Though Karaganda is one of the cities in Kazakhstan, give it a pass if time is short. Relatively new, it is primarily a coal-mining center located 500 mi/800 km northwest of Almaty.

Attractions in Karaganda are limited to the obligatory war memorials and miners' palaces, the Karaganda Oblast Museum and Fine Arts Museum, though there also are a few mosques, churches and an Aqua Park and Ethnopark to see.

Karaganda province is where Russian author Alexander Soltzhenitsyn spent eight years (1945-53) in a hard-labor camp that provided the framework for the book One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.

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