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Map of Semey

Semey[dead link] (Kazakh: Семей), formerly known as Semipalatinsk (Russian: Семипала́тинск, until 2007) and Alash-kala (Kazakh: Алаш-қала / Alaş-qala, 1917–1920), is a city in Kazakhstan with population of around 300,000 people.


Voskresenskiy Sobor

Semipalatinsk got its start as a fort of the Russian empire in 1718 where a Buddhist monastery had existed along the Irtysh River. But probably what it is most known for is its notoriety for being close to the centre of the Soviet atomic weapons testing program known as the 1 Semipalatinsk Test Site Semipalatinsk Test Site on Wikipedia that was active from 1949 to 1989, about 150 miles to the west. This has had long-lasting ill effects on the populace of Semipalatinsk, which was shortened to just Semey to try to disassociate from that disastrous spectacle.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

By train[edit]

Train connections include Almaty, Astana via Pavlodar and Novosibirsk.

By bus[edit]

Get around[edit]



  • 1 Silnee Smerti (Stronger Than Death Memorial), Polkovnichiy Island. to the victims of nuclear testing
  • 2 Semipalatinsk Bridge (Semey Bridge or Семей қаласындағы аспалы көпір). A suspension bridge with elegant lines over the Irtysh River. It is quite an eyecatcher, including when it's lit up or when steam is rising off the river. Semipalatinsk Bridge (Q48638) on Wikidata Semey_Bridge on Wikipedia
  • 3 Jamyshevskie Vorota, Abai street 111A. This gate is all that's left of a seven-chamber fortress that was erected in Semey in 1718 by order of Peter I.


Abai Qunanbaiuli Literature Museum
  • 4 Abai Museum (Abai Qunanbaiuli Literature Museum), Internacionalnaya St 29. Tu-Su 10ː00-18ː00. Where you can learn about this Kazakh poet and try not to get scolded by the female docent.
  • 5 Dostoyevsky Museum (Fyodor Dostoyevsky Literature Museum or Литературно-мемориальный музей Ф.М. Достоевского), Dostoevsky St 118, +7 7222 52 49 76. M-Sa 09ː00-18ː00. A little place of remembrance where Dostoyevsky lived under exile from 1857-1859. Is best if you know a little Kazakh or Russian though.
  • 6 East Kazakhstan Regional Museum of Fine Arts (Museum of the Nevzorov Family or Музей Семьи Невзоровых), Ulitsa Pushkina 108, +7 722 252 2019. Tu-Sa 10ː00-17ː30. The largest art museum in Kazakhstan, over 3500 artworks.


Enlik-Kebek cinema
  • 1 Enlik-Kebek Cinema, Tanirbergenov St, +7 702 180 5625. A notable cinema, though it seems to be going through hard times.
  • 2 Victory Park, Internacionalnaya St 97. A place to check out some tanks and patriotic statues.
  • 3 Central Park, Internacionalnaya St. ~06:00-23:00. Rather neglected, but a possible outdoor venue for some exercise or relaxation.
  • 4 Biological Center (Биологический центр), +7 778 320 5587. A zoo. And, while you're out on the island, be sure to check out the Stronger Than Death (Сильнее смерти) statue adjacent.



  • 1 Kafe "Khalva" (Кафе "Халва"), Dulatov St 140, +7 7222 36 37 37. all day. Coffee and a variety of meals.



  • 1 Nomad Hotel, Ibraev St 149, +7 7222 52 68 88. Be prepared for restaurant/bar/karaoke experiences downstairs, but also a spa and gym are available to help you to relax. And the hotel is so cute; it must be the tallest building in Semey.
  • 2 Semey City Hotel (Гостиница Semey City), Dulatov St 141, +7 777 854 9191. This one is nice and quaint, toilets that flush, a little bit of wifi. 8814 tenge.
  • 3 Hotel Europa, Uranhaev St 9. Here you can get a light breakfast included to start your day, and the accommodations are modest but warm at least.
  • 4 Ken Dala Hotel (Гостиница Кендала), Kabylbaev St 3А, +7 7222 53 35 53. This place should get the award for most modern hotel probably with its glassy exterior reflecting and shining. And here you'll find a restaurant or else mall at your backdoor to find sustenance.


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