groups making up the local population.