Kazakhstan is an independent country since it declared its self-independence from the Soviet Union on 16 December 1991.The capital of Kazakhstan is Astana, although Almaty is the largest city in Kazakhstan.
Since January 2009 the Kashagan project, which is operated under the North Caspian Sea Production Sharing Agreement (NCSPSA) dated 1997, has been led by the North Caspian Operating Company (NCOC). The joint venture partners in NCOC are ENI (AGIP KCO), ExxonMobil, KazMunayGas, Royal Dutch Shell (NCPOC and SDK), Total, ConocoPhillips and Inpex.
Living in Atyrau definitely has its challenges, but it all starts with getting to know the city.
Please download here the Atyrau city map (in PDF) available for you.
The city of Atyrau sits 30 km up the Ural River from the Caspian Sea in the west of Kazakhstan. The river meanders through Atyrau dividing the town between Europe and Asia. Atyrau is a city with approximately 200.000 inhabitants. There are still the older apartment buildings that you recognize from the Soviet times, but you also see quite a few modern buildings and houses that have been built in recent years, since the country became independent in 1991. It has wide avenues and roads and a few parks not far from the Ural river. The river has tarmac sidewalks on both sides, where people can walk, run or ride their bicycles from the north of town all the way to the south and back. A marker in the city is Makambet Square where festivals are held and national holidays are celebrated.
The official state language is Kazakh. Most of the people speak Russian and Kazakh and, in general, not many people speak English, especially not on the markets and in the shops. So it can be useful to learn to speak some basic Russian and/or Kazakh, and to learn to read the Cyrrilic alphabet.
The Atyrau Regional Historical Museum is a small museum that displays different aspects of the city and its surroundings. You can see the climatic features of the area, the archeological sites, the development of the oil industry, the artefacts and lifetsyle of the nomads, and more of the history of Atyrau region.
The Regional Art Museum, which is located across the street from the Atyrau Historical Museum, displays various works of local artists and has changing exhibitions.
The Drama Theatre. From October through June you can enjoy music concerts, drama (performed in Russian or Kazakh) and other cultural events There are other smaller theatres in town.
Society in Kazakhstan today is mostly secular. Religion is based along ethnic lines. The Kazakhs are Muslims and the vast majority of Kazakhs are very moderate Muslims. The ethnic Russians are most likely to be members of the Russian Orthodox Church.
In Atyrau there is the modern Mangali Mosque, the older Russian Orthodox Church dating from 1888 and the Roman Catholic Church which was consecrated in 2002. There is no protestant church in Atyrau, but once a week the Protestants may use a small building next to the Catholic Church for their weekly service.