Founded in the late 1960s, Zhanaozen has a population of 100,000+ people, making it the Mangystau Region’s second largest city. Until 1992, it was called New Uzen (Новый Узень) and has remained an important centre of the oil and gas industry since it was established. It’s a two-hour drive east of Aktau and because it’s en-route to Shopan-Ata, the Ustyurt, and Beket-Ata, few people stop to see the city.
For a closer look at life in the city – beyond the contentious news headlines about the 2011 oil workers strikes – check out Russian traveller Ilya Buyanovsky’s Zhanaozen photo story. There’s also a March 2021 photo story on Tengri News with a supporting video story interviewing some of the city’s residents, and a short Soviet video about Zhanaozen’s oil industry.
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