This page is for information about tourism in Kazakhstan. The biggest problem I find with tourism here is the lack of specific information. There are no directions on how to get places, no information about when places are open, or what you can do there. Guide books like the Lonely Planet have information on general regions and towns or cities, but that information quickly gets out of date. Local tourism is still set up for tour groups and registered tourist guides. So I’m hoping people can use this space to post specific, detailed information. I’m also adding Google maps and GPS information so people can find fun stuff here.
I’m also adding this link to posts in the Tourism Category on this blog.
Things to Do Outside Astana
- ALZHIR was the Akmola Labour Camp for Wives of Political Dissidents during Soviet times. Shockingly, not only “traitors to the motherland” but also their families were often arrested and sentenced to camps–separate camps of course. Now on the site of this camp, just outside Astana is a nice little museum and a memorial.
The museum includes information about the camp and the women’s lives as well as details of their lives and their crimes. There are also recreations of the cells and personal objects owned by these women. The memorial lists the names of all the women who stayed in this camp. The museum is small but it gives you a good idea of what a gulag was really like.
To get there, go along Kurgalzhinskoe Shosse (Go down Sara-Arka and at the corner where Mega and Kermet Sauna stand, turn away from the city heading west). About 30 kms out of town, past the border checkpoint, you will come to the village of Akmol (formerly Malinovka). You should see a small stele that says Akmol on it. You will then see a road with a gate across it and an arch-like thing behind it. That arch is part of the museum complex. If the gate is closed, I recommend finding a place to park and walking to the museum. There is no good road from the village to the museum itself and we end up dinging the underside of our car trying to get there. It might be worth asking at the museum if they can open the gate.