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7 amazing facts about Uralsk

12 August 2020

As part of a trip to Western Kazakhstan together with the travel Club ” Almaty Nomad “and” Tengri Travel ” we offer you 7 amazing facts about Uralsk that you might not know.

1. The oral is 700 years old!

The date of Foundation of Uralsk is considered to be 1613. Not so long ago, in 2013, the city celebrated its 400th anniversary. However, most scientists agree that it is much older. Uralsk is at least 700 years old! And this is confirmed by the excavations in the settlement of Zhaiyk, which is 12 kilometers from the city.

The settlement was found not so long ago (in 2001). But his findings have already caused a sensation in the scientific world – it turned out that Uralsk was founded in the XIII century and at one time was a major city of the Golden Horde. In importance, it was not inferior to Saraishik, located South of the Ural river. Then Uralsk was called the city of Zhaiyk and was a large military-administrative and trade-craft city of the Golden Horde. After the collapse of the Horde, the city became part of the Nogai khanate. And then its degradation began. Frequent attacks and looting in the steppe led to the fact that residents were forced to leave Zhaiyk. Part of them withdrew into a distant city, but the majority settled in close proximity to and merged with the nomadic people. In the future, on the site of the medieval city appeared Yaitsky town.

2. the name” Uralsk ” was given to the city by Catherine II
In 1775, she personally ordered that the Yaik river be renamed the Urals, and the city of Yaitsky be renamed Uralsk. The reason was not a love of geography, but hatred for Yemelyan Pugachev, who deployed in Uralsk the headquarters of his command and led the peasant uprising of 1773-1775.
The Empress’s decree of March 1775 read: “For the complete oblivion of this subsequent accident on Yaik, the Yaik river, for which both this army and the city still had their name, for the reason that this river flows from the Ural mountains, should be renamed the Urals, and therefore the army should be renamed the Ural and no longer be called Yaitsky, as well as the Yaitsky city should henceforth be called Uralsk.”

3. Emelyan Pugachev House – the oldest house in Uralsk
Emelyan Pugachev’s house in Uralsk is the oldest in the whole city. However, the house is not his, but the retired Cossack Peter Kuznetsov, who gave Pugachev his 17-year-old daughter as a wife. But for some reason, the house is called Pugachev. It consists of only a few rooms, as well as a stable and barn.
Emelyan Pugachev pretended to be the Emperor Peter III. Even his throne, created without a single nail, was preserved in the house.
Among the amazing exhibits left from those times are leather gloves embroidered with gold threads, which Catherine II gave to ataman Borodin, who accompanied Pugachev to his execution in Moscow.
Sad was the fate of Pugachev – in an iron cage, he was taken to Moscow, convicted, and then beheaded. The house-Museum of Emelyan Pugachev in Uralsk is considered the best tourist attraction in the city.

4. Uralsk-European city

Scientists have long been interested in the question of where the border between Europe and Asia is. In Soviet times the border was carried out by Muhtaram, the river Emba to the Caspian sea. Since the 1950s-strictly along the Ural riverbed. The situation changed in 2010, when the expedition of the Russian geographical society arrived in Kazakhstan. After studying the area, scientists came to the conclusion that the border between Europe and Asia runs along the Mugojars, then along the southern edge of the Caspian lowland. Thus, the Urals belong entirely to Europe, and the Caucasus to Asia. The opinion of the Russian geographical society has not yet been evaluated by the International geographical Union. But, no matter how they considered and did not draw the border, Uralsk has always been a European city. Its architecture is amazing.
Today Uralsk is a relatively small town. Previously, it was one of the largest cities in the Kazakh steppes, the trade center of the Orenburg province. Guides say that it was in Uralsk that the first railway in Kazakhstan and trains appeared (Ryazan-Ural railway, 1894), the first pharmacies, hospitals, schools, libraries and printing houses. And what guests visited the city. Two Russian emperors-Alexander II and Nicholas II, as well as outstanding historical figures: E. Pugachev, Suvorov, scientists A. Humboldt and P. S. Pallas, writers Krylov, Derzhavin, Tolstoy, Pushkin, and Dal… The list can go on for a very long time. And each of them left an indelible mark in Uralsk.

5. Uralsk and Pushkin’s “captain’s daughter”

Oral – the only Kazakh city, which was visited by the genius of Russian poetry, Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin. He had only been here three days. This happened in the autumn of 1833. But what three days it was! We will read about them later in “the Captain’s daughter” and “The history of the Pugachev revolt”. Pushkin scrupulously collected information about the Pugachev uprising, talked with local residents, collected fragments of the image of a rebel.
Marina Tsvetaeva wrote that Pugachev, exposed by history, was rehabilitated by Pushkin with poetry. With the same hand that overthrew the historical work, Pushkin returned it to its pedestal in the artistic one. And part of it is. Through conversations with local residents of Yaik, Pushkin recognized another Pugachev, not the one described in the archives of Moscow, but the one people remember. So, one Cossack woman told that she still wears shoes of Pugachev’s work, and another expressed: “It is for you he is a robber, but for us Tsar Peter Fyodorovich.” The most interesting was the conversation between Pushkin and the 95-year-old son of the Cossack Pyanov, with whom Pugachev was quartered when he arrived in the Yaitsky town in November 1772. To him he confessed that he was Tsar Peter III. Pugachev’s statement about his relations with the Cossacks, which Pushkin heard from Pyanov, was included almost verbatim in the novel “the captain’s daughter”: “my Street is cramped, – Pugachev admits to Grinev, – my will is not enough. My boys are getting smart. They are thieves. I must keep my eyes open…” “Pugachev rode ahead of his troops. “Take care, sire,”the old Cossack said to him,” the cannon will kill you unequally.” “‘You are an old man,’ replied the impostor. “Do cannons pour down on kings?”” “The soldiers fed him from their hands and told the children who were crowding around his cage: remember, children, that you saw Pugachev. Old people still talk about his bold answers to the questions of passing gentlemen. All the way he was cheerful and calm.” That’s how Uralsk entered the “Captain’s daughter”.

Uralsk attracted the great poet. This is what he wrote to his wife: “You should have received my last letter from Orenburg. From there I went to Uralsk – the local ataman and the Cossacks received me well, gave me two dinners, drank to my health. They gave me the news they needed, and they fed me fresh caviar, which they had made in my presence.”

In memory of a short visit to Pushkin in Uralsk, there is a Museum. Just one room. Here the great poet spent three days.
And then, by a completely random coincidence, 8 years in this house lived the daughter of Natalia Nikolaevna Pushkin-Lanskaya Sofia Lanskaya, who married the head of the Ural Cossack army Nikolai Shipov. Here is an interesting fact.

It is also interesting that there is no documentary evidence of Pushkin’s visit to Uralsk. The fact that the poet was here, we learned from his own works and memoirs.

6. Ural fires that can destroy the entire city

There are sad pages in the history of Uralsk. April 29, for example. On this day in 1879, at one o’clock in the afternoon, the bell ringing in all the churches (and there were about 15 of them) announced a major fire to the city. A couple of hours later, the fire destroyed almost the entire city. It began with the last house in the Urals in Novoselki. This was a very poor area, the houses were built of wood and were located very close to each other. Therefore, it is not surprising that the entire area was immediately engulfed in fire – more than 2 thousand houses immediately turned into a fiery Inferno. A strong wind increased the fire. After Novoselok, the fire went to the market square. And soon merged with another fire that occurred on another part of the city in the house of the district supervisor Kurin. The fire destroyed everything up to the Chagan river. There is no documentary information about the fire, but you can imagine the scale of destruction if 2/3 of all buildings were burned. The city was devastated.

By the way, this is not the only major fire in Uralsk. The city burned 3 times. And each time – almost to the ground. The city recovered from the fiery disaster for almost a hundred years.

7. The oral and the Golden woman
And the most significant find of recent years-near Uralsk, for the first time in Kazakhstan, a “Golden woman”was found. It was found in 2012.
The woman belongs to the tribe of the Saka-tigrahauda wore pointed hats. Her age is 17-20 years. Belonging to a noble family is confirmed by 80 gold ornaments, two guards buried nearby, and a unique comb that depicts a battle scene between the Sarmatians and Persians.
Next to the” Golden woman”, archaeologists also found horse bridles, household items, jewelry and things that she needed in the afterlife. It is surprising that the mound of the “Golden woman” was not looted and was preserved in its original form. In the near future, a mausoleum will be dedicated to the “Golden woman”. But it will not be built on the site of the mound, but closer to the road, so that tourists can easily reach it.
These were 7 amazing facts about Uralsk that you might not know. It is also worth visiting the city because it is one of the most beautiful cities in Kazakhstan

Автор текста: Мадина Ашилова

Фото: Алибек Бегалинов

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