History of a Town You’ve Probably Never Heard About

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Shemonaikha celebrates its 255th anniversary

This article, which is part of the Real Kazakhstan project run by the Kursiv edition and Chevron, is devoted to the Shemonaikha district, its new sports complex and author of the novel Shadows Disappear at Noon.

Editor’s note: the opinion expressed by the author might be different from the official point of view of the edition or the company of Chevron.

The Shemonaikha district was formed in 1928 while the settlement itself was established in 1766 at the Uba River and named in honor of its first resident whose surname was Shemonaevskiy. In 1961 it gained the status of a town and became the center of the entire district.

istoriya-goroda-v-vko,-o-kotorom-vy,-skoree-vsego,-nikogda-ne-slyshali (8).jpgBridge in Shemonaikha 

The population of the district is more than 40,000 people; about 18,000 live in the town.

istoriya-goroda-v-vko,-o-kotorom-vy,-skoree-vsego,-nikogda-ne-slyshali (3).jpgThe town’s bazaar

istoriya-goroda-v-vko,-o-kotorom-vy,-skoree-vsego,-nikogda-ne-slyshali (4).jpgClean streets 

Shemonaikha is a clean and tidy small town with gentle residents. In 2019 local authorities made renovations to several central streets. Interestingly, after the collapse of the USSR, Shemonaikha became one of few towns in Eastern Kazakhstan where a gas infrastructure still works. The local boiler house provides heat and hot water to 3500 houses, including 173 multistory buildings in the Sheminaikha and Ust-Talovka settlements.

The pride of Shemonaikha residents 

One of the local sights to see is the local history museum, which has worked since 1973 and has seven showrooms.


The local history museum, historical sight

The showroom devoted to Kazakh ethnography has dozens of items representing Kazakh people’s way of life in the past. The room is designed in a particular way to demonstrate the traditional nomadic house of Kazakh people with furniture, dishes and carpets. 

istoriya-goroda-v-vko,-o-kotorom-vy,-skoree-vsego,-nikogda-ne-slyshali (5).jpgKazakh ethnography showroom

Also, the room includes some musical tools, ethnic clothes and jewelry. Museum workers do their best to reconstruct the interior of the traditional house of nomads. Recently, the museum even bought two small coffers made of wood and painted in a unique ethnic style.

Another showroom, which has been working for three years, is devoted to Anatoliy Ivanov, prominent Soviet writer and author of the big novels «Shadows Disappear at Noon» and «Eternal Call.» Previously, the museums’ building used to be a school, where Anatoliy Ivanov studied.

istoriya-goroda-v-vko,-o-kotorom-vy,-skoree-vsego,-nikogda-ne-slyshali (6)_0.jpg

There are 300 items in the museum, including books, manuscripts, photographs and personal belongings of the writer. 


The most interesting photos are presented on a big stand to show how Ivanov lived and worked, according to Natalya Dubinchik, director of the museum.


In 2008 the town of Shemonaikha opened a monument of Anatoliy Ivanov. 


In 2009 another monument called Maryin Utes (Rock of Maria) in honor of heroine of «Shadows Disappear at Noon.» The vast majority of tourists are particularly interested in this sight.

However, there are many other exhibition items about archeaology, history and nature in the museum.

Sports Center and Farm

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s Independence, Shemonaikha authorities plan to open a new two-story sports center; its construction is currently underway.


So far there is no other venue in Shemonaikha where people of all ages can do sports or play games.

The square of the new center is 1,200 square meters. The center will include a big room on the first floor for running as well as for volleyball and football. On the second floor will be rooms for boxing, wrestling and martial arts. The center will also include a gym and rooms for tennis and chess. All visitors will be able to use changing houses, showers and medical services if needed.

The new center would cost about $797,225 allocated from the state budget. The contractor of the project is Alash Kurylys company.

At the moment 80% of the construction work is done; the decoration work is underway.


According to the construction company, the sports center will be available for people with disabilities; the company has bought all the proper equipment.

Another company, Rulikha, is building a milk farm near Shemonaikha including a production site, garages, administrative building and building for calves under two months. In December 2020, the farm purchased 330 units of Holstein cows, which is the most common and productive breed, according to farmers. Their goal is to increase the number of animals to 600 units by the end of this year.

The second phase is the construction of another milk production plant for 2,000 cows and calves.

There are 24 workers at the farm with a square of 16 hectares. Even amidst the pandemic, the construction work hasn’t stopped, the company said. 

Plenty of Work Should Be Done

According to Albina Samoylova, head of the Department of Economics and Budget Planning, there are 2,055 small and mid-sized businesses in Shemonaikha, including 192 companies, 1,576 entrepreneurs and 287 farmers.

The budget of the Shemonaikha district has been increasing over the past three years. In 2019 the town earned $13.3 million, $21.1 million in 2020 and more than $17.3 million in just three months of 2021.

The district is rich with minerals and full of plants, mines and open pits, which means there is a lot of work to do. The minimum wage is $282 and more, which is not bad for locals. 
Throughout the first quarter of 2021, companies in the Shemanaikha district produced goods for $46.6 million. The mining industry accounted for $31.6 million and the reprocessing industry $13.1 million.

The agrarian sector also plays a big role in the local economy and many locals are engaged in animal breeding or crop farming.

According to the local administration, the amount of gross product in agriculture over the first quarter was $5.3 million, including $4.9 million of livestock products such as meat, milk and eggs.

«Recently, entrepreneurs have begun to actively collect milk from the population. Only in the Kamenevsky district, three milk collection points collect and deliver milk to our producers. Part of the milk collected from the population and dairy farms goes to Pavlodar, to JSC ‘SUT’ by milk tankers. In general, there are no problems with the marketing of milk and dairy products. The cost of milk from the population is from $0.19 to $0.27, depending on the quality of milk,» said Ruslan Makhmudov, head of the agriculture department of the Shemonaikha district of the East Kazakhstan region.

As for crop production, this year the district plans to sow grain legumes (56%), oilseeds (35.2%), potatoes and other vegetables (1%). Local farmers also produce wheat, sunflower, rapeseed, buckwheat and perennial grasses. Currently, the area is getting ready for sowing.

It should be noted that many farmers prefer to use elite seeds or seeds of the first reproduction, refusing seeds of mass reproduction and seeds of the third grade. According to the local administration, 15,400 tons of seeds have been prepared for harvest in 2021. About 11,400 tons of these seeds were tested for sowing quality. According to the analysis results, 9,700 tons are seeds of the 1st and 2nd grades.

Among local producers, Kamyshinskoe and Vydrikhinskoe enterprises are well-known for their leading role in animal husbandry and crop production. The first is a leader in the production of dairy products; the second is known for impressive results in farming. Another enterprise, Vostokselkhozprodukt has occupied a strong position in the processing of oilseeds and the production of vegetable oil. However, many other enterprises in the region reached very good results as well.

To fulfill all the large-scale fieldwork, the regional authorities have been allocated 3,185 tons of diesel fuel and determined those who will serve as delivery operators.

Since the beginning of 2021, agricultural producers of the Shemonaikha district have purchased three units of equipment that cost $337,648.

This is a huge amount of work that requires additional manpower, particularly veterinarians and machine operators. Even though the heads of farms are ready to provide workers with housing and good wages, there are no lines for those who are willing to live here and work in the field.

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