Atyrau Region is situated in the west of Kazakhstan, northeast of the Caspian Sea, bordering Russia in the west. The region almost entirely lies in the Caspian Lowland, and the Ural River crosses it from north to south.
As of 2022, the population of the region is 661,014 people, of which almost 280 thousand live in the regional center – the city of Atyrau.
Atyrau is known as the oil capital of Kazakhstan because of the massive oil fields located nearby. The city stands on the Ural River, not far from the river mouth where it flows into the Caspian Sea. The river divides the city into two parts – the so-called «Europe» and «Asia». The right bank is «Europe» which features government buildings, cultural institutions, and new residential areas. «Asia» is a quieter and older part of the city, the so-called «bedroom community».
In Atyrau, you can travel from one part of the world to another without spending a penny. Just cross the bridge across the Ural River and you'll find yourself in Europe or Asia. By the way, Atyrau has the longest pedestrian bridge in the world, its length is 551 meters (602.6 yd).
Why is the Atyrau Region worth visiting?
From mid-July to the end of August, in the floodplain of the Kigach River, you can admire blooming lotuses. In this remote corner, almost on the border with Russia, you can also enjoy pristine nature and see flocks of water birds.
Another amazing place is the Munaily Mola deposit, which is often called an «asphalt lake». Here, bitumen oozes out of the ground, solidifies, and then forms round boulders.
Lake Inder is also popular among tourists. Locals believe that the mud from its bottom can cure skin diseases. Moreover, this lake with its white banks covered in salt is an amazing backdrop for photographs.
If you are interested in history, you should definitely visit the ancient settlement of Sarayshyk (also spelled as Saraichik or Saray-Juk). The city, founded in the 13th century, was destroyed in 1580 by the Ural Cossacks. Now it is an important archaeological site and a source of knowledge about ancient Kazakhstan.
updated: 16 january 2023