Welcome to Ust-Kamenogorsk
Ust-Kamenogorsk (Öskemen; Усть-Каменого́рск) is a lively city with generally low-key Soviet architecture, at the confluence of the Irtysh and Ulba Rivers. Founded as a Russian fort in 1720, 'Ust' has grown from a small town since the 1940s, when Russians and Ukrainians began arriving to mine and process the area’s copper, lead, silver and zinc. These industries still keep Ust out of the economic doldrums, but are bad news for air quality. The city's proximity to Altai makes it a decent stopover on the way to some of Kazakhstan's most beautiful mountains.