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At the mouth of the stone mountains

Ust-Kamenogorsk – is one of the most amazing cities in the country. Its streets remember the decabrists and famous Kazakh educators. The names of Ust-Kamenogorsk's streets keep the memory of Petrashevtsy, narodovoltsy and the revolutionaries – the people who have left a bright trace in its life. Local citizens deciphered the name of “Ustkaman” as “the area of the prisoners’ friends”. 
Find gold and build a town!!

The center of East Kazakhstan region is rightfully considered to be the creation of Peter the Great. In 1719 he ordered the major of Semenov polk Ivan Likharev to find the way to  Zaisan, find gold and build a town.
Likharev was a brave soldier, he had medals for courage and bravery in the war with Sweden, participated in the laying of the fortress of St. Peter (future St. Petersburg).  And after Irtysh campaign he was promoted to Brigadier and put in military Collegium under Peter the First!

For military campaigns and strengthening the state, Peter the First needed gold. Lots of gold! Stories of Eastern travelers drew Peter a fabulous country, rich in gold, silver, copper, tin, gems... The Emperor entrusted the expedition his ally, proven in battles guard Ivan Likharev. A famous East Kazakhstan local historian Stanislav Chernykh brings that directions of the Tsar, “And you go to Siberia. As a good and honest officer, I ordered you to find out the gold... if it truly is. And if there are such people, attract them to participate in the expedition. They pointed the way to lake Zaisan... if there will be a timber – build a fortress. At the same time find out the way from Zaisan to the Amudarya, how far is this river and whether it is possible to reach it”.

In May, 1720 the Likharev expedition with engineers, doctors, craftsmen, builders and soldiers found out along the river a good place for the foundation of the fortresses. And in August, 1720, “at the mouth of the Irtysh river, flowing from the stone mountains” Likharev began to build the Outpost, strengthening it with shaft, moat and garden in human height. So, on the map, a new item of Ust-Kamen with a population of 363 people. They were soldiers of the garrison.

In fed and shakedown 
The ramparts are still in place in Ust-Kamenogorskl, after 288 years! Directly on the shaft stands the city prison, just above the Church, and under them – cozy street Likharev, singing on Orthodox holidays with crimson bells. 
The neighbourhood of the prison and the church lasts almost 300 years. The way of life of military outposts was common:: barracks, kitchen, prison, church. The soldier was supposed to serve in fed, but in the shakedown. They say that the prison is no less than 200 years old. In the Soviet time on the territory of the backyard was found a tombstone with the inscription: “Under this stone is buried the body of the former  fortress commandant of Ust-Kamenogorsk - major Bartholomew Vasiliev, son Verevkin, Russian nobleman from the Belgorod province of the city of Karachev, he served from 1742 with true to Fatherland,  . ..” 
According to documents, in 1765, a wooden fortress was burned to the ground. However, after a year on the plan of the new fortification appeared again the prison guard, and a wine cellar and provision shop. 
Among the prisoners of Ust-Kamen was a lot of political rebels. In the list of 1829, there were the participants of the Polish rebellion Ivan Vysotsky, brothers Ordynsky,  decabrist Stepan Semyonov – one of the leaders of the Moscow branch. The famous East Kazakhstan historian Nikolay Alekseenko wrote about Semyonov: “In 1829 the German explorer Alexander Humboldt travelled through Siberia and Central Asia. To protect the scientist from the provincial governors of fools, it was assigned to Ust-Kamenogorsk judge Stepan Semyonov. Together with decabrist Humboldt visited the Katun, Ridder, Zyryanovsk, Kazakh nomads on the left bank of Irtysh. After the expedition, Humboldt was invited to St. Petersburg for an audience with the Emperor. He admitted that he was impressed by the meeting on the outskirts of the Empire with a person fluently speaking European languages, learnt in natural and exact Sciences. 
The effect of his fiery speech was unpredictable. Nicholay I reprimanded the Omsk Governor for the connivance the decabrist, and Semyonov was sent to remote Siberian swamps – Turinsk. There he died, without amnesty.
Today one of the city schools named after Explorer Humboldt, and in honor of  decabrist, we want to believe, called Semyonovka - a beautiful forest village. A fortress prison works nowadays. Now it includes a detention center and camera for especially dangerous criminals – murderers, maniacs... Nine years ago there was so-called Pugachev – a small group led by a strange man who called himself  Pugachev, It seemed  he seriously thought that he could seize power in Eastern Kazakhstan without a weapon with a couple of smoke grenades and a pack of cartridges. The most naïve and young so called Makashovs, or Limonovs were sent back home to Russia.
The memory of the Cathedral 
In 2009 in Ust-Kamenogorsk the construction of an Orthodox Church was completed.  Its golden domes rose high above the ramparts and Irtysh, bringing the city an old bitter debt – Cathedral, destroyed 72 years ago by the Bolsheviks. 
The Pokrovsky Church was built in 1888 and had a very rich decoration. Archival inventory mentions a silver candelabrum, the nine bells. The weight of the heaviest  bell was 162 pounds 35 pounds. The Cathedral was considered the most significant and beautiful building in Ust-Kamenogorsk. 
The destruction of the Cathedral began with the Bolshevik act of confiscation of Church property. The crosses, salaries, vestments, censers were taken away. In 1935 the city Council gave the Cathedral under ... the elevator. But even after that it's rubbing communist's faces  with its shining domes. A year later, the city Council decided to blow up the Cathedral. In the decision wrote: “due to the fact that it is impossible to adopt the building of the Cathedral without investing huge sums, the council finds it appropriate to take it apart for using the material to the needs of local construction.” 
Firstly they tried to break the church. But it was unsuccessfully. Then it was blown up. Mutilated, shot the church was still standing. More than a years the komsomols and the communists dismantled the clutch before wiped the building off the face of the earth. 200 thousand of the sacred bricks were placed for the construction of an oil extraction plant. They say that they were put in factory pipe. 
Ten years ago, right where once stood Pokrovsky Cathedral, there was a small chapel. It is closed only for the night. Anyone can come to pray, light a candle. 
The Bolsheviks were able to destroy the walls of the temple, but the sanctity of this corner of the city – no.
French trail 
In 1825 the population of Ust-Kamenogorsk reached 1304. Around the fortress settled immigrants and those who had prison term.  During these years the Frenchman de Liankur was one of commandants of the fortress. First he fled to Russia from the French revolution in 1790 and served in the Russian army. In 1805 he refused to fight against his former countrymen and was exiled to Ust-Kamenogorsk. Nikolai Alekseyenko says that Colonel de Liankur despised Russian manners and for 39 years of living in Ust-Kamenogorsk he did not learn the Russian language. He sternly called his wife (the local Cossak) “Matyron Ivanoff”. His daughters were not literacy taught – because still in Siberia they would marry the fools. And anyone who came to him with the report, he met with one sentence: “a glass of vodka, and go out!”
The first governor
The real culture came to the county town only at the end of XIX century with the arrival of a group of political exiles – Evgeny Michaelis, Orest Kostyurin, Alexandr Fedorov, Ivan Emelyantsev, Caesar Tarasevich, Vasiliy Inkov... All these people came to the town and worked not for show. At the suggestion of the first governor Orest Kostyurin, in the city the people's house with a library was built. The largest contribution to its construction was made by the governor. Political exiles founded the first park,  schools, shops, first cinematograph “Echo”. In 1901 the newspaper “Siberian life” wrote: “County town for its cultural life was ahead of all other cities in the Semipalatinsk province...”. The governor Kostyurin worked daily in the blacksmith shops, and part of money from the workshop income spent on the development of Ust-Kamenogorsk. 
Now in the old building of people's house there is the regional drama theatre. They say that someday on the stage of the theatre a play about the history of the political exiles in provincial town will be put. Their life was full of asceticism, drama, search and great work.
Abay”s friend 
A special place in the history of Ust-Kamenogorsk has Evgeny Michaelis. Originating from St. Petersburg, genius, scrabble, friend of Chernyshevsky, Turgenev, Nekrasov, Goncharov, Mendeleev. He prophesied a brilliant career, but it ended before it began. For participation in student unrest the student of Petersburg University Michaelis was exiled to Siberia and then transferred to Semipalatinsk for the position of assistant clerk. Simply – scribe. 
The mind and the ability of Evgeny Petrovich were quickly noticed by his superiors. The next year the exiled student was instructed to choose the most optimal route of a new postal road between Semipalatinsk and Karkaraly. And then – to explore the Altai ranges and oil shale in the area of Zaisan. Michaelis opened a new type of fuel to local population, and the hostess said that the bread bacame tastier – a long flame of oil shale heated furnaces better and kept  heat longer. 
Abay became a close friend of Evgeny Petrovich. Mukhtar Auezov wrote about their relationships in his book “the Way of Abay”. Two personalities met in Semipalatinsk”s public library, where Abay asked a magazine with a story by Lev Tolstoy. Michaelis first interested in this man, and then impressed by his judgment and humanistic views. Evgeny Petrovich  Abay poetry and skilfully helped to develop it. A well-known ethnographer of the XIX–XX centuries evaluated the influence of Michaelis: “It is entirely Kirghiz steppe owes the fact that it is not lost a great poetic talent.” 
Until the last days of the life a great Kazakh poet spoke about his friend. with gratitude  
In 1882, Michaelis moved to Ust-Kamenogorsk. He  loved it because of it”s rivers, plenty of greenery and quiet of the backwaters. At that time it was a town with a population of 5 thousand people, five streets and six lanes. Schools and hospitals were not here, but there were 18 dives in with they drank nine thousand buckets of vodka in addition to wines and cordials. Michaelis had lived in Ust-Kamenogorsk more than thirty years – until his death.
The appearance of Evgeny Petrovich made an impression on the small town. A massive head, a wide with pepper hair beard, spectacles, clever, deep eyes, large work wearing hands.  Till his death throughout the year Michaelis wore a white cotton suit and he went to town with a stick-spear, covered with snake skin. His speech was witty, he could shut down hubris and arrogance, consistently cherished human dignity.
Evgeny Petrovitch Mchaelis with remarkable success did completely different things. He made a geological map of the city, explored the origin of the Altai mountains, studied mollusks, opened in Ust-Kamenogorsk a library, founded school, gymnasiuml, designed the bridge, was engaged in beekeeping, inventing new designs of beehives, built a mechanical model airplanes... And everythingl at a high scientific level. His model of aeronautic devices were able to run and even slightly up in the air! 
Ust-Kamenogorsk police  regularly sent reports about the political exiles. One of the informants said: “It is impossible To doubt In the political unreliability of these persons in any way... to become necessary, to prove themselves, they are not sparing the city budget, beginning to build palaces for schools, public buildings, arrange walkways, strengthen the shore, etc.” 
Yeah... It’s a pity that now we can not meet such “unreliable” individuals in Ust-Kamenogorsk. Alas, but none the akimr for almost 20 years have not  an educational  institutions or public library built in the city  at least in order to prove themselves... 
Modern layout of Michaelis street symbolicaly crosses with Abay prospect.  In this part of the regional center are the largest enterprises and educational institutions, Ulba river flows, railway and the busy highway. 
It’s right that the names of remarkable people of East Kazakhstan are immortalized here. After all, they both dreamed about a new, progressive life! 

Unfortunately, modern buildings almost completely destroyed the historic look of the city at the mouth of the stone mountains. Most of new buildings located on the old streets look rude and inappropriate. Only crumbs of antique are saved here. And so it is more valuable!


Source: Karavan newspaper








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