Every journey begins with a path. Our starting point is Uralsk. We are on the road to the edge of the Atyrau region – on the border with the Russian Federation. Why we went there – you will find out at the end of the photo essay. Tengrinews.kz photojournalist Turar Kazangapov has begun taking a look at the specifics of western Kazakhstan. Together with the inhabitants of Kazavtozholav, he not only immortalized the beauty of the two areas, but also checked the stage at which the reconstruction of many pieces is now.
Now at WKO, the reconstruction of the two most discussed routes in the area is being carried out to the fullest: Kaztalovka – Zhanibek – Russian border and Onege – Beisen – Saykhin. What can I say, even if President Tokayev mentioned them more than once in his speeches.
For reference: both routes will be third class with two lanes. The width of the road will be seven meters.
Dry air, heat, hot asphalt. Working conditions are anything but ideal. However, in such weather it is better to make a road. If it is raining, you will have to wait more than a day for the soil to dry.
“Do not press! Otherwise your athletic sole will melt”, one of the builders shouted at me.
We stop at a small pond. Young people are resting on the shore. Apparently, they came to cool off by the water on such a hot day. Only now the black and white sign next to them reads: “Swimming is prohibited”.
The exhausting heat forces the animals to spend most of their time in the water.
And here is the peculiarity of the western regions – in addition to the cows and horses that are known to many, here you can also find camels.
Vegetation is rare here. The earth seems in places completely lifeless.
We enter the Atyrau area. The route, which we came to after a long time, connects Atyrau with Astrakhan.
In 2016, even those who had never been to this area learned about this road. Unfortunately, not on the best side. Russian actor and showman Stanislav Yarushin, known for the series “Univer”, in a video posted on the social network at the time said: “I feel that the war ended here recently …”
Six years later, the situation began to change for the better. Reconstruction is underway and KazAvtoZhol promises to complete it next year. But most of the routes will open in 2022.
The air temperature is over 30 degrees. Workers in overalls, hats and cloth bandages on the face. Not much, but saves from direct sunlight and dust.
The long-awaited smooth road appears meter by meter.
Meet the workers on one of the sections of the Atyrau-Astrakhan motorway.
By the way, the time in the west is different from the rest of Kazakhstan: on your arrival here, it is necessary to turn the hands of the clock an hour earlier.
“It has been two years since we started doing something on this highway. Atyrau – Astrakhan is a very problematic area, accidents happen often, in addition, the climate here is hot, many cars can not stand the temperature, the roads are dead, the wheels break, I changed the windshield two weeks ago, everything is already in cracks “, says Zhenis, a driver from Atyrau area.
The confirmation of Zenis’s words did not take long to come – we felt the state of the road above us. These are areas that have not yet been rebuilt.
The tires can withstand neither passenger cars, nor large cars, nor two-wheelers.
One can only guess what words the owners of broken vehicles now honor those who are guilty of such a neglected condition of the road.
Suddenly a dust storm started. Such natural whims are not uncommon in these places.
The landscape immediately becomes something similar to the movie “Mad Max”.
And here we seemed to be in the United Arab Emirates. The road in this section will be sandy.
Getting out of the car was a big mistake. Ammos went into his pockets, he went into his hair, he felt like he was gnashing his teeth.
After a few more kilometers, you can see the finished part of the track. It is already used by both cars and trucks. Our driver breathes a sigh of relief: “We did it. And nothing broke.”
This road led us to the villages bordering the Astrakhan region.
The sand and burnt soils have been replaced by green oases, fields and lots of water. This is the Kurmangazinsky area.
Change of land transport to sea.
The camera shutter barely has time to work. I want to capture everything at once.
Many of us have only heard of the Amazon. But something tells us that these landscapes look like her.
I see some species of birds for the first time.
We see some swans in the distance.
Our journey is not over yet, and I have already caught myself thinking that I will definitely be back here again. Then we will check at what stage is the reconstruction of the routes mentioned above. Next time I will get special photographic equipment. I really hope that all the pieces will be completed by that time.
Text and photo: Turar Kazangapov