Kokshetau (meaning Blueish Mountain in Kazakh, Kazakh: Көкшетау, Kökşetau; [køkɕetɑw] (About this soundlisten), Russian: Кокшета́у, pronounced [kokʂɪˈtaʊ]), formerly known as Kokchetav (1827–1993), is a city in northern Kazakhstan and the capital of Akmola Region, lying in the north of Kokshetau Uplands, on the southern shore of Lake Kopa and the southern edge of the Ishim Steppe. It is also situated at the junction of the Trans-Kazakhstan and South Siberian railways. Kokshetau lies at an elevation of approximately 234 m (768 ft) above sea level.


Official Cyrillic transcription(s)
 • Kazakh CyrillicКөкшетау
 • Russian CyrillicКокшета́у
Kokshetau's central Ablai Khan Square
Kokshetau's central Ablai Khan Square
Coat of arms of Kokshetau
Coat of arms
  • Kazakh Pearl
  • The Area of Blue Mountains
  • 7162
  • The Area of Blue Lakes
Anthem: none
Kokshetau is located in Kazakhstan
Location of Kokshetau in Kazakhstan
Kokshetau is located in Asia
Kokshetau (Asia)
Coordinates: 53°17′N 69°23′E / 53.283°N 69.383°E / 53.283; 69.383Coordinates: 53°17′N 69°23′E / 53.283°N 69.383°E / 53.283; 69.383
Country Kazakhstan
RegionAkmola Region
Founded29 April 1824
City status since1895; 126 years ago (1895)
 • Akim (mayor)Bauyrzhan Gaisa[1]
 • City234 km2 (90 sq mi)
 • Urban
425 km2 (164 sq mi)
234 m (768 ft)
 (mid-2020 est.)[2][3]
 • City146 104 people
 • Rank18th in Kazakhstan
 • Density624/km2 (1,620/sq mi)
 • Urban
160 431 people
Demonym(s)Көкшетаулық (kk)
Кокшетауцы (ru)
Кокшетауец (ru, male)
Кокшетаука (ru, female)
 (mid-2020 est.)[4]
 • Kazakhs58.05%
 • Russians29.41%
 • Ukrainians2.88%
 • Tatars2.28%
 • Germans1.95%
 • Poles1.40%
 • Ingush1.07%
 • Other2.96%
Time zoneUTC+06:00 (ALMT)
Postal code
Area code(s)+7 7162
Vehicle registration03 (region) (C – on older plates)
Sister citiesWaukesha, Wisconsin
International airportsKokshetau (KOV)
Major railway stations
KATO ID111010000[5]

It has 146,104 inhabitants (2020 est.), up from 123,389 (1999 census), while Akmola Region had a total population of 738,587 (2019 est.), down from 1,061,820 (1989 census), making it the tenth most populous region in Kazakhstan. Kokshetau retains multiethnic population, with 58% ethnic Kazakhs (up from 36%), the rest being mostly 29% ethnic Russians (down from 42%) and other ethnic groups such as Ukrainian, Tatars and Germans. Kokshetau city administration (area of 425 km2 [164 sq mi]), with a population of roughly 160,430 residents, includes one settlement administration (which consists of the village of Stantsyonny) and the Krasnoyarsk rural district, which includes two rural settlements (the villages of Krasny Yar and Kyzyl Zhuldyz).

The city is considered to have been founded in 1824 as a military fortress, while it was granted city status in 1895. It was the centre of Kokshetau Region, which was abolished in 1997. It is well known for its nature and tourist sites, such as Burabay and Zerenda, among others. Kokshetau is about 185 km (115 mi) from Petropavl, 300 km (190 mi) northwest of the national capital Nur-Sultan, 318 km (198 mi) from Omsk, and 384 km (239 mi) from Kostanay. The city is served by Kokshetau Airport.

Names and etymologyEdit

The name Kokshetau (Kazakh: Kökşetau; pronounced [køkɕetɑw]) is of Kazakh origin literally meaning a (lit.'smoky-blue mountain'), kokshe / "көкше", meaning (lit.'blueish') and tau / "тау", meaning (lit.'mountain') — the name of always turning blue, as if in a deep haze of mountains. That is how from ancient times Kazakhs were calling the highest mountain in Akmola Region "Mount Kokshe" (947 m), located 60 miles away from the city.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and independence of Kazakhstan, on 7 October 1993, by the Resolution of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the city of Kokchetav (Russian: Кокчета́в, IPA: [koktɕɪˈtav]) was renamed to the more Kazakh sounding Kokshetau as part of the government's campaign to apply Kazakh names to cities, but the city's airport still retains KOV as its IATA code.



The city lies in the northern portion of Akmola Region. Kokshetau is located on the border of the West Siberian Plain, on the southeastern shore of Lake Kopa, at an altitude of 234 meters above sea level, in the north of the Kokshetau Upland, the foothills of which surround the city from the south and west. It is located about 300 kilometres (190 mi) north-west of the national capital of Nur-Sultan.

There are numerous hills in the vicinity of the city (Bukpa Hill). The city is located in the flat part of the interfluve of the Kylshakty river, flowing in the eastern part of the city, and the Shagalaly river, flowing from the western side of the city. The Kokshetau area is known for its two national parks, Burabay and Kokshetau.


The time offset from the UTC used by Kokshetau is 6 hours after UTC, or UTC+6:00 (ALMT). This is also used by most of Kazakhstan. This time apply throughout the year as Kazakhstan does not observe Daylight saving time (DST).

Administrative-Territorial DivisionEdit

Kokshetau city administration (area of 425 km2 [164 sq mi]), with a population of roughly 160 430 residents, includes one settlement administration and the Krasnoyarsk rural district, which includes two rural settlements.

Populated place Population KATO ID
1 Krasny Yar   9875 111033100
2 Stantsyonny   2623 111037100
3 Kyzylzhulduz   65 111033300


Kokshetau lies in a cold semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification: BSk) zone with extreme continental influences. The city has long, cold winters and warm, sunny summers. The average annual temperature in Kokshetau is 3.6 °C (38.5 °F).

The warmest month is July with daily mean temperature near 20.5 °C (68.9 °F), and the coldest month is January, with a daily mean of −14 °C (7 °F). Snow and ice are dominant during the winter season. July is the wettest month (averaging 68.5 mm (2.7 in) of precipitation) while March is the driest (averaging 10.5 mm (0.4 in) of precipitation). Yearly precipitation amounts to 313 mm (12.3 in).

Climate data for Kokshetau
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 4.8
Average high °C (°F) −6
Daily mean °C (°F) −14
Average low °C (°F) −28.5
Record low °C (°F) −46.6
Average precipitation mm (inches) 12.8
Average rainy days 3.7 3.4 3.0 4.2 6.5 6.5 8.5 7.3 5.5 6.2 4.3 3.3 62.4
Average snowy days 25 23 19 6 1 0 0 0 1 7 18 24 124
Average relative humidity (%) 78.0 79.0 77.0 64.0 53.0 57.0 68.0 64.0 68.0 75.0 83.0 81.0 71.0
Mean monthly sunshine hours 89.0 127.0 196.0 227.0 277.0 306.0 313.0 250.0 190.0 118.0 88.0 75.0 2,256
Average ultraviolet index 1 1 2 4 5 7 7 6 4 2 1 0 3
Source: NOAA[6] and Weather Atlas[7]


19th-century panorama view of Kokshetau from the Bukpa Hill
One of the first stone constructions in the city (built in 1904)

Kokshetau has a rich centuries-old past, which has incorporated all the main stages and turning points of the history of Kazakhstan. For many centuries, nomadic Kazakh tribes lived on the territory of the former Kokshetau Region. The territory of Kokshetau was part of the Middle Horde, the clans of the tribal union of the Argyns that occupied vast regions of Northern and Central Kazakhstan.[8] In the 18th – 19th centuries, the headquarters of famous khans, such as Abylai Khan, Kasym Khan, Kenesary Khan, were located on the land of Kokshetau Region.

Kokshetau was founded on 29 April 1824 by Cossacks as an administrative outpost at the foot of the southern side of Mount Kokshe on the shores of Lake Ulken Shabakty. The local population strongly opposed the fact that the new settlement was placed in the chosen place. In the summer of 1827, the district order was transferred to the new place where the city of Kokshetau is now located. The settlement began to be called Kokchetav. The construction of the settlement began at the foot of Bukpa Hill, on the shores of Lake Kopa, and a Cossack picket was set up to protect the district order.[9]

By the middle of 19th-century, the population of the settlement was significantly increasing due to the migration of the peasants from Russia (Povolzhye) and Ukraine who were driven to migrate by starvation and poverty. In 1868, when the Akmolinsk Oblast was formed, Kokshetau became a district city in this region, which further developed as a center of agricultural and animal husbandry and as a resort town. In 1876, the city lost its military significance. The line and fortress were abolished. In 1895, Kokshetau was granted city status.[10] By that time the population in the town was above 5 thousand people.[11]

In 1928, Kokshetau District was divided into several boroughs and until 1944 Kokshetau's territory was part of Karaganda Region and later part of North Kazakhstan Region. On 16 March 1944, according to the Decree of the Presidium of Supreme Soviet of Kazakh SSR, Kokshetau became the administrative center of the newly created Kokchetav Oblast. Relatively rapid growth and development of Kokshetau took place during the years of development of virgin lands, especially in the second half of the 1950s.[12] In the spring of 1997, Kokshetau Oblast was abolished, the city was deprived of the status of a regional center. On 8 April 1999, after Akmola and North Kazakhstan regions were reorganized, Kokshetau became the center of Akmola Region.[13]


Historical population of the City of Kokshetau
2010 136,100—    
2011 137,217+0.8%
2012 136,835−0.3%
2013 139,063+1.6%
2014 140,847+1.3%
2015 142,411+1.1%
2016 145,795+2.4%
2017 145,531−0.2%
2018 145,789+0.2%
2019 145,161−0.4%
Source: Kokshetau, Kazakhstan: Historical statistics – Population[14]

Kokshetau is the eighteenth-largest city in Kazakhstan. Kokshetau is an ethnically and culturally diverse city. Kokshetau ranks fourth in terms of population in Northern Kazakhstan, ranking after Pavlodar, Kostanay and Petropavl. It has changed its demographics, nowadays having more ethnic Kazakhs in a city that formerly had a Slavic majority. It is the only regional center in Northern Kazakhstan where Kazakhs make up the majority.

Demographic evolution (city)
1897 1959 1970 1979 1989 1991 1999 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
4,962 52,909 80,564 103,162 136,757 143,300 123,389 123,640 125,455 127,317 129,244 131,215 135,106
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
136,100 137,217 136,835 139,063 140,847 142,411 145,795 145,531 145,789 145,161 146,104

Note: 2020 and 2018 are population estimates; 1897 is the Russian Imperial Census; 1959, 1970, 1979 and 1989 are the Soviet Census.

Ethnic and national compositionEdit

As of January 2020, the population of Kokshetau is 146,104, and the extended urbanized area has 160,431 inhabitants.

As of the 2020 Census, ethnic Kazakhs made up (~58%) of the city population, representing an increase from 36% in 1999. The ethnic makeup of the city's population as of year 2020 was:[15]

In 1989, Kokshetau had a population of 136,757. The ethnic mix was about 18.5% Kazakh, 54.5% Russian and 27.0% other ethnic groups.

Ethnicity Number Percentage
Russians 74,481 54.5%
Kazakhs 25,300 18.5%
Others 36,976 27.0%

Russian and Kazakh are both the main spoken languages.


The city's religious profile is highly diverse. Islam is the predominant religion within Kokshetau. Other religions practiced are Christianity (primarily Russian Orthodox, Roman Catholicism, and Protestantism). Kokshetau has a beautiful mosque constructed in the beginning of the 20th century and a Russian Orthodox Church temple of Archangel Michael. In 1997, a Roman Catholic Church was built in neo-Gothic style using red bricks. A new mosque for 1,200 people named after Nauan Hazrat opened in 2015 and construction of a new Orthodox Church is underway.


Large industrial enterprises of Kokshetau: gold mining enterprise JSC "Altyntau Kokshetau"; JSC "Tynys" – the production of medical products, weighing equipment, water meters, aircraft units and assemblies, polyethylene pipes; machine-building plant OJSC "KamAZ-Engineering"; JSC "KokshetauMinVody". Food factories supply Kokshetau and Akmola Region with sausages, semi-finished meat products, bread, dairy products, and confectionery. The city also has a gold recovery factory and a new ceramic brick factory.

From Ekibastuz to Kokshetau runs an overhead power line designed for a transmission voltage of 1,150 kV, the Ekibastuz-Kokshetau powerline.


All major Kazakhstani newspapers are active in Kokshetau. The city has a developed telecommunications system.


  • Regional socio-political newspaper "Akmolinskaya Pravda"
  • Republican newspaper "Bukpa"
  • Regional newspaper "Arka Azhary"

TV and radioEdit

Kokshetau television networks:

Kokshetau radio stations:

  • "Radio NS"
  • "Zhuldyz FM"
  • "Radio Dacha"
  • "People's Radio"
  • "Tengri FM"


Partly due to its location, Kokshetau is a major transport hub on the highway and rail networks.

City transportEdit

The city transport in Kokshetau consists of a network of buses, minibuses (marshrutka) and taxis that are available 24 hours a day. Public transport in Kokshetau is heavily privatized and mostly handled by private operators.

Railway and intercity busEdit

The city is an important railroad hub in the northern part of Kazakhstan. The first train pulled into the Kokshetau Railway station on 2 June 1922. Railways are Kokshetau's one of the main modes of intracity and suburban transportation. Kazakhstan Railways provide freight and passenger traffic to and from Kokshetau.

There are two railway stations in the city: Kokshetau-1 and Kokshetau-2. The main railway station Kokshetau-1 station is located 1.3 km (0.81 mi) north-east from the centre of Kokshetau and includes a main building (built in 1981) and some other technical buildings. Kokshetau-1 station is the city's main station and a major stop for numerous passenger trains traveling between Nur-Sultan and the other regions of Kazakhstan each day.

There is also Kokshetau Central Bus Terminal that links Kokshetau with the villages in Akmola Region and other cities in Kazakhstan and the neighboring countries. Frequent schedules of bus routes connect Kokshetau to Petropavl, Nur-Sultan, Karaganda, Pavlodar, Kostanay, Omsk, Yekaterinburg, Tobolsk, Tyumen and Kurgan. Many of these are cross-country services operating from north to south, for which Kokshetau provides interchange facilities.

Air travelEdit

Kokshetau and surrounding communities are served by Kokshetau International Airport (IATA Airport code: KOV), which is the seventeenth-busiest airport (2019) by passenger traffic in Kazakhstan. It is located 12.5 km (7.8 mi) north-east from the centre of city, on the route to Omsk, and used to be the headquarters of now-defunct Air Kokshetau. The Kokshetau International Airport, which opened in 1945, was significantly upgraded in 2013 with a new 2850-metre runway capable of accommodating all aircraft types without any restrictions.[16] Seasonal flights to Frankfurt am Main, were available in 2004 but have been cancelled since. It serves mostly domestic flights. SCAT Airlines fly to and from Almaty and Aktau as well as FlyArystan operates three weekly flights to Almaty. The former largest carrier of the Kokshetau Airport — Air Kokshetau — is not serving any regular destinations as of 2021.


Kokshetau has connections to Nur-Sultan (292 km [181 mi]) and Petropavl (189 km [117 mi]) by the A1. European route   intersect in Kokshetau.

  • The A13, which connects Kokshetau to Omsk (Russia);

Other major roads passing through Kokshetau include:


Kokshetau is a regional centre of education and has a large number of educational establishments. The city is currently home to the following state higher educational institutions:

  • Kokshetau State University (named after Sh.Ualikhanov)
  • Kokshetau Technical Institute of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Republic of Kazakhstan
  • Kokshetau Academy of Economics and Management

A number of other non-state-funded institutions for further education operate in the city.


Sport has always been important in Kokshetau. The city is home to the FC Okzhetpes football club, based in the Okzhetpes Stadium, and which has a capacity of 4,500, which participates in the Kazakhstan Premier League, the top division of football in Kazakhstan. In 2015 and 2018, they finished 1st place in the Kazakhstan First Division.

Burabay Sports Complex serves as home arena to the ice hockey club Arlan Kokshetau, which competes in the Kazakhstan Hockey Championship. Arlan Kokshetau hockey players were the champions of Kazakhstan in the season 2017/2018. Arlan Kokshetau players also became the first team from Kazakhstan to win IIHF Continental Cup in the season 2018/2019. The city has an ice rink for winter sports. Several sports clubs are active in the city:

Major sports teams in Kokshetau
Club Sport Current league Founded Stadium Championships
Arlan Kokshetau Ice Hockey Kazakhstan Hockey Championship
Burabay Sports Complex
Okzhetpes Kokshetau Football Kazakhstan Premier League
Okzhetpes Stadium

International relationsEdit

Twin towns – Sister citiesEdit

Kokshetau is twinned with the following regions, cities, and counties:

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ Поддержали единогласно
  2. ^ "Results Of The 2009 National Population Census Of The Republic Of Kazakhstan Analytical Report" (PDF). The Agency On Statistics of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 May 2011. Retrieved 22 October 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Численность населения Республики Казахстан по отдельным этносам на начало 2020 года". Комитет по статистике Министерства национальной экономики Республики Казахстан. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  5. ^ "База КАТО". Комитет по статистике Министерства национальной экономики Республики Казахстан. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  6. ^ "Kokshetau Climate Normals 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  7. ^ d.o.o, Yu Media Group. "Kokshetau, Kazakhstan – Detailed climate information and monthly weather forecast". Weather Atlas. Retrieved 26 December 2020.
  8. ^ "The population of Kokshetau. Kazakhstan, the city of Kokshetau: population". Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  9. ^ Map of Kazakhstan Akmolinskaya Oblast 1868 Sibir Kirgizy
  10. ^ "History of the town". Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  11. ^ "Kokshetau: the area of blue lakes". Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  12. ^ "Akmola region". Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  13. ^ "Kokshetau city (Kokchetav) in Akmola Region, Kazakhstan". Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  14. ^ Cities & towns of Kazakhstan
  15. ^ "Численность населения Республики Казахстан по отдельным этносам на начало 2020 года". Stat.kz. Retrieved 6 August 2020.
  16. ^ "Reconstruction of Kokshetau Airport".

External linksEdit