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Semey (sĕmˈā) or Semipalatinsk (syĭmēˌpəläˈtyĭnsk), city (1993 est. pop. 342,000), capital of Semey region, NE Kazakhstan, on the Irtysh River and the Turkistan-Siberia RR. It is a river port, rail terminus, and commercial center, with large freight depots for river and rail transport. Semey has a giant meatpacking combine; other industries include food processing, metal working, wool processing, and the manufacture of building materials. The name Semipalatinsk [seven palaces] derives from the seven-halled Buddhist temple found nearby. Beginning as a fort in 1718, the city was finally established on its present site in 1778 after flooding by the Irtysh necessitated periodic movement of the fort. During the 19th cent. the city was a center for trade between Russians and the Kyrgyz, Bukharans, and Chinese; it also lay on the caravan route from Mongolia to Europe. Dostoyevsky was exiled here from 1854 to 1859.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a city and administrative center of Semi-palatinsk Oblast, Kazakh SSR. Situated on both banks of the Irtysh River. Landing on the right bank; railroad station. Population, 271,000 (1975; 57,000 in the 1926 census, 110,000 in 1939, and 156,000 in 1959).

Semipalatinsk was founded in 1718 as a fortress at a site 18 km farther downstream on the Irtysh and was moved to its present site in 1776. Prior to 1782, it was named Semipalatka, after the number of buildings located near the fortress. In the 18th century the city was a center of transit trade. In 1745 it became part of Siberian Province, and in 1782, a district capital. In 1796 it became part of Tomsk Province, and in 1854 an oblast administrative center. At the end of the 19th century, Semipalatinsk was a place of political exile. Soviet power was established in the city on Feb. 16, 1918. In 1918 and 1919 the city was held by White Guards. From 1920 to 1928 it was the administrative center of a province, and from 1928 to 1932, center of a district. In 1932 it became the administrative center of Vostochnyi Kazakhstan Oblast, and in 1939, administrative center of Semipalatinsk Oblast. In 1930 the Turkestan-Siberian Railroad reached Semipalatinsk.

During the years of Soviet power, Semipalatinsk has grown into one of the republic’s important industrial centers. Light industry and the food-processing industry are the principal economic activities. Semipalatinsk’s share in the production of consumer goods in the republic is 35 percent. The city is the site of Kazakhstan’s largest factories, which produce footwear, worsted fabric, and knitwear. In addition to the Bol’shevichka Clothing Firm, there is a factory for processing raw wool and a leather and fur combine. Among the city’s food-processing enterprises is one of the largest meat-packing combines in the Soviet Union. There are plants producing fittings, cables, concrete, and building materials, and there is a facility for ship repair.

Educational institutions in Semipalatinsk include zootechni-cal-veterinary, medical, and pedagogical institutes, a branch of the Dzhambul Technological Institute of Light Industry and Food Processing, a department of the Ust’-Kamenogorsk Institute of Road Construction, and 14 specialized secondary schools. There are Russian and Kazakh drama theaters and a museum of local lore.

During the 1850’s, Ch. Ch. Valikhanov was in military service in Semipalatinsk, and F. M. Dostoevsky was forced to serve as a soldier in the city. Abai Kunanbaev at different times studied and lived in the city. There are literary memorial museums in honor of F. M. Dostoevsky and Abai Kunanbaev.


Semipalatinsku—250 let. Alma-Ata, 1968.
Cherepanov, D. F. Imena na obeliskakh. Alma-Ata, 1970.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


a city in NE Kazakhstan on the Irtysh River; an important communications centre. Pop.: 282 000 (2005 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Ambassador to Kazakhstan William Moser visited the Semipalatinsk Test Site in May, a priority for his first 100 days in country.
The party committees and executive committees of the Alma-ata, East Kazakhstan, and Semipalatinsk oblasts were entrusted with "placing the border violators in certain centers under the control of Soviet authorities and preventing them from dispersing [over the Soviet territories] and departing into other regions." Bending under the pressure from Chinese state authorities, who continued to express their displeasure with the situation, the Soviet officials were also to conduct "explanatory work," clarifying that crossing the border was illegal and persuading these people to return to the PRC (APRK 1962).
Located in the northeastern part of the country, the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site, where over 450 nuclear tests were conducted during the Soviet era, was also shut down.
5) Tratado de Semipalatinsk: tambien conocido como Zona Libre de Armas Nucleares de Asia Central, entre cuyos miembros figura Kazajstan, donde se encuentra el Poligono de Semipalatinsk, lugar en que la Union Sovietica llevo a cabo, a lo largo de la Guerra Fria, buena parte de sus ensayos nucleares.
The resolution called for increasing awareness and education "about the effects of nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions and the need for their cessation as one of the means of achieving the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world." The resolution's adoption also commemorated the closure of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site in Kazakhstan in 1991.( ANI )
NNA - The Kazakh capital will host the international conference "Building a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World," dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the closure of the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site and commemorating UN International Day against Nuclear Tests at the Palace of Independence Aug.
Le secretaire general de l'ONU a souligne qu'[beaucoup moins que] un quart de siecle s'est aujourd'hui ecoule depuis la fermeture du polygone d'essais de Semipalatinsk au Kazakhstan, epicentre de plus de 450 essais nucleaires.
Kazakhstan showed leadership when it renounced its nuclear weapons in 1993 and closed the Semipalatinsk Test Site (STS).
The date marks both the first nuclear test conducted at the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site in 1949, as well as the site's closure in 1991 by the government.
In the OIC CFM resolutions the Kazakhstan's proposals was supported, relating to the former Semipalatinsk nuclear test site, restoration of the Aral Sea region, Agreement on the zone free of nuclear weapons in Central Asia, the universal declaration on nuclear-free world, support of the CICA and "EXPO-2017", and also such initiatives as the establishment of the Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS) with headquarters in Astana.
Fittingly, the town is named after Soviet nuclear physicist Igor Kurchatov and was once the town was once the centre of operations for the adjoining Semipalatinsk Test Site.
I was born 100 kilometres from the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site where the Soviet Union exploded more than 600 nuclear devices between 1949 and 1991.