Look deep into your soul and ponder on my words:

To you I am a puzzle, my person and my verse.

My life has been a struggle, a thousand foes I braved,

Don’t judge me too severely – for you the way I paved.


Abai addressed these heartfelt lines to the generations to come, to his countrymen for whom he strove to pave the way to a more enlightened, better life. He carried his poetry like a burning torch through the gloom of ignorance and prejudice that enveloped the Kazakh steppes, revealing new horizons to his people and the promise of a new dawn. 

                                                                                                                                                           MUKHTAR AUEZOV 

 Welcome and introduction

The City of Semey (formerly Semipalatinsk) is located in northeast Kazakhstan, just a few hundred kilometres from China to the east and Russia to the north on the Irtysh River. It is located about 1000 kilometres north of Kazakhstan’s commercial capital Almaty. Semey and its surrounding regions have played an important role in the development of Kazakhstan, whether as a centre of trade between Russia and China over the centuries, the centre of Kazakhstan’s literary tradition or the saddest part of its history, its role in the Soviet Union’s nuclear weapons testing.

With such a rich history, Semey’s local government as well as the players in the tourism industry have been redeveloping the city’s tourism offer. In collaboration, we have focused increasingly on what we can offer to tourists, both internationally and domestically. Taking its nuclear and literary legacy and combining it with its strong museums, late 19th and early 20th century architecture and good hunting and fishing, Semey is an ideal city for a weekend break (or longer).

We hope to see you soon in Semey!

Top banner detail: from left to right: Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Kazakh ethnographer Chokhan Valikhanov circa 1860, detail of early door in Tatarski krai, Orthodox Church, detail of Abai Mausaleum and Abai Kunabayev, Kazakhstan’s most revered writer.