A place named Karaganda appeared in the history of Eurasia 170 years ago, when in 1833 a shepherd Appak Bayzhanov found the first pieces of coal in Sary-Arka steppe.
It was in a stow Karagandy, 25 km southward of the river Nura. The discoverer of Karagandy coal field did not even know about his great discovery. However, in that time Appak Bayzhanov’s finding by no means affected the region development. And only in 23 years, in 1856, during Ushakov’s ministry coal-mining started here. In 1856 Ivanovskiy open-cut named Kara Zaboy was introduced into service. 116,3 poods of coal were mined here. That year is considered to be the beginning of the development of Karagandy coal field. In 1904 a son of ex-President of France Claude-Jean Ernest Carnot, using his acquaintanceship with the court circle of Nikolay II, bought this unique field for 766000 roubles.
Karagandy coal mines changed hands several times. In 1907 they became the English property. The English period continued till 1920 and was actually the beginning of commercial development of Karagandy coal. In 1908 the first narrow gauge “Karaganda-Spassk” was built. Its length was 40 km. It connected first factories with a fuel base.
During the Civil War coal-mining in Karagandy almost ceased, and up to 1929 the open-cut and mines were abandoned. Only on August, 15, 1931 a Decree “On enhancement of coal and coke resources”, and on November, 18 “On construction of Karagandy coal field”. By that time the exploration company under the direction of professor A.A. Gapeyev, which consequently became famous constantly operating Gapeyev’s expedition, had composed a scientific work about Karagandy coal field reserves. The field area was 300 square km, coal reserves amounted to 4 billion tons.
By that time Karagandy had been developing intensively. By the spring of that year about 15 thousand people lived in the worker’s settlement. And in 1931, after issuing the Decree, population increased to 70 thousand. In the end of the year be the Decree of Kazakh General Executive Committee the settlement was assigned a status of the city. But 3 more years passed before the Decree was approved by the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party.
A historical decision was made in February 1934 and this date is considered to be a birthday of a new city in Kazakhstan.
By that time the population of Karagandy exceeded 100 thousand people. Karagandy and Karagandy coal field were announced All-Union construction project.
Karagandy was being created by talented and clever representatives of different nationalities.
The was developing fast. In 1940 Karagandy became a large industrial and cultural center with population of 165 thousand people, and Karagandy coal field became the third “stokehole” of the Soviet Union.
The special place in the history of Karagandy is taken by GULAG (Central Administration of Prison Camps). In 1930s a large prison camp KarLAG was constructed here. 2 France could be placed on its territory. In that period over 65 thousand special immigrants and prisoners lived here. According to some reports, throughout the history of KarLAG existence there were over 1 million prisoners. Most of them were engaged in coal industry. By 1934 about 104 thousand people worked in mines, 5525 of which are special immigrants.
The special mentality of Karagandy continued its formation in the second half of 1930s, when the whole nations were deported in Karaganda region. The first immigrants were the Koreans from the Far East. Then immigrants from the Baltic states, West Ukraine, Belarus came. During the war the Germans, the Karachay, the Kalmyks, the Chechen, the Ingush, the Greeks, the Crimean Tatars immigrated here. Karaganda adopted all of them. All nations found peace here. Hospitable Kazakh people took care of them.
To thank them immigrants along with Kazakh and Russian people worked day and night in mines, on building sites and provision of urban amenities. This city became their second homeland.
During the war coal production continued. During the war over 45 mln tons of coal were mined. It is 1.5 times more than for the whole pre-war period of coal field existence. And only in postwar period, since the beginning of 1950s, Karagandy authorities found time and funds to revive construction and provision of urban amenities. In 1958 there were 24 hospitals, 5 maternity hospitals, 11 polyclinics, 82 day and 30 night schools, 4 universities and 7 scientific-research institutes.
The industrial capacity of the city increased along with the social status. In 1980s production association “Karagandaugol” was made up of 66 factories, including 26 mines, 2 thick open-cuts, 8 coal-preparation plants, on which 80 thousand people worked.
In 1978 the millionth ton of Karagandy coal was mined. PA “Karagandaugol” was awarded with the Order of the October revolution. 22 miners were given a title of “Hero of socialist labor”.
In those years Karagandy was growing and developing, housing was being constructed actively. In 1970-1980 2 mln square m of housing were built. At the same time new schools, hospitals, nursery schools were being constructed. At that time a new microdistrict South-East started to be constructed.
In 1957 Karagandy housing stock amounted to 1,4 mln square m, and by 1985 the housing stock reached 6,7 mln square m.
In 1984 the city celebrated its 50th anniversary. In honor of its jubilee by the Decree of Supreme Soviet of the USSR Karagandy was awarded with Order of the Red Banner of Labor.
In 2004 Karagandy celebrated its 70th anniversary. At that time it was a large industrial, scientific and cultural center with population of 427 thousand people.
According to the data on January, 1, 2007, 451,8 thousand people live in the city. Coal is still a traditional industrial mark of the city.
Nowadays Karagandy takes leading places in many industries in the republic. Equal conditions of sustainable employment are provided both to domestic and foreign investors.
Economy has revived, small and medium enterprises are turning firm. Karagandy residents have more opportunities. Streets are getting nicer and better. Recently Karagandy has been adorned with new buildings, most of them are unique. Some of them are educational park “School – nursery school”, international billiard center “Sozvezdiye”, ethnopark of the Republic’s 10th anniversary, square of justice named after Z. Akbayev, square of youth, “Aqualand”, sports complex “Kazakhmys”, “Cascaded stairs”, financial supermarket, “Abzal” trading house. A mosque and a church were built. The railway station and “Shakhter” stadium were reconstructed.
The city is growing. Karagandy has become one of the largest trade center with steady sales market. It is one of the largest and most important cities in the republic, although it is quite young.