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Aktau ( ; ), until 1992 Shevchenko ( ) is a city in Kazakhstanmarker's Mangyshlak Peninsulamarker and country's only seaport on the Caspian Seamarker. It is the capital of Mangystau Provincemarker in western Kazakhstan. Aktau literally means "white mountain" in Kazakh, so named after the cliffs overlooking the sea.

Aktau has a block address system - the streets of the city have no names, and all addresses in Aktau consist of three numbers: the microdistrict (block) number, the building number and the apartment number. This is because the town was settled first to be the camp of the workers of oil industry from another parts of the country.


The territory of Aktau was once resided by ancient tribes of Scythians. Current archeological finds are the demonstrations of old settlements and utensils.Aktau was founded in 1961 as a covert settlement, Guriyev-20, when development of uranium deposits was started. In 1963 the settlement was open and gained status of a city named Shevchenko.From 1963 to 1991, city was named Shevchenko to honour the Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko, who was once exiled to this remote location because of his political views. The name Aktau was brought back in 1991 as the Soviet Union collapsed and country took its independence.Aktau was once the site of a nuclear power station. The BN-350marker FBR went online in 1973, and closed in 1999. In addition to producing plutonium, BN-350 was also used for providing power for the city and for desalination to supply fresh water to the city. By the long-term plan of the Government of Kazakhstan a new nuclear power station is going to be built near the current one, as the current type of supplying water and energy will not be enough in the future, as the new district called Aktau -City is going to be built, doubling the current area of the city.


Aktau has an international airportmarker, a railway station, and a developed seaport. Buses and taxis are the principal means of public transport within the city.

Climate and leisure

The climate is continental, with dry summers and mild winters, with a mean January temperature of -4°C, and a mean July temperature of 27°C

The beach season lasts from May to September, with an average sea temperature of 21°C. Aktau has rocky hills and sandy beaches at the seashore.

There are several modern resorts on the coast to the south of the city. The beaches of Caspian shore in summer are full of people, due to the hot climate in the season. Tourists come mainly from other parts of Kazakhstan.


View of the seaside
Aktau is a relatively young city. The architecture is a mix of modern glass business centres and residences and typical Soviet blocks of apartments.There is a lighthouse in Aktau installed atop of apartment building.The main attraction in the city remains the Caspian sea with its long side walks and beaches.

  • WWII Eternal Flame Memorial
  • Regional Studies & History Museum
  • The Drama Theatre
  • Yntymak Square

Aktau city project

Entrance to the city
September 11, 2007 President Nursultan Nazarbayev gave a start to the project Aktau city in order to develop tourism and attract investments . A totally new city will be built to the north-west of the current city with 4 millions sq. meters of residential and business buildings to be constructed. The architecture style will be derived from UAEmarker's construction experience under the patronage of Sheikh Abdullah ibn Zaid Al Nahayan.

External links

Sister Cities


  2. Aktau Port
  3. Lighthouses of Kazakhstan
  4. New city project Khabar news agency
  5. Twinning with Aktau
  6. Visit of M.Saakashvili to Kazakhstan 31 Channel March 31, 2005
  7. KZ-Today September 11, 2006

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