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Fort - Shevchenko

Fort-Shevchenko is a museum city

     The Novopetrovskiy fortress

     Tupkaragan is the forepost of many historical Mangystau landmarks. A great explorer Alrxandr Bekovich-Cherkasskiy considered the Tupkaragan cape to be a suitable place for the first fortress on the east coast of the Caspian Sea. He built it in 1716.

     A little later Russian government decided to build a defensive fortification here for controlling regular Khivin and other incursions. The rocky Kurgantash (Kargantash) range was chosen as a strategically convenient point for building the Novopetrovskiy fortress in 1846. In the governmental correspondence the Orenburg governor asked a question: “How to name it?” Sovereign emperor wrote down the answer- Novopetrovskiy”.

     There is a letter saved in Fort-Shevchenko ethnographical museum. It is from the Orenburg governor to the military minister (May 6, 1846): “I” the day of the emperor’s birthday I ordered to give out food and presents for ordinary people. 6 people were ready to find camels for transporting provisions from the harbor to the fortress. The next day 60 camels transported provisions and were driven back. People did not sell camels and horses, because they were afraid of Khivins anger. Kazakh people who were wandering went to the centre of steppes, because they were of raid of Khivins and Turkmen. I ordered to announce that they could came back, they would have defense and protection”.

     In 3 days (May 9, 1846) the Orenburg corps commander wrote to the Military Minister: “I aimed to report that there were no obstacles during the fortress building on the peninsula, neither from native people nor from khivin people. The commandant of Military corps wrote to the Military minister on June 11 1846: “Provisions and materials for building delivery is going very well. The same is about fortress work Fortress stone wall was raised high with loopholes and banquet. The fortress will be supplied with 12 guns for defense: copper licornes, 2 six-foot received 200 horses for Ural Cossacks and 25 camels from the head of western part Sultan Baimuhammed Aiguvakov from Orenburg. It is necessary the detachment is ready to start an offensive conflict against.

     The military fortress had been building for the spring and summer. It was called Novopetrovskiy. International trade was getting better. On June 25, 1846 Obruchev wrote to the vice-chancellor: “The caravan consisting of 513 camels to Mangyshlak from Khiva. The next will go to Astrakhan, and the third of June it will go to Khiva from Mangyshlak with different goods costing 19261 rubles and y 3 silver kopecks. Merchant son Alexey Puzov came from Astrakhan too”.

     There is an article in the region library by M. Radzhalova. There are written memories of Egor Kosarev. He was a company commander of the Orenburg battalion. Here it is: “Troops that were standing as a garrison in Novopetrovskiy fortress, changed every 2 years. Officers were changed every 4 or 5 years, and me as well. No one wanted to stay longer on this place. There was no even well water, and was only salt water. My army was doing only the laying out of the Novopetrovskiy fortress in 1946. It was hard and sad to live in that time. The sea is on the one side and the uninhabited desert is on the other side. You could not find or buy anything! People had been living in yurts before the barns were built”.

     In 1858 the Novopetrovskiy fortress was renamed into Fort-Alexandrovskiy. People were living pretty well in the Tupkaragan bay and near regions. It is written in archives that the main chief of the Caspian Army ordered to do fireworks in holidays, such as Christmas, Easter, The day of elections, Kzar’s birthday, Coronation, the day when Hunib was conquered (August 25), and the day of finishing the Caucasian war (May 21). But the time of Russian autocracy passed. It was a time for soviet authority. In 30s after the Peasant’s rebellion the fortress was ruined. But the soviet authority tines had also passed. There are ruins of the fortress at the top of Kurgantash (330 sazhen). There was a hospital for 60 people, an annex, wooden houses and barracks. Only some ruins are left now. There was also a church of Saint Peter and Paul called “Petropalovskiy”. At first it was wooden, but rebuilt with bricks from Astrakhan. It was 25 meters height with bulwarks people and soldiers were praying there. Ukrainian artist Taras Shevchenko painted some pictures with Petropalovskiy church. Commandant Maevskiy told the government that Shevchenko was painting icons in spite of the prohibition. There is a record of service of Father Michael (Michael Dmitrievich Popov) in that church.

     The poet was writing to the princess V. N. Repnina: “I” forbidden to paint, but it is so much new here. The Rirghiz is so pictorial and naive, and I am crazy about painting them. They are slender, have beautiful heads. It’s such a torment just looking at them, and could not paint”


/From the book N. Zaderetckaya «Tupkaragan - cradle Mangistau», translated by V. Gonchar/



Taras Shevchenko Museum

     In 1925 V. Pilipenko an explorer of the Writers Union of Ukrainian USSR visited Tupkaragan. He asked the Kaz. Republic to build a museum after Taras Shevchenko in Fort-Alexandrovskiy KazUSSR approved it and gave out necessary documents. Literature Institute. State museum of Taras Shevchenko and Culture department helped a lot in creation of the museum. Their help was really priceless and very important for the museum.

     On May 1, 1932 was conducted on opening ceremony of the Taras Shevchenko museum in the Novopetrovskiy Park. It was the first museum opened in Mangyshlak. It is also the first museum of all Taras Shevchenko museums on a global scale.

     At the ceremony the military hospital doctor Sergin presented a copper kettle with a picture of the poet on it and told a story: “When Shevchenko got an order of his discharge, he gave this kettle to his friend Andrey gave it to hospital chief to give drinks for sick soldiers. The kettle waw kept there was a long time, and people appreciated it, if it can be said so. The kettle was serving good for people. I was working in this hospital from 1907. In 1917 Soviet Department was created in the Fort. The Military department was disbanded and I took the Kettle home. Once, a group of ex Ukrainian soldiers came to my house. They asked me to borrow the kettle. They wanted to remember Taras in a good way. They recollected him. Today is the day Shevchenko death”.

     The museum was arranged in the summer house of Uskov commandant built in 1853. The building of the museum is consired as a historical building. It is suitable for the occasion to remember that serving the exile Shevchenko was close to the Uskov family. He would bless the place chosen for the museum. There is a note in “Short Survey of Mangystau region (1932)”: “Shevchenko museum has been opened recently. There are his essays, diaries, pictures, self-portrait copies and other documents. Some documents were brought from Ukraine. In the garden was built a monument and restored a hut. Travelers and local people visit the museum with pleasure”.

     Satangul Tadzhiev was the first museum director. He was collecting exhibits for a long time and very carefully. At first there were about 600 exhibits there, but it was getting bigger. The 1 translator of Shevchenko and Pushkin was Abay Kunanbaev. In 1935 the book “Cobza player” in Kazakh by Shevchenko was added to the exhibits. Tokmagambetov, Zharokov, Mukanov, Abilev and Amazhelo were translating this book. Shevchenko Character was recreated as a symbol of nations’ friendship. Shevchenko works became available to Kazakh public. He became really famous among the Kazakh.

     In 1949 Zhazbay Koshanov became a new director. In 1963 Esbol Omirbaev got this post. Active exploratory researches were unfolded. The funds were replenished with new materials and researches. During his presence the museum became a Public one. April 10, 1981 it was renamed into Memorial Complex of T. G. Shevchnko.

     In 1964 a granite bust of Shevchenko made by Kocubin and Kuznecov, and a memorial bust made by A. V. Beklemishev was given to the museum from the Ukraine. There is also the poet’s portrait made of silk by E. Kostyrkina. There were brought Shevchenko from the Khanga-Baba. A memorial was brought here by Shevchenko to I. A. Uskov’s son. He brought topographic plan of Novopetrovskiy fortress from the Leningrad Military museum. In 1964 29 children were called Taras after the great Kobza player. One of the chiefs of F-Shevchenko, Kikbay Rzakhanovich Rzakhanov called his son Tares.

     Workers of LLP “Kaz Azote” in Aktau with Igor Petrovich Oblovackiy at the head, brought to the museum cards, booklets, videos about Taras Grigirevich from the Shevchenko National reserve in Kahev city. One of the Valuable gifts is a book “Kobza player” by Shevchenko published in 1941, in Prague, Another gift was a proverb collection by Anatoliy Tatarin. Anatolif was studying Shevchenko works for 30 years, and wrote a book “The sun is for the Earth-Taras is for the Nation”. Ukrainian nation made a documentary movie “2 fates” about Shevchenko directed by Goskino T. Stepanenko. The movie is about Taras Shevchenko and Esbol Omirbaev, who was studying his life.

     Ex-president of the Ukrain Victor Uschenko visited Taras’ place of exile and remembered Taras with good words. The Ukraine ambassador visited F-Shevchenko on 160 year anniversary and noticed the 7 years of exile were the most difficult, but also the most productive for Taras. He also said that the main aim of his visit was to thank citizens for saving suck heritage.

     In 2007, the Kazakhstan year was celebrated in the Ukraine. They repaired 3 museums: Taras Shevchenko, Muryn Zhiran, and ethnography museum. In 2008 the Ukraine year was celebrated in Kazakhstan. During the meeting the Ukraine president thanked the director Nursulu Suin and gave her a medal.

     There are Taras Shevchenko reproductions, books with his poems, and his diaries in the museum. In all conscience, every roar reminds us about the great Kobza player Taras Shevchenko. The halls of the museum are very cared-for look.

/From the book N. Zaderetckaya «Tupkaragan - cradle Mangistau», translated by V. Gonchar/



     Taras Shevchenko Park

     The garden has its own story. This garden is a sightseen. The exiled poet Konstanin Oberachev remembers: “The fortress situated high above the steppe looks like a mountain recess. There is a Russian Armenian village on the sea coast, and fishing Stanitsa 3 verst from the fort. You can see Kazakh tilt carts in the steppe. There are no trees and bushes. The garden enlivens this place”.

     K. Rzakhanov, the 1 secretary of a State Fort-Shevchenko party built a garden after Uskov commandant. Fruit and vegetables were grown there for the fortification command. Iraklia Uskova Agata, Uskov’s wife told: “Every fortification command had their own gardens. Soon this kitchen garden almost turned into a beautiful garden, at the least the commandant part. There were cucumbers, radish, beet etc. In autumn 1853 many trees were brought from Astrakhan, Guriev city. Big mulberries were brought from Khanga-Baba. Shevchenko was helping to plant them. A summer house and a dugout were built. Shevchenko put his paintings up there. Commandant’s daughter Natalia wrote: “In 1853 when Uskov commandant arrives, the willows were planter about a verst from the fortress. With the help of black earth we able to plant trees from Astrakhan”.

     Taras Shevchenko had written here best of his works and paintings. Sad mood was smoothed with green trees and loneliness. The artist wrote in his diary: “I was looking at the dark battery on the cliff and remembered much of my past life. I thanked God giving me strength of boby and soul to get over hard times. I prayed and went to the garden singing a song”.

     20 years after Shevchenko death the garden situated in Fort-Shevchenko was called after him. Satangul Tadzhiev was appointed a keeper of the garden. He was gathering dry vegetation with love and care, was planting new transplants, watering dry trees and flowers of Shevchenko garden. He was a gardener for 35 years. Satangul repaved the dugout. There is a document saying that in August 1928 Satangul Tadzhiev was commemorated for his hard working. He was given a certificate of Kazssr Supreme Soviet became the 1st director of the museum opened in 1932.

/From the book N. Zaderetckaya «Tupkaragan - cradle Mangistau», translated by V. Gonchar/







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