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Baikonur is located in Kazakhstan
Location in Kazakhstan
Coordinates: 45°37′0″N 63°19′0″E / 45.616667°N 63.316667°E / 45.616667; 63.316667Coordinates: 45°37′0″N 63°19′0″E / 45.616667°N 63.316667°E / 45.616667; 63.316667
Country  Kazakhstan  Russia - rented and administrated
Province Kyzylorda Province
Founded 1955
Incorporated (city) 1966
 - Total 57 km2 (22 sq mi)
Elevation 100 m (328 ft)
Population (2006)
 - Total 70,000
Time zone UTC+6 (UTC+6)
Postal code 101503
Area code(s) +7 73622

Baikonur (Kazakh: Байқоңыр, Bayqoñır, بايقوڭىر; Russian: Байконур, Baykonur), formerly known as Leninsk, is a city in Kyzylorda Province of Kazakhstan, rented and administered by Russia. It was constructed to service the Baikonur Cosmodrome and was officially renamed Baikonur by Boris Yeltsin on December 20, 1995.

The shape of the area rented is an ellipse, measuring 90 kilometres east to west, by 85 kilometres north to south, with the cosmodrome at the centre.

The original Baikonur is a mining town a few hundred kilometres northeast, near Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan's Karagandy Province. The launch site was given this name to cause confusion and keep the location secret. This town was specifically chosen because the flight path of the rockets that launched many Soviet satellites, including the first Sputnik, passed over its vicinity. The name Baikonur is Kazakh for "wealthy brown", i.e. "fertile land with many herbs". The railway station there, however, predates the base and keeps the old name - Tyuratam.

The fortunes of the city have varied according to those of the Soviet/Russian space program and its Baikonur Cosmodrome.

The Soviet government established the Nauchno-Issledovatel'skii Ispytatel'nyi Poligon N.5 (NIIIP-5), or Scientific-Research Test Range N.5 by its decree of 12 February 1955. The U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance plane found and photographed for the first time the Tyuratam missile test range (cosmodrome Baikonur) on 5 August 1957. See a composite satellite image of the early Tyuratam launch complex, the cosmodrome (30 May 1962).

Baikonur and Syrdarya River.

See also

Kazakh boy with a camel in Baikonur


External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Baikonur (Kazakh: Байқоңыр Bayqongyr, Russian: Байконур Baykonur) is a city in Kazakhstan.


Baikonur is famous worldwide for its cosmodrome, the site of many spacefaring feats like the first operational ICBM, the launch of Sputnik and the launch of the first manned orbital flight by Yuri Gagarin. The modern town of Baikonur was built near the existing village of Tyuratam (Тюратам), the name still used by the railway station, and was known as Leninsk (Ле́нинск) until renamed by Yeltsin in 1995.

Get in

The easiest way to visit Baikonur (and the only way to visit the cosmodrome) is by guided tour. Prices vary wildly but are always steep: a one-day tour starting from Almaty starts from US$700 per person, while a multi-day excursion from Moscow can easily cost US$5000. As the cosmodrome area (6000 is rented by Russia, no Kazakh visa is needed if you fly in directly from Moscow.

By plane

Baikonur's two airports, Krainiy (in city) and Yubileyniy (in cosmodrome) serve only semi-regular chartered flights from Almaty and Moscow. The nearest town with scheduled service is Kzyl-Orda (267 km away), which has scheduled daily flights to Almaty and Astana on Air Astana.

By train

Baikonur's station, Tyuratam, is on the Moscow-Almaty main line. The station is 1445 km from Almaty and the trip takes around 27 hours on an express train.

  • Baikonur Cosmodrome. A large quantity of Russian's exploration of space was launched from here. Permits are necessary and must be arranged at least 45 days in advance; the only practical way of doing this is through a specialist travel agency. Visits during space launches are particularly popular, but scheduling is subject to unpredictable delays.
  • Sputnik Hotel, +7336-2270650, [1]. The only modern, Western-run hotel in town, with luxuries like the only pool in town. US$250.  edit
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