History of Karlag attracts tourists

The Karlag Museum, dedicated to the memory of the victims of political repression, is now one of the most popular sights in the Karagandy region. Every year, around 3,000 foreign tourists visit the site, with some hoping to discover any information about their relatives who were once held in this corrective labour camp. The camp area used to span about two million hectares of land. Presently, the museum occupies a space of 170 square meters, housing 26 exhibition halls. These halls feature installations and exhibits that narrate the tragic stories of hundreds of thousands of repressed people affected by the Soviet regime.

“As the visitors enter each prison cell, they are immediately immersed in the atmosphere of that era. For example, the infirmary, the investigator's office, the male and female wards, and even the babies' room are depicted with striking realism. As people walk through these halls, they acquaint themselves with the history of those times, often moved to tears,” museum guide Karakoz Mazhitova said.

The museum is bound to leave a profound impression on every visitor. Every detail there portrays the plight of the condemned people. Furniture, lamps, scanty household utensils, doors, old yellowed letters, and instruments of torture - all of them are silent witnesses to the tragedy of the past. Horror and hopelessness are forever imprinted on the faces of the wax figures. The museum exhibits realistically depict the sufferings of the inmates of the corrective prison camp, revealing the sad chapters of history. However, as researchers say, not all of the Karlag archives have been uncovered yet.

Zhenis Yermukanov, Correspondent

As of today, it is known that over 1.5 million people have suffered from torture in Karlag. Over a million of them were imprisoned, and 25,000 were executed. However, researchers unanimously affirm that the number of victims was actually significantly higher.

Scientists prove existence of Kimak settlements in Karagandy region

Centuries-old history reveals that the Karagandy region developed actively during ancient and medieval times. According to scholars, Kimak cities were located in this area. Historians conducted several studies to find evidence supporting their theory. Thus, they found an ancient world map created by the Arab geographer Muhammad al-Idrisi, as reported by the head of the Scientific Institute for the Study of Ulus Zhoshy, Zhaksylyk Sabitov.

“According to this map, three or four of the 16 Kimak cities, including Naga Khanauz, Dakhlan, and possibly Lalan, were presumably located in the Karagandy region. Some researchers argue that Lalan might have been situated on the territory of the present-day Ulytau region. The map shows marked mountains and two rivers, Nura and Sherubai-Nura, flowing into what appears to be Lake Tengiz. The cities located on the mountain are Naga Khanauz and Dakhlan, with one of them being located on the modern-day Kyzyltas Mountai, at the source of the Nura River,” Zhaksylyk Sabitov, Director of the Scientific Institute for the Study of Ulus Zhoshy, said.

Overall, the map of ancient Kazakhstan depicts 40 cities, but as of now, only two of them, Sairam and Taraz, are known to us, according to Sabitov. To locate the remaining 38 cities, domestic researchers need to conduct extensive archaeological work.