From  £3075
per person
Tour Highlights
  • Uncover the futuristic city of Astana
  • Walk through the ghost town of Chagan
  • Learn about the history of the Russian Civil War
  • Journey along the territory of the former Semipalatinsk test site
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Back in the U.S.S.R

13 Day Tour, from £3075 per person
Itinerary Dates
2020
21 May  -  02 Jun

Few countries are as vast, yet as shrouded in mystery as the Republic of Kazakhstan. Once part of the USSR, it became an independent nation in 1991, yet it still retains many of the traditions and features of its Soviet past.

It has had a turbulent and fascinating history from its early times as part of the Silk Road and the skirmishes and conquests between the Central Asian Khanates; to becoming a key location in what became known as “The Great Game” – the 19th Century cold war between the British and Russian Empires. However, fate and history sent the country on the path of the far better known Cold War, and it is possible to see the route of this path through the monuments and museums charting this. The country bore witness to the darkest episodes of the Civil War and Collectivisation, and experienced the terrors of the Purges and Gulag system.

Kazakhstan was also the backdrop to the courage and skill of the first pioneers of space, and the ambitions and idealism behind the “New Soviet Man” through the vast agricultural and industrial projects started in the middle of the 20th Century. On this small group tour see how some of these projects also took a more sinister turn as the country once again played a role in the development and testing of the USSR’s nuclear deterrent and the legacy it left.

Please note that this tour will operate with a minimum of 6 persons and maximum 14 persons.

Tour Itinerary

DAY 1
FLY TO ALMATY

Depart London Heathrow and fly via Astana to Almaty.

DAY 2
ALMATY
ALMATY

On arrival in Almaty we will be met by our guide and transferred to the hotel. Enjoy some time to freshen up and relax before heading out on a tour of Kazakhstan's former capital. Take in some of the city's best sights, including the Green Bazaar, a huge and lively market, Panfiloy Park, the Central Museum and Republic Square. (B,L,D)

DAY 3
ALMATY
ALMATY

Enjoy breakfast then strike out to continue exploring this fascinating city. Today the emphasis is on the dominant Soviet architecture in particular, and we will visit sites such as the Kazakh Opera and Ballet House, the Auezov Drama Theatre, and the Wedding Palace. (B,L,D)

DAY 4
ALMATY TO SEMEY
ALMATY TO SEMEY

Take an early morning flight to Ust-Kamenogorsk, from where we will transfer to the city of Semey. Initially founded in the 18th century as a Russian fortification, in lies in the heartland of the Kazakh Middle Horde. After lunch, tour the city and learn about its fascinating past. Fyodor Dostoevsky was exiled here, and the area has produced several major Kazakh writers and teachers. Visit museums to both Dostoevsky and national Kazakh poet Abai Kunanbaev, and stop at the Stronger Than Death Monument to the victims of nuclear testing. (B,L,D).

DAY 5
SEMEY TO KURCHATOV
SEMEY TO KURCHATOV

Today travel from Semey to sparsely-populated Kurchatov (approx. 3 hours) which was the home of the Soviet nuclear testing programme.  En route visit the abandoned town of Chagan, once home to the troops serving the nearby airforce base and today an eerie ghost town where a series of empty blocks are gradually being reclaimed by nature. (B,L,D)

DAY 6
KURCHATOV
KURCHATOV

Kurchatov was the centre of the Soviet nuclear testing programme and the town's environs provide an educational, if sobering, lesson about the legacy of nuclear weapons testing.  Visit the museum of the test site and then head for the Opytnoe Pole test site itself. This is a restricted area, so what you are allowed to see may vary according to changing rules. You are however guaranteed to see the epicentre of the first test, which occurred on 29 August 1949 with a device code-named 'Pervaya Molniya' - 'First Lightning'. After this first success, the Soviets would go on to test over 450 devices in the area around Opytnoe Pole. (B,L,D)

DAY 7
KURCHATOV TO PAVLODAR
KURCHATOV TO PAVLODAR

Leave Kurchatov and stop for lunch in Aksu, a small town which boasts a statue park full of fascinating monuments from the Soviet era. Continue on to the city of Pavlodar, a large industrial, economic and cultural centre in Kazakhstan. (B,L,D)

DAY 8
PAVLODAR

Spend a day sightseeing in Pavlodar. Visit the Regional History and Military Glory Museums, the Chekov Theatre, the Cathedral of the Annunciation and the Monument to Victims of the Famine. (B,L,D)

DAY 9
PAVLODAR TO KARAGANDA
PAVLODAR TO KARAGANDA

Board a midday flight to Astana, where we will be met and transferred to the city of Karaganda. Located in the heart of the Kazakh steppe, Karaganda is known for two things: coal and labour camps. The two are connected, as the vast "KarLag" network of Stalin-era camps around the city was established to provide food and labour for the mines, and prison labour also built much of Karaganda itself. (B,L,D)

DAY 10
KARAGANDA
KARAGANDA

Today visit the village of Dolinka, which contains the former centre of the KarLag correctional labour camp. The newly-restored main administrative building is now a museum, exhibiting photos, personal images and stories from the Gulags, including some of the children imprisoned there. 

 

In the afternoon undertake a city tour of Karaganda and see its most well-known sites. Few tourists visit Karaganda, so this is a good chance to see a normal Kazakh city going about its business. (B,L,D)

DAY 11
KARAGANDA TO ASTANA
KARAGANDA TO ASTANA

Take a morning flight to the new capital of Astana, from where you will be driven to Akmol. This village hosts the Museum of Soviet Repression at the former ALZHIR prison camp. This was once one of the largest prison camps for women in the Soviet Union, and today is a fascinating and well-presented museum that showcases the history of this unique site.  (B,L,D)

DAY 12
ASTANA
ASTANA

Spend time in the modern district of Astana. Take in the Norman-Foster-designed Khan Shatyr shopping and entertainment centre, with its indoor beach and distinctive "tent" design. Walk up Green Water Boulevard to the iconic Baytarek tower and and ascend to the golden glove for stunning views across the city.  Enjoy other city sites including the Presidential Palace, and then move on to the river where we will enjoy a short cruise before dinner. (B,L,D)

DAY 13
FLY TO UK

Transfer to the airport for your flight back to the UK. (B)

Pricing Information

13 day tour, from £3075 per person
(Single person supplement + £295)

Price Includes


  • Return flights in economy class with Turkish Airlines from London Heathrow (regional departures are available—ask your Regent Specialist for details)
  • All airport taxes & security charges
  • Accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis 
  • Meals as specified (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
  • All transfers and transportation
  • Sightseeing as specified with English-speaking guide

 



 

Price Excludes

  • Travel Insurance
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Any optional excursions as stated
  • Any other items not mentioned

 

Price Includes

Price Excludes

Price Notes

No single room supplement



Please note that this tour will operate with a minimum of 6 persons and maximum 14 persons.



This tour can also be combined with our Beyond the Cosmodrome tour.


Itinerary Dates From Price Single Room Supp.  
21 May 2020
-
02 Jun 2020
£3075 £295

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