Also known as Uralsk, Oral lies at the junction of the Ural and Chagan rivers in Kazakhstan’s north-west. It lies just a stone’s throw from the country’s border with Russia and is clustered with Russian-inspired buildings dating back to the 17th century. While geographically part of Europe, Oral’s diverse population includes Kazakhs, Tatars, Bashkirs and Azaris.
Things to do in Oral
Occupying a log cabin built for Pyotr Kuznetsov is the Museum of Pugachev, which explores the life and legacy of the Cossack rebel, Yemelyan Pugachev. In addition to personal objects dating back to the 18th century, its exhibits include coins featuring Tsar Peter III and an extensive collection of Cossack artefacts. After wandering through the recreated kitchen, browse the traditional farm equipment on display in the yard.
Don’t miss the Natural History Museum, which occupies a magnificent turquoise and white building in the heart of Oral. Get up close to Kazakh costumes, household objects and antique pottery, as well as musical instruments and jewellery. The Natural History Museum is a short walk from the Pushkin Museum, which explores the Russian poet's time in Oral.
Hugging the Chagan River is Kirov Park, where you’ll find children’s play equipment and a small Ferris wheel. You can rent a pedal boat to explore the river at your leisure or stretch your legs on one of the leafy walking trails. At the southern end of the park is Petr Atoyan Stadium, which is one of the oldest soccer stadiums in Kazakhstan and the home ground of FC Akzhayik.
Getting around Oral
Oral Ak Zhol Airport is a 25-minute drive from the city centre and has flights to destinations across Central Asia and Europe. Long-distance trains connect from Astana and Almaty to the Oral railway station and buses travel throughout the city.