Aktau is a city in Kazakhstan, located on the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea.

Population: 182,033.

Its current name means “white mountain” in Kazakh, which may be due to its cliffs overlooking the Caspian Sea. From 1964 to 1991, the city was known as Shevchenko. Its former name was given in connection with the period of exile of the eponymous Ukrainian poet in this area. The city is located on the Mangyshlak peninsula and is the capital of the Mangystau region.


Uralsk is a city in the north-west of Kazakhstan, located at the confluence of the Ural and Chagrin rivers, near the border with Russia. It is the capital of the West Kazakhstan region.

Population: 230,354.

Uralsk was founded in 1613 by the Cossacks and was originally called Yaik, from the name of the Yaik River, as the Ural River was called at that time. In 1773, the first Cossack uprising against the local Russian commander General Traubenberg, led by Yemelyan Pugachev, took place. After the declaration of independence of Kazakhstan in 1991, Uralsk was renamed Uralsk.


Atyrau, known until 1991 as Guryev, is the capital of the Atyrau region.

Population: 290,700.

The wooden fort at the mouth of the Yaik River was founded in 1645 as the Lower Yaik Town by the Russian merchant Guri Nazarov, a native of Yaroslavl, who specialized in trade with Khiva and Bukhara. The fortress was looted by the Yaitsk Cossacks, which prompted the Guryev family to rebuild it (1647-62). The fort gradually lost its strategic importance and was destroyed in 1810. From 1708 to 1992, the city was known as Guryev. The Kazakh name Atyrau means “river delta”.


Aktobe is a city on the Ilek River. This is the administrative center.

Population: 500,757.

Aktobe was founded in 1869 as Aktyube (White Mountain), a small Russian fort. The first Russian peasant settlers arrived in 1878. In 1891, Aktobe became the capital of the county (canton), and in 1932-the Aktobe region of Kazakhstan.

During the Second World War, a ferroalloy plant was built for the smelting of nickel and chromium ores in the Mugodjar Hills. On March 11, 1999, by the decree of the President of Kazakhstan, the transcription of the name of the city of Aktobe was changed to Aktobe.