Things to do in Semey

THE 10 BEST Things to Do in Semey

Things to Do in Semey

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What travellers are saying

  • Drph24
    Yeovil, UK155 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Perhaps the man whose collection comprises the greater part of the art on display didn’t like it, or maybe artwork from the Soviet era has fallen from favour; either way there was none to be seen.

    Much of what is on display is of 3rd or lower rank stuff by Western European standards, abd relatively little local produce.

    The gallery is pleasant enough for a brief visit.
    Written 12 May 2018
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • NKhalid7
    East Kazakhstan Province, Kazakhstan148 contributions
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    The museum is located in the center of the city. Strange thing is museum has big building but small number of showpieces. I also wonder how they maintain the madrasa of Abai which is right besides the museum. They never offer to enter. Going back to museum, it could be best place which could tell story of city and great philosopher Abai, but I believe the management of building doesn't maintain it well. Probably city's mayor should pay more attention on this historical place.
    Written 27 November 2015
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Andrew M
    7,541 contributions
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    Dostoyevsky is one of the most famous Russian writers, and this museum has the reputation as being the only Dostoyevsky museum outside of Russia. It is probably easiest to reach by walking east from Central Plaza, on Dostoyevsky Street. The wooden house next to the museum will come into view, and also a sculpture of Dostoyevsky and his good friend Chokan Valikhanov. Chokan was an explorer, and played a part in the "great game", which was a battle for influence in Central Asia between Russia and Britain.

    Fodor was arrested in 1849 for commenting on books that were critical of the czar. We had visited Omsk, where he was imprisoned for five years, and seen two statues dedicated to him.He underwent five years of forced military service in Semey.
    He lived with his wife and daughter in this house of a postmaster, between 1857-1859. After being released from service in 1859, he returned to Russia. He was under police surveillance for the rest of his life. Dostoyevsky died in 1881.

    We paid for a tour with an english translator, who was very good and passionate about the work of Dostoyevsky. The displays include many original books and notes written by Fodor. Many personal items and photos are also on display. I had read "crime and punishment" which is one of his most famous books, but learnt much about the other popular books that he wrote.The "house" section of the museum was quite interesting as it included a desk used by Fodor and seemed unchanged from the 19th century. There were a few paintings of Semey attractions in the museum, and a model of the town in the early 1900's.

    A special exhibit of hand painted traditional items was downstairs to the left of the ticket area. We took many photos here, but only took one photo in the museum as the charge was per photo, and we decided against this. Other nearby attractions are Central Square, Central park, Fire tower and the single tower mosque on Utilsa Ak. Pavlova which runs behind the museum.
    Written 20 September 2018
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Andrew M
    7,541 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    The Semey State Medical University is located at 103 Abay Street. This is a popular bus route, and there is a bus stop in front of the University. The University building is designed in Soviet style architecture, and is painted yellow, which makes it stand out from other nearby buildings.There are actually three museums on the university compound, but you will not see any signs that advertise their existence.

    As this is a University, there is no guarantee that access will be granted. We visited in summer when the University was on break, but still seemed to have many persons inside. On entering the building, we told the guard that we were interested in seeing the museum (Muzey in Russian) and he led us on a short walk to the doors which opened to the courtyard which was opposite the entrance doors. Here you will see a brown tiled fountain, with a sculpture of a snake winding itself around a chalice. Walk on the slightly uneven brick path which leads to Building # 3. This building is white, and has a green and white covered entrance area. The name of the building is "The Teaching and Clinical Centre". The name is displayed above the door in Kazakh,Russian and English.There were no staff at the lobby, but we heard voices down the corridor to our left, so headed in this direction, and luckily met the lady in charge of the area.

    She called a lab assistant, who had the keys to the room, and we were allowed to view all exhibits with the only instruction being "No Photos". There were many exhibits of dissected babies which were deformed in many different ways.The most striking exhibits are in jars to the left of the room, as there are conjoined twins, a baby with one eye (cyclops) and a baby with the top of it's head cut off, with swollen eyes and mouth wide open. The room was divided into different areas e.g. cardiovascular system, internal organs, respiratory system. Some of the exhibits have english translation. We regret not being able to communicate with the lab assistant,to ask questions, but she didn't speak any English.

    The exhibits are not only from Semey, but from all over the country. The first thought may be that the displays are the result of the radiation exposure from nuclear tests carried out at the Polygon (also known as the Semipalatnisk Test site) which is over 100 kilometers south west of Semey. This may not be the case as this is a room that is used for teaching students, but I am sure that a few of them relate to radiation exposure. We had visited the Polygon test site a few days before and viewed the "first lightning" test site and Chagan (atomic) lake.

    We asked to view the other museums in the main University Building i.e. Building 9 Manshuk Mametova museum- female machine gunner in WW2 and Building 10, which is a peace museum-Semipalatnisk test site, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but were unable to gain access. This may have been due to us not speaking the local language, or the fact that the museums may have been closed for summer.
    Written 19 September 2018
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Andrew M
    7,541 contributions
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    The stronger than death monument is the most well known monument in Semey. It is located on Polkovnichy Island, to the south of the city, which makes it a little difficult to reach. We took bus # 29 to the Abay statue and walked across the blue Colonel's bridge to the park. It is a 15 minute walk from the Abay Statue. The park had many fitness enthusiasts and a few local f&b options e.g. kebabs. Entrance to the park is free. The park is dedicated to the victims of nuclear testing.

    There are two main monuments in the park. The peace monument is the tallest. It is a brown tiled columnar structure which is tapered to the top.At the top is the Kazakh national emblem, over a ball representing the sun. Sculptures of peace doves flying in a circle around the top, are the most significant aspect of the monument. There is a sculpture of a peace book near to the monument which is in Kazakh and Russian script. Another sculpture in this area is a Pyramid shaped "Mayors for Peace" monument. This monument had Japanese, Russian and Kazakh contributions. The last monument is a model of the "Peace Museum", which should have been opened this year to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Semey's founding. It is a sculpture of a pair of hands holding a sphere. This sphere is meant to be glass when the museum is finally built.

    To the left of the peace monument, is a map of Kazakhstan indicating the places of nuclear storage and testing. The flower beds which contain purple, white and red flowers were the most impressive feature of this area. A small buddhist monument was also located here. The main monument, is titled "Stronger than Death" and depicts a mother sheltering her child from a nuclear explosion, which is depicted as an atom, inside a mushroom cloud shape. We had visited a monument in Kurchatov to the atomic testing at the Polygon test site, and the museum of the polygon testing. We had also toured the Polygon test site a few days earlier.

    We were a little disappointed with the maintenance of the monuments, as the flowerbeds were beautiful, but tiles were missing or cracked on the monuments and needed repair. This is a unique memorial to all the victims of the forty years of nuclear testing in Kazakhstan, where 456 tests were carried out.The local history museum has a small display area on the polygon testing.The zoo is a short walk from the peace monument, on a dirt path to the right. It seems that taxis come out to this area, so if you want to avoid a long walk, it may be best to negotiate with a taxi.
    Written 20 September 2018
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Andrew M
    7,541 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    The Voskresenskij Cathedral is also known as the Resurrection Cathedral. It is surprising that this building survived the Soviet times when many other religious buildings did not. There was another large orthodox church in Semey, but it was destroyed. We had seen the location of the other church at maps and models of the old city displayed in museums. This church was built in 1860. the buildings are painted a lovely aquamarine green blue, with the roofs being a darker shade of blue. There are two small gold plated onion domes with orthodox cross, atop of the main cathedral and nearby tower.

    When viewing from Abay Street, the church is partly hidden by trees. The main gate is located on the small road that runs to the right of the church. It is from this approach that you get a better view of the tower at the front of the church, which we thought was a unique structure, and more likened to Roman Catholic church steeples. There were beautiful paintings of icons on either side of the simple wooden entrance doors. We didn't enter the church as a service was in progress. There was a grey monument to a person who died in 1934, which we thought was very interesting. We assumed that this person may have been religiously persecuted, as this was the era of the "great purge", to which many political repression monuments are dedicated in Kazakhstan.

    There are many buses that ply this route. Bus 9, 28 and 33 are the easiest to catch, and will stop a few minutes walk from the cathedral on Abay Street. A 10-15 minute walk in a south westerly direction, will lead you to a suspension bridge over the Irtysh River, with pylons rising over ninety meters high. This is a photo op not to be missed. The water park is to the right of the entrance to the bridge, and will be particularly enjoyed by children.
    Written 16 September 2018
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Andrew M
    7,541 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Yerasyl was born in 1691. He became famous for leading the defence of Turkestan, which was the capital of the Kazakh Khanate, against the Dzungars. When he died in 1770, a yurt was built over his grave. A mausoleum was built on the site of his grave and remained until the 1950's, when it was moved by the instruction of the Soviet leaders.The mausoleum was re-built in Kizilzhar, which is 20 kilometers south of Astana.

    This impressive equestrian monument stands in front of the Semey Train station on Sevastopolskaya Street. It may be reached by bus 9,11,13 or 29. This area is quite far from other attractions, and the reason that we were here was to take a train back to Astana. If you are really interested in Kazakh military history, then the trip will be worth it.
    Written 21 September 2018
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Xplorer J
    Columbus, IN238 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    This is a nice place to walk in the summer sunshine and recognize the sacrafice made by Kazakh soldiers. There are markers for each individual soldier that align the two sides of the main walkway. Fountains and a central monument are bolstered by side lanes that have benches. It is a peaceful place with children playing and pigeons! Also, if you know the name Raxhat, that is the best Kazakhstani chocolate and candymaker, and their store is located across the street from the park. (We sat on a bench in the spring sunshine and munched on delicious chocolates!)
    Written 6 June 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Andrew M
    7,541 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    This museum offers a look at the history of Semey. It was founded in 1883 and is one of the oldest museums in Kazakhstan. The entrance is at 5 Lenin street, a short walk from Abay street. The museum entrance is through a white arch. There are external exhibits, including an old tractor, man stones and cannons. The cost of photography is calculated per photo, so we decided against taking photos.

    The first hall is the Geology and Paleontology Hall, which contains dinosaur bones which were found near the Irtysh river. The next hall is the Hall of nature, which includes stuffed animals and birds. There are a few examples of plants of the region.The best exhibit here was the brown bear.An Archaeology and local history hall is next, which has a few pieces from the bronze and stone age. We thought that the History of the City hall was the best, as it has old black and white photos of the city, and we enjoyed trying to identify the many landmarks that we had viewed during our stay in Semey.

    The Ethnography Hall, contains traditional Kazakh clothing, instruments and other items from daily life.There is an exhibit on Alash Orda, and the era that they ruled Kazakhstan i.e. 1917-1920.. The museum displays would not have been complete without a short history of the Semipalatnisk test site, which is also known as the polygon.The displays were informative, but we thought that this section could have included more exhibits.We had visited the polygon site a few days before.

    It is a small museum, but has interesting exhibits, We were disappointed about the cost of photos.Other nearby attractions include, the Afghan monument, 250th anniversary stella, Central Plaza and Gabdulla Tukay monument.
    Written 19 September 2018
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Andrew M
    7,541 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Central park is the largest park in Semey. It has many activities for families. There are small pool areas, face painting and many game booths. The park has many trees, so you can relax if you do not want to be involved in the activities.The park also has a sculpture and monument. The monument is in the center of the park,and is dedicated to Shakarim Qudayberdiuli who was a nephew and student of Abay. He lived between 1858-1931. He was a great poet and philosopher, who tried to modernise the thinking of Kazahs. The sculpture shows him seated on a bench. The sculpture is placed on top of an impressive grey tiled base which has the shape of an octagon. The base is surrounded by a beautiful Kazakh design in red and white, with a light blue border.

    The park has two main entrances, with Lenin Street running directly through the center of the park. The south entrance is on Ibraev Street and the North entrance on Dulatov Street. If you enter from the north and turn right, a tall columnar structure will come into view. It is mounted on a tiled base, and to it's right, is a brown tiled wall with a slightly faded white star with the year 1919 shown underneath. The names of fallen red army soldiers are shown in white script to the right of the star. The date on the monument was confusing, as our understanding was that the Alash Orda forces, led by Alikhan Bokeikhanov, whose statue is next to Victory Park, held Semey until 1920 when it was taken by the red guards.

    Other nearby attractions include Central Square, Firefighters monument and fire tower, Victory Park, Childrens Park, Amre Kashaubayev monument and the sculpture park on Zhamakaev Street.
    Written 18 September 2018
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Andrew M
    7,541 contributions
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    This mosque was built between 1856-1862. It is one of the most recognised landmarks in Semey. The two minaret mosque was built by tartar merchants. It is located approximately 1 1/2 kilometers in a south easterly direction from Central Square, on Abay street. Bus # 29, runs on this route.The best view is from the front of the mosque, as there are beige and white stripes and decorations up to the entrance height. Above the entrance is a green dome, and on either side is a minaret topped by a green pointed roof with the crescent moon shape at the apex.To the left of the wooden entrance doors is a plaque with the name of the mosque in Russian and Persian script.

    The mosque actually has two domes. The main dome is also green but slightly flatter than the dome above the entrance.We thought that the brown and white patterns were unique, as we had not seen them on any other mosques in Kazakhstan. The Abay statue is a short walk to the west of the mosque, and if you head north on Zhumbaeva-Voroshilova street, which is to the right of the Abay statue, you will see another mosque of unique design i.e. the single tower mosque.
    Written 20 September 2018
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Andrew M
    7,541 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Gabdulla Tukay lived between 1886-1913. He lived in Kazan, and established a unique style of poetry. He has been compared to Alexander Pushkin, due to his "revolutionary" writings, which were banned by the state, or censored.As Pushkin's words during the Decembrists revolution inspired change, This was the case with Gabdulla also. Gabdulla became a popular poet at the time of the Russian Revolution in 1905. It was a time of great change for Russia, as the czar ceded to requests by the population to ease his hold on power, by creating the first Russian parliament. Gabdulla's poems gave voice to the people's frustrations.

    Gabdulla died of illness at the age of 26. He spent time on the Kazakh steppe shortly before his death. The bust of Gabdulla stands on a pedestal in a small park near the Irtysh River. It is at the southern end of Internacionalnaya Street. This area is one of the best locations to enjoy views of the river. There is a section for a musical ensemble to play live music.In the area behind the statue are a few other sculptures that make for great photo opportunities.One seems to be a "Yeti" and the other a hunter searching for him.

    After viewing the statue, a walk along the river promenade will be a great way to relax.The nearest attractions are Central Plaza, History Museum, the Afghan monument and the 250th anniversary stella.
    Written 18 September 2018
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Andrew M
    7,541 contributions
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    The Afghan monument is located in a small park opposite the Semey University. It is easiest to reach by taking a bus to the Semey University stop on Abay Street and then walking across to the monument. The park has a path leading to the monument, on either side of which are three benches. On either side of the park are metal rails. On each set of rails, a metal sheet with the name of a soldier and the years of his life is painted in white.Between each sheet was a metal design of a star. The long length of railings gave an indication of how many soldiers from this city had died in the war,

    The center piece monument, is a sculpture of a lady with head cover, and a soldier with gun in right hand by his side, and helmet in left hand on his knee, bowing before her in a dejected pose. The pose of frustration and dejection was a common theme in the many Afghan monuments that we had visited in Kazakhstan. There are two large slabs of granite on either side of the sculpture. The granite slab on the left, had the years of the war 1979-1989, and the slab on the right had a star at the top and a list of the names of the fallen who were decorated in the war.

    We had also visited Afghan monuments in Kyzlorda, Astana, Almaty and Karaganda. The Semey University has a few display rooms that could be termed a museum, but these are only accessible when school is in session. The local history museum is a short walk to the right on Abay Street, then turn left and walk for a few minutes, and it will be seen on the left.
    Written 16 September 2018
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Andrew M
    7,541 contributions
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    Abay lived between 1845-1904. He was a famous poet, musician and philosopher. He is most famous in Kazakhstan for "The Book of words", in which he encourages the local people to improve themselves through education and honest means. We had visited many Abay monuments on our vacation in Kazakhstan. Another monument to Abay, may be found in front of the museum dedicated to him on Lenin Street.This monument is located approximately one kilometer south east of central square on Abay Street.

    The statue of Abay is located in a small park, and shows him standing with book in hand.It is a busy area, as the popular Anet Baba Kishikuly Mosque is a few minutes walk east of this monument. The unique architecture of the "one tower mosque" may be seen by walking a short distance north on Zhumbaeva-Voroshilova street, which is to the right of the Abay monument. Directly in front of the Abay monument is a road that leads to Colonel's Bridge, which is a bridge over the Irytsh river. A 15-20 minute stroll in this direction will lead to the "stronger than death monument", which is a must see in Semey, and a few minutes from this monument is the local zoo, which is small but interesting.
    Written 20 September 2018
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Andrew M
    7,541 contributions
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    The memorial to firefighters is located at the local fire station on 18 Internacionalnaya Street, which is next to Central Park. We had visited similar memorials in Russia, as many fire fighters lost their life trying to extinguish blazes and rescue people from buildings damaged by the German bombers. There were memorials in many cities in Siberia, which sent these men to the front, and this was a similar case with the Semey firefighters. The memorial is black marble and is seen at the right front section of the building.It is a tall memorial which will be easily seen as you turn on the street.We heard that there were interesting murals on the side of the building, but a fire truck had just arrived at the site and we didn't want to get too close in case there was an emergency, so missed seeing them.

    The fire tower also boasts one of the most recognisable landmarks in the city. The tower is from Soviet times,and made of red brick. It has white trim near to the top, and a red Soviet star. Although you will see many old Soviet buildings in Semey, this is one of the most photographed. The tower looks out of place in the city, and would probably be better suited as a lighthouse. It is a strange sight, and many tourists stop here to take a photo. Take care when visiting, as it is an operating Fire Station.

    Other nearby attractions include Central Park, Abay Museum, Central Square and Victory Park.There are buses on this route, but it is a short walk from Abay Street.
    Written 16 September 2018
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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