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Coordinates: 49°48′10″N 73°06′20″E / 49.80278°N 73.10556°E / 49.80278; 73.10556
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From the top, Palace of Culture at night, Karaganda Catholic Cathedral, Karaganda Orthodox Church
Official seal of Karagandy
Karagandy is located in Kazakhstan
Location in Kazakhstan
Coordinates: 49°48′10″N 73°06′20″E / 49.80278°N 73.10556°E / 49.80278; 73.10556
RegionQaraghandy Region
 • Akim (mayor)Meiram Kozhukhov[1]
 • Total497.8 km2 (192.2 sq mi)
546 m (1,791 ft)
 • Total497,777
 • Density1,000/km2 (2,600/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+5 (Time in Kazakhstan)
Postal code
100000 - 100030
Area code+7 7212
Vehicle registrationM and 09 (region)

Karaganda, also known as Qaraghandy or Karagandy, (Kazakh: Қарағанды/Qarağandy, pronounced [qɑɾɑˈʁɑndə] ; Russian: Караганда, pronounced [kərəɡɐnˈda]) is the capital of Karaganda Region, Kazakhstan. It is the fifth most populous city in Kazakhstan, behind Almaty (Alma-Ata), Astana, Shymkent and Aktobe. Population: 497,777 (2020 Estimate);[3] 459,778 (2009 Census results);[4] 436,864 (1999 Census results).[4] Karaganda is approximately 230 km (140 mi) south-east of Kazakhstan's capital Astana.

The city has been a major center for coal mining throughout much of its modern history, and experienced major growth during the Soviet Union as its coal industry developed. Coal mining remains a significant part of the city's economy.



The name "Karaganda" is derived from "caragana" bushes (Caragana arborescens, Caragana frutex), which are abundant in the area.[citation needed]



Old Town

Saint Joseph Cathedral

Modern-day Karaganda dates back to 1833, when local shepherd Appak Baizhanov [ru] allegedly found coal on the site of the city, prompting a coal mining boom.[5][6]: 30  By the late 19th century, the local mines had attracted workers from nearby villages, Russian merchants, and entrepreneurs from France and England.[5] After this initial boom, the mines were abandoned, but are often still labeled on city maps as the "Old Town", but almost nothing remains on that site.[citation needed]

20th century


In the late 1920s, Soviet geologists examined the region's coal deposits, prompting Soviet authorities to establish the Karaganda Coal Trust, and plan for the creation of coal mines and a mining town in the area.[6]: 25  Planners set out to create a dozen coal mines, and drafted blueprints for a city to house an estimated 40,000 workers.[6]: 25  Coal mining in the area resumed in 1930, and temporary structures were built for miners and their families.[5] The new area for the city was to the south of the initial mines.[citation needed] Initially, Karaganda suffered from an inadequate amount of supplies, and living conditions in the settlement were often poor.[6]: 25–26  In 1930, coal production was below expectations.[6]: 26  In February 1931, the area was connected via railroad, bringing in a wealth of supplies and highly-qualified personnel.[6]: 26  Later that year, NKVD officials established the Karlag Prison.[6]: 26  Upon the establishment of the Karlag Prison, authorities began to import labor into the region en masse.[6]: 26  During the 1930s, the area experienced rapid growth.[6]: 17  In 1931, Karaganda was incorporated as a village, and in 1934, was declared a city.[5] Led by planner Alexander Ivanovich Kuznetsov, masters plans for Karaganda were laid out from 1934 until 1938.[5] During the Stalinist purges, peoples from many different nationalities, including Germans, Karachais, Kalmyks, Chechens, Ingush, Greeks, and Crimean Tatars were sent to Karlag.[5] By 1939, Karaganda had a population of about 100,000, about half of which were prisoners.[6]: 17 

In the 1940s, up to 70% of the city's inhabitants were ethnic Germans.[citation needed] Most of the ethnic Germans were Soviet Volga Germans who were collectively deported to Siberia and Kazakhstan on Stalin's order when Hitler invaded Soviet-annexed eastern Poland and the Soviet Union proper in 1941.[citation needed] Until the 1950s, many of these deportees were interned in labor camps, often simply because they were of German descent.[citation needed] The population of Karaganda fell by 14% from 1989 to 1999 following the dissolution of the Soviet Union; it was once Kazakhstan's second-largest city after Almaty.[citation needed] Over 100,000 people have since emigrated to Germany. There is also a concentration of ethnic Poles in the city.[citation needed]

Robert F. Kennedy (later US Attorney General and US Senator), alongside US Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, visited "five Soviet Central Asian Republics": Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tadzhikistan, Kirghizia, and Kazakhstan. While on the six week trip (e.g., Bukhara, 300 to 1 mosque after Soviet rule),[clarification needed] his biographers reported that their delegation was not allowed to visit the city of Karaganda which was one of the sites of the most notorious labor camps within the confines of the Soviet Union. The delegation was diverted to Siberia after four denials of visas.[7]

1962 electromagnetic pulse incident

Nurken Abdirov Street at the corner of Gogol Street.

Karaganda suffered the most severe electromagnetic pulse effects ever observed when its electrical power plant was set on fire by currents induced in a 1,000 km (620 mi) long shallow buried power cable by Soviet Test ‘184’ on 22 October 1962.[citation needed] The test was part of the Soviet Project K nuclear tests (ABM System A proof tests), and consisted of a 300-kiloton high-altitude nuclear explosion at an altitude of 290 km (180 mi) over Zhezkazgan.[citation needed]

Prompt gamma ray-produced EMP induced a current of 2,500 amps measured by spark gaps in a 570 km (350 mi) stretch of overhead telephone line to Zharyq, blowing all the protective fuses.[citation needed] The late-time MHD-EMP was of low enough frequency to enable it to penetrate 90 cm (35 in) into the ground, overloading a shallow buried lead and steel tape-protected 1,000 km (620 mi) long power cable between Aqmola (now called Astana) and Almaty.[citation needed] It fired circuit breakers and set the Karaganda power plant on fire.[citation needed]

Late 20th century


Kuznetsov's master plan for the city was intended to accommodate 300,000 inhabitants, which was surpassed by the late 1960s.[5] This prompted planners to devise a new plan with the goal of accommodating 600,000 people.[5] By the 1980s, the city's population surpassed 600,000 people, creating the need for further expansion.[5] In 1983, the Karaganda Circus was constructed, which was criticized for its high cost.[5]

In the early 1990s, Karaganda was briefly considered as a candidate for the capital of the (then) newly independent Republic of Kazakhstan, but its bid was turned down in favour of Astana.[citation needed]

21st century


2019 archaeological findings


In July 2019, remains of a young couple buried face to face dated 4,000 years back were unearthed in Karaganda region in central Kazakhstan by a group of archaeologists led by Igor Kukushkin from Saryarka Archaeological Institute in Karaganda. It is assumed that the Bronze Age couple were 16 or 17 years old when they died. Kukushkin supposes that they were from a 'noble family' thanks to the buried gold and jewelry artifacts, ceramic pots, woman's two bracelets on each arm beads, remains of horses and knives found in the grave.[8][9][10]

2023 Kostenko mine fire


On October 28, 2023, the Kostenko mine, a coal mine in Karaganda run by ArcelorMittal Temirtau, the local unit of ArcelorMittal, caught on fire, and killed at least 32 people.[11] In weeks prior to the fire, the Kazakhstani government announced it was in talks to take over part of ArcelorMittal Temirtau's operations, in part due to its dissatisfaction by ArcelorMittal's failure to invest more in its operations, including equipment upgrades and safety precautions.[11]



Karaganda is located in a steppe area of the Kazakh Uplands at an elevation of 546 m (1,791 ft). To the northeast flows the Nura river and to the west the Sherubainura, its main tributary. In the southern part of the city lies the Fedorov Reservoir, built in 1941 by filling a coal mine pit with the water of river Sokyr that flows along the southern limit. The Bugyly Range (Бұғылы), reaching a height of 1,187 m (3,894 ft), rises about 60 km (37 mi) to the south of the city. The Bugyly Nature Reserve is located in the range.[12][13]



Karaganda has a Continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb) with warm summers and very cold winters. Precipitation is moderately low throughout the year, although slightly heavier from May to July. Snow is frequent, though light, in winter. The lowest temperature on record is −42.9 °C (−45.2 °F), recorded in 1938, and the highest temperature is 40.2 °C (104.4 °F), recorded in 2002.[14]

Climate data for Karaganda (1991–2020, extremes 1932–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 6.2
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) −9.2
Daily mean °C (°F) −13.4
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) −17.7
Record low °C (°F) −41.7
Average precipitation mm (inches) 25
Average extreme snow depth cm (inches) 21
Average rainy days 1 1 4 9 14 12 14 10 9 9 6 2 91
Average snowy days 20 19 15 6 1 0 0 0 1 7 15 19 103
Average relative humidity (%) 79 78 78 61 54 50 55 52 53 66 77 78 65
Mean monthly sunshine hours 106 142 189 231 297 335 330 303 247 141 108 99 2,528
Source 1: Pogoda.ru.net[14]
Source 2: NOAA (sun, 1961–1990)[15]



Due to the prominence of heavy industry in Karaganda, the city experiences a high level of air pollution.[16] Air pollution tracking company IQAir found it to have Kazakhstan's highest level of PM2.5 concentration among cities measured from 2017 to 2022, and the 23rd highest in the world among cities measured.[17]



Karaganda is a largely industrial city, and coal mining is a major component of its economy.[18] As of 2023, the city hosts 8 coal mines, and during the times of the Soviet Union, hosted as many as 26.[18]

Since local water resources are not sufficient for the needs of a major industrial city, the Irtysh–Karaganda Canal was constructed in the 1960s, to supply the Karaganda metropolitan area with water from the Irtysh River more than 400 kilometres (250 mi) away.




Russian Orthodox Church in Karaganda

The city is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Karaganda. In 2012, the Catholic Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Fatima was opened.[18]



The city is home to the Miners Palace of Culture [ru; kk], a large theater.


FC Shakhter Karagandy players

FC Shakhter Karagandy is a football club based in the city who play at Shakhtyor Stadium. They finished 7th in the Kazakhstan Premier League in 2022. They last won the competition in the 2012 season and also won the Kazakhstan Cup in 2013. One of the biggest accomplishments of the club is a victory against Celtic from Scotland in the Champions League qualifying rounds in 2013. The score was 2–0. Saryarka Karagandy is an ice hockey team which competes in the Kazakhstan Hockey Championship, and used to play in the Russian-based Supreme Hockey League (VHL)



On May 28, 2011, a monument to a popular catchphrase "Where-where? In Karaganda!" was created.[19]

On May 31, 2022, on the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repressions in the Karaganda Ethnopark, a new monument to the victims of the Holodomor was opened.[20] The monument is located near the mosque on the territory of the Ethnopark, created from granite by Zharmukhamed Tlegenuly. The height of the monument on the pedestal is 1.2 m.



The Central Park serves as Karaganda's main park.[18] It was built from 1935 to 1941 and covers an area of 150 hectares (370 acres).







Sary-Arka Airport is 20 kilometers south-east of the city. The city is also served by trains with all of them stopping at Karaganda railway station.


Karaganda was often used as the punchline in a popular joke in the former Soviet Union. Karaganda is fairly isolated in a vast area of uninhabited steppe, and is thought by many to be "the middle of nowhere". When used in the locative case (Караганде), the final syllable rhymes with the Russian word for "where" (где), as well as with a Russian obscenity used to answer to an unwanted question "Where?". Thus the exchange: "Где?" — "В Караганде!" ("Where?" — "In Karaganda!").[21] In 2011 an art-installation was installed in Karaganda, deticated to this phrase.[22]

Author Flora Leipman, a British resident who moved to the Soviet Union during the 1930s, wrote about her time in the Karlag Prison near Karaganda, and her subsequent decades where she lived in Karaganda, in her book The Long Journey Home.[23] The labor camp described in One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich where the author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn had served some time was located near Karaganda.[citation needed]

Notable residents

Gennady Golovkin, 2017
Russian Kazakhstani athlete Dmitriy Karpov

Sister cities


See also



  1. ^ "Назначен аким Караганды" (in Russian). 2023-01-18.
  2. ^ "Численность населения Республики Казахстан по полу в разрезе областей, городов, районов, районных центров и поселков на начало 2020 года". Комитет по статистике Министерства национальной экономики Республики Казахстан (in Russian). Retrieved 2020-06-20.
  3. ^ "Численность населения Республики Казахстан по полу в разрезе областей, городов, районов, районных центров и поселков на начало 2020 года". Комитет по статистике Министерства национальной экономики Республики Казахстан (in Russian). Retrieved 2020-06-20.
  4. ^ a b "Население Республики Казахстан" [Population of the Republic of Kazakhstan] (in Russian). Департамент социальной и демографической статистики. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Очерки по истории города". Акимат Караганды (in Russian). Archived from the original on 2020-06-21. Retrieved 2020-06-20.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Brown, Kate (February 2001). "Gridded Lives: Why Kazakhstan and Montana are Nearly the Same Place". The American Historical Review. 106 (1): 17–48. doi:10.2307/2652223. ISSN 0002-8762. JSTOR 2652223.
  7. '^ Kennedy, Robert F. (1955, October 10). Lecture on Soviet Central Asia. Washington, DC: Georgetown University. In: Edwin O. Guthman and C. Richard Allen, RFK: His Words in Our Times (pp.37-45). New York, New York: William Morrow.
  8. ^ "Bronze Age Couple Unearthed in Kazakhstan - Archaeology Magazine". www.archaeology.org. Retrieved 2019-08-17.
  9. ^ Owen Jarus (August 2019). "This Young Man and Woman Were Buried Face-to-Face 4,000 Years Ago in Kazakhstan". livescience.com. Retrieved 2019-08-17.
  10. ^ Ciaccia, Chris (2019-08-02). "Mysterious 4,000-year-old grave reveals boy and girl buried face to face". Fox News. Retrieved 2019-08-17.
  11. ^ a b "At least 32 dead, 14 missing after ArcelorMittal mine fire in Kazakhstan". Reuters. 2023-10-29. Retrieved 2023-10-29.
  12. ^ "M-43 Topographic Chart (in Russian)". Retrieved 10 February 2023.
  13. ^ Google Earth
  14. ^ a b "Weather and Climate - The Climate of Karaganda" (in Russian). Weather and Climate (Погода и климат). Retrieved 3 January 2022.
  15. ^ "Karaganda Climate Normals 1961-1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 25 November 2016.
  16. ^ Kenessary, D.; Kenessary, A.; Adilgireiuly, Z.; Akzholova, N.; Erzhanova, A.; Dosmukhametov, A.; Syzdykov, D.; Masoud, Abdul-Razak; Saliev, Timur (2019). "Air Pollution in Kazakhstan and Its Health Risk Assessment". Annals of Global Health. 85 (1): 133. doi:10.5334/aogh.2535. ISSN 2214-9996. PMC 6838766. PMID 31750082.
  17. ^ "World's Most Polluted Cities in 2022 - PM2.5 Ranking". www.iqair.com. Retrieved 2023-10-29.
  18. ^ a b c d Akhmetkali, Aibarshyn (2023-08-08). "Karagandy – Heartland of Kazakhstan's Coal Mining Industry". The Astana Times. Archived from the original on 2023-08-11. Retrieved 2023-10-29.
  19. ^ "Памятник фразе "Где-где? В Караганде!" открыт в Казахстане". ria.ru. 2011-05-29.
  20. ^ "Памятник жертвам голодомора открыли в Караганде". zonakz.net. 2022-05-31.
  21. ^ Мандрикова, Г. М. (2015). Международная конференция (V Бодуэновские чтения): Труды и материалы [International Conference (V Baudouin Readings): Proceedings and materials] (in Russian). pp. 214–216. ISBN 978-5-00019-485-0.
  22. ^ "Фразе "Где-где? В Караганде!" посвятили памятник". BBC News Русская служба (in Russian). 2011-05-30. Retrieved 2024-05-21.
  23. ^ "Obituary: Flora Leipman". The Independent. 1999-06-07. Retrieved 2023-10-29.