1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Akmolinsk

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AKMOLINSK, one of the governments belonging to the governor-generalship of the Steppes in Asiatic Russia, formerly known as the Kirghiz Steppe; bounded by the government of Turgai on the W., by that of Tobolsk on the N., of Semi-palatinsk on the E., and of Syr-darya on the S. Area 229,544 sq. m., of which 4535 are lakes. In the north the government is low and dotted with salt lakes, and is sandy on the banks of the Irtysh in the north-east. An undulating plateau stretches through the middle, watered by the Ishim and its tributary the Nura. The plains gradually rise southwards, where a broad spur of the Tarbagatai mountains stretches north-westwards, containing gold, copper and coal. Many lakes, of which the largest is Teniz, are scattered along the northern slope of these hills. Farther south, towards Lake Balkash, on the southeastern frontier, is a wide waterless desert, Bek-pak-dala, or Famine Steppe. This section of the government is drained by the Sary-su and Chu, the latter on the southern boundary-line. The climate is continental and dry, the average temperatures at the town of Akmolinsk being for the year 35°, January 1.5°, July 70°; rainfall, only 9 in. The population, which was 686,863 in 1897 (324,587 women), consists chiefly of Russians in the northern and middle portions, and of Kirghiz (about 350,000), who breed cattle, horses and sheep. The urban population was only 74,069. Agriculture is successfully carried on in the north, the Siberian railway running between Petropavlovsk and Omsk through a very fertile, well-populated region. Steamers ply on the Irtysh. The government is divided into five districts, the chief towns of which are: Omsk (pop. 53,050 in 1900), formerly capital of West Siberia, now capital of this government and also of the governor-generalship of the Steppes; Akmolinsk, or Akmolly (9560 in 1897), on the Ishim, 260 m. S.S.W. of Omsk, and chief centre for the caravans coming from Tashkent and Bokhara; Atbasar (3030); Kokchetav (5000); and Petropavlovsk (21,769 in 1901).