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Appak Baizhanov monument

According to the legend (whose truthfulness is lately often questioned), coal in the steppes of Saryarka was discovered due to an ordinary shepherd named Appak Baizhanov. It happened in 1833. One day, while playing with a marmot, Appak incidentally found a few shiny black stones in its squat. The boy told his parents about the unusual discovery. They understood instantly that these stones were nothing but stone coal. The news instantly spread across the steppe. Soon after that the steppe Kazakhs of the families Sarmantai and Murat got a business offer from merchant Ushakov of Petropavlovsk. Since they were common people who did not understand much in trade affairs, they sold their land to Ushakov for 250 roubles without having any idea of how lucrative the young shepherds discovery would eventually turn out to be. Ushakov in his turn established mining works in the area and began extracting coal for the needs of Spasskiy copper-smelting plant. Subsequently the coal quarry got larger and, after Ushakovs enterprise got bankrupt, it passed into the hands of French and later English businessmen. Under the Soviet government coal deposits were nationalized. Geological exploration conducted by Russian scientists in 1930s resulted in Karaganda coal basin being proclaimed the third biggest coal basin in the Soviet Union. Shortly afterwards large-scale coal industry development began which allowed Karaganda - at that time just a small workers settlement - to grow and subsequently become a large and prosperous city. It all could have never happened if it wasnt for Appak Baizhanovs discovery of the shiny black stones in Karaganda place.


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