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History and modernity of Ust-Kamenogorsk.






Founded in 1720 at the confluence of the Irtysh and Ulba rivers as a fort and trading post named Ust-Kamennaya. The city was established in 1720 according to the order of the Russian Emperor Peter the Great, who sent a military expedition headed by major Ivan Vasilievich Likharev in the search of Yarkenda gold. Likharev’s expedition directed up the Irtysh river to Zaysan Lake.

In 1868 the city became the capital of the Semipalatinsk Oblast.



The first writing evidence about Ust-Kamenogorsk was left by Russian boyar( lord) Fedor Boykov. The way he discovered, had been recognized by other merchants then. In 1714, Russian Emperor Peter the Great was informed by Siberian governor Gagarin that somewhere at Irket River “sandy gold” was in abundance. Looking forward to find legendary Yarkend, General Bukhgolts mounted an expedition and departed from Tobolsk towards Ore Altay. In July, 1715 General with his squads sailed up by Irtysh. Soon they established Yamishevskaya fortress. Then, fortress was beset by numerous Jungar squadrons. While holding the line, diseases struck the expedition. Bukhholts had trenched fortification and retreated downwards the Irtysh river. When receding, he also based Omskaya fortress at the juncture of Irtysh and Om rivers.
In 1719, the Emperor organized another military detachment which was up to find “Yarkenda Gold”. Major Likharev was appointed to be in charge of newly organized expedition.
In May, 1720 expedition directed up to Irtysh till Zaysan lake. Squads reached the lake successfully but further way to Black Irtysh was blocked by Jungars. The attacks of Jungarian squads had been easily turned. However, Likharev faced another serious challenge – Irtysh shoaled suddenly. Talks with Jungars finished and expedition turned its way back to Russia. During his way back, Likharev found Ust-Kamennaya fortress. It was named like that because Irtysh seemed to flush from firth of stony mountains and then swept along the plains.
Likharev failed to find “Yarkenda gold” but, at the same time, along his way based the new point at the map of the Russian Empire.
Fortress was surrounded by high arbours. There were barracks for soldiers, military hospital, generals’ flats and various storage houses: even penitentiary which survived to this day. First houses outside the fortress were built next to fortification.
In the second part of 18th century some new comers began settling around the fortress.
Most of the comers were émigrés and exiled individuals.
Bolshaya, Andreevskaya and Troyitskaya streets formed the base of the town. Solyanoy, Crechetskiy, Crepostnoy and Soborny lanes crossed these streets. Old maps feature strict straightness in city’s building plan. Due to its planning, city was well winded and during potential floods water would evenly spread on the city’s streets.
The greatest street of the town – Carl Libnekht street initially came as Troyitskaya street. At one time, the richest people of the town built their houses on this street. For example, manufacturers Valitovs owned golds in Tayinty and droves of horses outside the town. Another notable personality, manufacturer Menovschikov possessed diggings in Kurchum and Maykapchagay.
Nowadays his apartments have been transformed into the museum of Arts.
Valitovs’ house is now a residence for Altaic Geological Department.

Initial name of Mira Street is Andreevskaya. Andreevskaya street rose from Irtysh, ran by market place (bazaar), fire station and ended with the city’s barren. Just here, in 1889, political exiles constructed a park which was named after Zhambyl. Manufacturers Makhanov and Bryukhanov settled first here. They lived in clover and nobody could even dream to erect a house next to theirs. There were also ancient buildings of dramatic theatre n.a. Zhambyl (former House of Folks) and ethnographic museum (former male college).

Convict Inkov who set up a primary drugstore in the city, had constructed his house opposite House of Folks.

Previous name of Protazanov Street – Naberezhnaya Krasnykh Orlov, had its name from Russian Revolution. In summer of 1919, in local prison where Kolchak warriors (The Whites - Tsar’s supporters) held the Reds (Lenin’s supporters) revolt occurred. G. Kudinov, M. Bespalov, F. Buryagin took charge of revolt. Getting prison guards disarmed, inmates captured an armoury and took guns and ammunition. And, then rebellions didn’t realize what they would do then. Some offered to sail down by Irtysh on steamer, others insisted on taking the city with further riots in uyezd (then-administrative unit in Russian Empire). Meanwhile, white cossacks marshalled their forces and surrounded the fortress. After clash of arms, many of red rebellions took the plunge to swim across. Many of them were drowned while swimming. Only a few survived: Timofeyev and Goncharenko. Being injured while swimming, Bespalov was rescued by his mother and sister. Unfortunately, he was killed on his way back to home by Whites on his mother’s hands…
In memory of this event Beregovaya street was renamed into Naberezhnaya Krasnykh Orlov Street. Near the bridge there is a big stone; one day people was going to set up a memorial here.

Ushanova Street was named after the first chairman of Soviet department Yakov Ushanov. The beginning of its construction dates to the second half of the 19th century. Once it was a place where the elite of the city lived: police officer, uyezdny head, stanichny ataman, officers of local harnizon, traders. At the place of local bazaar Lenina Square was layed in the fifties. In 1958, November 6 memorial to Lenin was erected. Same year city owned its tramway line. One year later, House of Connection was built. Step by step, instead of tiny and small barracks on Ushanova street many-storeyed buildings growed. In the early eightees the biggest supermarket in the city was constructed.

Since 1965 Bolshaya street becomes Kirova. It was the straightest and biggest street in Ust-Kamenogorsk one day. Just this street was the first to be paved and later asphalted. Just here city’s festive actions as New Year masquerade to be occurred. This street was built with the biggest and the most luxury apartments of the city owned by manufacturers Menovschikov and Kasatkin, traders Semenov and Kurochkin. At the beginning of the street the house of political exile Mikhaelis was situated. Nobility sobranie was next to it, then went Mariyin woman’s college( exhibition hall of ethnographic museum today), Pokrovsky Cathedral and various shops. In 1909-11 “Echo” cinema theatre was set up.

Let us talk particularly about Evgeny Petrovitch Mikhaelis. He was a person of strong will, intellectual mind and broad erudition. They say, just him was the prototype of Bazarov in Turgenev’s novel “Otsy I deti” (“Parents and Their Children”). He was a promising young talent; however Tsar’s administration sends him out of big enlighning centres of Russian Empire. Here in the suburbs of Russian State, in Ust-Kamenogorsk, an incredible talent of researcher, inventor and public actor have risen to prominence.

Mikhaelis was good at Kazakh oral poetry. “Kazakh steppe should be grateful to him (Mikhaelis) for making out great talent of Abay Kunanbayev “noted famous regional ethnographer Boris Gerasimov. In accordance with Mukhtar Auyezov, they met in library when Abay asked a librarian for an issue of “Russky vestnik” (“Russian messenger”). Mikhaelis came closer and introduced himself to Kunanbayev. They fell into talk with each other. Mikhaelis was interested with youth who told excitedly about equity and humanity while Abay liked conversation with well brought and lettered Russian man.

Having acquainted well with Abay, Mikhaelis revealed poetic talent of Kunanbaev. Not to make talent to be wasted Michaelis directed genius in his learning.

While living in Semey (then Semipalatinsk), Mikhaelis was meeting with Kunanbayev almost every day in winter. Abay always kept in touch with Mikhaelis.

In 1882, Mikhaelis moved to Ust-Kamenogorsk. That time Ust-Kamenogorsk was small uyezdny town which had a population of 5.000 people. There were only 5 streets and 6 lanes. Streets were overbuilt with wooden houses. “Sibir” newspaper wrote: “There are 18 bars in the town where 9.000 litres of vodka are drunk, excepting wines and coniac”.And Mikhaelis yet to stay here for another 31 years.

In 1934, Kazakhstan saw a bumper harvest. Many people arrived in republic in order to help Kazakh people to take the crop. Sergey Kirov was among them. Three days of his trip were devoted to Eastern Kazakhstan. He visited many villages as well. After his death, Bolshaya street was renamed into Kirova. Ancient two-storied building of oblast executive is considered as historical monument for Kirov who took the floor from its balcony in 1934. While his speech, he recommended the city’s authorities to move bazaar from downtown to outskirts. According to him, they would have a park to be laid there.

In olden days, Uritskogo street was Soborny lane and for a long time it played great role as city’s transport corridor. Once upon a time, here, at the corner with Bolshaya street magnificent Pokrovsky cathedral, the monument of architecture in 19th century dominated all city. Its green domes were seen far away from the place.

The Church of Pokrova Presvyatoy Bogoroditsy was constructed in 1882-1885. Temple was typical example of Russian regional architecture. Strong basis and laconism of massive cubic volume combined with simple heometrical ornament created the feeling of all-time solemnity. The heaviest bell among the other 9 ones, weighted 162 and more poods ( Pood – the ancient Russian long measure that equals about 16 kilograms). Unfortunately, in 1936 Pokrovsky cathedral was destroyed due to atheistical faiths.

Over against cathedral in 1902, one-storeyed building of Mariyinsky woman’s college was built. Students of pedagogical courses were taught on assets from public hands of people’s education. Nowadays in ancient building of college ethnographic museum is layed.

Next to cathedral one-storeyed building of city’s administration stood. Since 1918, Soviet department of Ust-Kamenogorsk owned that bulding. After reconstruction, historical and ethnographic museum are lodged there. In soviet times, Soborny lane was renamed as Uritskaya street.

Shop “Saule” was primarily merchant Semenov’s Trading House, later – department store.

150 years ago Orzhonikidze street ( Sennoy lane that time) is considered as city’s suburb. Just here barren begun. In 1889 new city’s garden was layed out here. Political exiles Galimont, Fedorov, Mikhaelis, Kostyurin, as usual, took the lead of the project. Works went on till 1903. Stocks of poplar, hawthorn, apple tree were taken from military physician Vistennius who had wonderful garden outside the city. Later he sold that garden to Pankratyev. In the meantime, city’s garden grew very slow, getting poor care. Cattle often wandered in the garden, fireguards cut the grass for their horses. Someone of the visitants one day said garden contains of three haystacks.

Over against a picture.
City garden was rejoined by sennoy bazaar that is why the name of the street - Senny. All year round street was seeing wagons with wood, coal and hay, paraffin and lime, fowl and cattle. In 1937 Sennoy lane was renamed as Orzhonikidze street. In 1957 tramways were layed along it. City Park got the name of Zhambyl. Sennoy bazaar transformed into “Yubileyny” cinema theatre.

In March 14, 1918 Bolshevist Council of deputies took the city under its control.

The street and school named after first chairman of Council of deputies in Ust-Kamenogorsk Yakov Ushanov, streets of Nikolay Karmanov, Aleksandr Mashukov, Mikhail Bespalov, Red Eagles Enbankment…This is the evidence Soviet time left a memory behind.

97 days Sovdep (“Council of Deputies”) existed. There were a lot of battle days that time. Red Guard formed, new soviet schools opened, Youth Union organized. On the night of June 10, 1918 joint Cossack officers’ squadron opposed the Soviet power. Sovdep adopted measures for defence. Squadron of Red Guard was shifted from city to fortress. But chances were unequal. Institutors and leaders of Sovdep were seized and cast into prison. Under the guise of insurance broker Pavel petrovitch Bakheyev went about Ust-Kamenogorsk ujezd. He was unsuspected of being sent by Bolsheviks to bore the Whites from within. After 15 years he‘ll become famous for writing popular “Malakhitovaya Shkatulka”. The original name of this man was Bazhov.

In autumn of 1919 local partizana squads united. The first Altayan Polk of Red Mountainy Eagles formed. Nikita Ivanovitch Timofeev was elected as principal chief of the squads.

To the beginning of 1920 Soviet power set up an authority in the territory of Rudny Altai. In October 9, 1938 TCeka VeKaPe and the Council of People’s Commissioners adopted a regulation about “Non-ferrous metallurgy enhancement in Altai”.

Since 1939 Ust-Kamenogorsk became the centre of Eastern Kazakhstan oblast. The building of HPP in Ust-Kamenogorsk started.

War ruined many plans.

“Our motherland brought up us and our lives belong to her”, - claimed the participants of Youth meeting in Ust-Kamenogorsk. Hundreds of volunteers made applications in military commissariat. These are the names of Soviet heroes – B.T. Popov, A.G. Popov, L.M. Roschin, F.D. Turov, N.Y. Fonov, V.M. Litvinov, F.S. Kokorin, P.N. Miller, A.Y. Chernov. There were workers on the home front as well.

By the decision of State Defence Committee on the basis of disassembled equipment of plant “ElektroZink” in Orzhonikidze new Zink electrolytic Plant in Ust-Kamenogorsk construction started. Workers lied in barracks built in the short time. They broke new ground for dugouts. Four families could place into dugout.

This is the first strides of “metallurgical giant” on its way.

In March 27, Titanic and Magnesium Plant was put into operation. Its constructing started yet in 1958.

In spring of 1963, plant gave the first products of metallurgy.

In 1958, “Vostokmashzavod” gave the first melting of steel. During first decade of operation plant acclimated to production of oil-rigs for mine and querry boring, thickeners and sorting machines, cranes, steel castings, blacksmitteries for ore mining and metallurgical plants, repair parts for agricultural machines.

In 1953, the construction of condensing plant was finished. In 1959, it gave first products.

Turning of Ust-Kamenogorsk into centre for non-ferrous-metals industry would be impossible without development of passenger transport.

At the end of 1959 “Dom Svyazi” (Connection House) was built. In 1924, first telephone line was layed from people’s commissariat radio station to Municipal Council building.

The first constructing company of Ore Altai – “Ulbastroy” thrust. It was founded in Ridder but later, in 1934, it moved to oblast’s centre and, in 1954, got another name – “Altaysvinetsstroy”.

It wouldn’t be anything like today’s Ust-Kamenogorsk without the strongest energetical base.

There were nothing in the place to built the station among the high mountains and steep rocks. It was much to do before building that gigantic station. Works had started in 1939, but war interfered with all plans. The real construction started in 1949.

1949 – Ulbinsky Metallurgical Plant released its foremost production.

1956 – Ust-Kamenogorsk Furniture Factory produced its primary sofas and drow-out tables.

1957 – April, 30 – “Dvorets Kultury Metallurgov” (“Metallurgists’ Culture Center”) was built.

1958 – March, 15 - Ust-Kamenogorsk’s Television Centre staged its trial program. Few days later viewers watched regular TV programs.
In summer of 1958, Oblast Children’s Library opened its doors for readers.
In 1964, it was renamed into Gaydar’s.

1965 – October, 12 - First landing of jetliner AH-24 in Ust-Kamenogorsk’s airport.
First direct services between Almaty and Ust-Kamenogorsk were accomplished.

The 6th of November 1967 – Opening of wide-screen cinema theatre “Yubileyny” (“Jubilee”).

1969 – The 22nd of March – Opening of “Dvorets Sporta” (“Ice arena”) with capacity of 5.100.

1970 - The 9th of August - Bridge across Irtysh River was put in commission

October – the largest hotel “Ust-Kamenogorsk” in city was put into operation.








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