The Irtysh Day is only in Pavlodar region

Fortresses, fish and “Gusinka”
09.03.2017 16:36 5327

Pavlodar region is the only region in Kazakhstan, Russia, and China, where around the great river people celebrate the Irtysh Day. This is still an unofficial festival. For the first time it was celebrated in 2014. The Irtysh day was invented and has already arranged three times by the Pavlodar House of Geography. In our material Alexander Vervekin tells in detail how Pavlodar residents celebrate this festival and what differs every year from the previous one.

Fortresses, fish and “Gusinka”

Usually on the eve of the festival a popular science short film about the Irtysh is shot. If in 2014 such a film “About the great river for the Irtysh Day” was about a river in general, so in 2015 it was about the Irtysh and the unique monument of nature (“the Goose migration: yesterday, today, tomorrow”), and in 2016 it was about the history of the construction of fortifications: fortresses, outposts, redoubts on the banks of the river since the beginning of the XVIII century “The Irtysh and its fortresses”. Three years – three films. And this collection of films about the river must be replenished. Every time films are shown on the eve and on the Irtysh Day, and then placed on various resources of the Internet.

About the history of the construction of defensive, military and administrative structures, the spectators were told by Ernest Sokolkin, a local historian, an Honorary citizen of Pavlodar, a member of PavGeo, Ruslan Musin, the Chairman of the Public Fund “Tuzkala”, a resident of the village Yamyshevo of Lebyazhisky area and Alexey Matveev, the Deputy Director of the Omsk Regional Museum of Fine Arts named after M.A.Vrubel. The film “The Irtysh and its fortresses” was shown twice by Pavlodar Company “Irbis”. The participants were introduced with it during the session of “a round table” devoted to problems of studying, using and exploring the river, which took place immediately after the feast.

In 2015, interestingly, in addition to filming on the ground and in the air, there was even underwater photo shoot. In the Irtysh River, honestly, it would be impossible to do, because of the sandy sediment of the river bottom, so picturesque algae and a brisk pike were shot in shallow and illuminated by the rays of light in the river Usolka, which flows into the Irtysh.

Rafting along the Irtysh River in honor of the festival

Every time, rafting on the river is arranged devoted to the Irtysh Day. And every year such expeditions downstream on the oars increase their length and therefore the duration. In 2014, the rafting lasted only for two days and started in Aitym neighboring village of Pavlodar region, after a year it lasted for three days and started in the legendary Yamyshevo of Lebyazhinsky area. And last year the rafting in honor of the Irtysh Day was opened in Akku village, the administrative center of Lebyazhinsky area of Pavlodar region. At the start the participants were blessed with kind words by the representatives of the Akimat of Lebyazhinsky area, and good songs by the rural artists and fighters of “Zhasyl El”. After that, the rowers took to the road. Their expedition down the river passed through the settlements of Lebyazhinsky, Maysky, Pavlodar areas and through Aksu city. Everywhere they were very warmly welcomed and the expedition was provided with all possible assistance. Near Koktobe village of Maysky area the rowboats of the rafting were accompanied by the boat of the operational and rescue team of the emergency situations of the Department of Pavlodar region. In the village and in Aksu city the expedition was met by the activists and the heads of youth initiatives development centers with hot tea, a warm welcome and delicious afternoon tea. And in Aksu the crew of the national TV channel “Bilim zhane Madeniet”, having arrived from Astana to shoot the Irtysh Day sat into the rowboat of Pavlodar travelers for a while.

The finish of the rafting is always held right on the Irtysh Day in order to meet the participants of this trip as real heroes, and to have many Pavlodar residents and guests of the city and of the festival. On these expeditions from 16 to 19 people participated in different years.

The rowers stayed on the banks of the Irtysh for dinner and overnight. However, in the evenings they were sometimes bit mercilessly by mosquitoes. They brought with them important information about the condition of the river and possibilities of its use, which they shared on the day following the Irtysh Day, at the meeting of the “round table”, as well as video and photo reports.

“Along the roads of Bucholz” expedition

Every year surprises happen at the feast. In 2014, children and their parents could play in fun relays and game, get prizes and gifts. A year later, amateur actors from the villages took responsibility for the entire concert program of the Irtysh Day in Pavlodar. And in 2016, on the eve of the Irtysh Day a squadron of five cruisers of the Omsk Regional Department of Russian Geographical Society (ORD RGS) came to Pavlodar region. “Siberia”, “Zhemchuzhina” (Pearl), “Eureka”, “Strela” (Archer) and “Mechta” (Dream) went from Green Island, from the pier and sailing center in Omsk region. It was an international complex historical-ecological expedition “Along the roads of Bucholz” en route Omsk – Yamyshevo – Omsk. In the year of the 300th anniversary of Omsk, they had to go down a path that the founders of Omsk fortress, the soldiers of the Siberian regiments under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Ivan Dmitrievich Buchgolz (Bucholz) went in 1715-1716.

Participants of the expedition were the crews of yachts under the command of Sergey Shcherbakov, the commander, the Director of the Sailing Sport Center, the member of the Board of ORD RGS and automotive group under the leadership of Alexey Matveev, a researcher, a candidate of historical sciences. From Omsk side, the expedition was headed by Igor Vyatkin, the Chairman of Omsk branch of RGS; from Kazakhstan side was the author of the article.

The tasks of the expedition, which was attended by 35 members of the Russian Geographical Society, were the search of places of the remnants of Russian fortresses and outposts on the Irtysh line of the XVIII century, the study of relict sites of Tea route (the Northern branch of the Silk Road), the collection of historical and ethnographic materials to create the international tourist route, the environmental study of the Irtysh river. On the way the expedition conducted a series of educational activities, met with the public in rural areas. Many members of the expedition even dove into the great salt pond. A water sample was taken in a few large plastic bottles. Then they met with the villagers in high school in Yamyshevo village. Now the Pavlodar House of Geography and the Omsk Regional Department of Russian Geographical Society are planning to develop sailing in Pavlodar region. This was reported by Sergey Scherbakov during the meeting of the travelers with the villagers in Yamyshevo village.

“We offer the Pavlodar House of geography to develop sailing in the region, - said Shcherbakov. - In your region you have some preconditions: there is a big river of the Irtysh with many tributaries, there are some lakes. It would be a great alternative for the education of youth. Sailing is environmentally friendly. Yes, it requires a considerable outlay, but anyway the means can be found. We are ready to provide you with methodical assistance, to organize training for trainers. Besides, Kazakhstan can be called a sea power after the circumnavigation around the world of the yacht “Chokan Valikhanov”.

About readiness to provide such assistance to the Pavlodar House of Geography, said also the Chairman of the Omsk Regional Branch of the Russian Geographical Society, Igor Vyatkin. According to him, in 2017 with the joint forces an expedition of cruising yachts from Zaisan Lake in Eastern Kazakhstan through Pavlodar region to Omsk can be undertaken. As the captain of the yacht “Mechta” Alexander Ponomarev said, in his crew there are two children who have walked through rivers and seas, and they are great proof that sailing is available to any age. And the expedition “Along the roads of Bucholz” will provide materials to make the tourist route from Omsk to Yamyshevo.

- We gladly accept this proposal, and I think soon they can take over the elaboration of the concept of such large-scale projects: the development of sailing and of the expedition from Eastern Kazakhstan to Omsk, - said the Director of the Pavlodar House of Geography, Alexander Vervekin. - The expedition, by the way, would be a serious start for the development of sailing, because for its preparation we will have to buy at least one yacht, to prepare the captain and the crew. And they will be able to travel across the river and out to the sea. We are ready to work.

Saturday work on the river bank

The day before the Irtysh Day, every year in Pavlodar Saturday work is held on the banks of this great river. In 2014, such work took place on the left bank, behind the road bridge of the city. Later, the volunteers cleaned up on the right bank near the boat station, located under the Pavlodar railway bridge. And in July 2016, the cleanup took place on the banks of the Usolka, tributary to the Irtysh.  Fighters of the youth labor groups “Zhasyl El” and members of the Omsk branch of Russian Geographical Society came to remove the rubbish from the river. Taking work gloves and sacks for solid waste, they passed about 400 meters of the bank. During one hour, volunteers filled 31 sacks with the rubbish. By the way, fighters of construction teams help the House of Geography in the cleaning devoted to the Irtysh Day each year. This is a very important mission and a useful tradition, a good example of the attitude to nature.

Festival on the Embankment and ship parade

The culmination of the Irtysh Day is always a celebration on the Embankment with a concert by amateur or professional artists and bands, loud and cheerful music, performances of not very official guests and very official people. If we talk about invited guests, in 2014, on the Irtysh Day Renee Khamitov, a traveller from Irkutsk region and Vitaliy Shuptar, the President of the Karaganda historical-geographical society “Avalon” arrived. Then the number of guests began to grow exponentially. Together with the glory of the Irtysh Day festival. In 2015 four guest from Astana arrived in Pavlodar to celebrate this festival: Saulet Sakenov, the Deputy Director of Kazakhstan National Geographic Society, three members of the travel club of Jeepers “Nomad 4*4”, Vadim Borodaev,  a local historian from Barnaul and three members of the society “Avalon” from Karaganda. Well, in 2016 only Omsk yachtsmen were almost 50 people. And from Karaganda there were a total of four people. There were guests from Aksu, Petropavlovsk... by the way, Karaganda residents officially come to Pavlodar on this Day all years of its celebration.

Every year, traditionally on the river embankment there is open air of artists. Last year the organizers together with the Pavlodar Regional Art Museum also organized it. Eight students of the Pavlodar Art College, the artists Alexey Balin and Liliya Kozhokar took easels, paints, brushes and walked away in search of the best view on the favorite river. The theme of the open air, of course, also was the Irtysh. With them also Zhenis Moldabekov and Gulmaral Tatibayeva, artists of Astana painted the landscapes of the largest river in Kazakhstan. The Art Museum of the region always comes to help in organizing such open air.

In this article, only the above we wrote about the surprises. In 2016, such a surprise on the Irtysh Day became the stalls of artisans, craftsmen and a large sixth regional exhibition “Tourism PVL-2016”, organized by the Department of Trade, Entrepreneurship and Tourism of Pavlodar region. The exhibition was attended by representatives of travel agencies, tour operators from cities and villages of Pavlodar region, from different regions of Kazakhstan and from Omsk. Each participant presented the opportunity for internal relaxation of Kazakhstani people and guests of our Republic.

Interesting goods were met in the tents of the masters. Among them there were masters of the Public Foundation “Magic hands”, Slavic cultural center with artificial soap, jewelry, polymer clay, souvenirs, crochet and knitting, sewing and embroidery. Artists pleased the guests of the festival: Alexander and Natalia Kolodina with their artistic miniatures, Natalia Borisovskaya with painted woodwork and weaving, Saida Gimadieva with embroidery and, of course, a member of PavGeo, a geographer, an environmentalist, and a skilled master Svetlana Vladimirovna Mogiluk, who introduced toys from felt and goods made of precious stones.

The Irtysh is a river of friendship, peace and harmony! It unites together three great countries – China, Kazakhstan and Russia. At the Irtysh Day festival, there were guests from Omsk, Astana, Almaty and Karaganda, and also Akmola, Zhambyl, Kyzylorda and North Kazakhstan regions, who took part in the open air artists, river rafting, expedition cruising yachts and the sixth regional exhibition “Tourism PVL-2016”.

So the Irtysh Day is not just a festival, but a major ecological event for Pavlodar region on the eve of the international exhibition “EXPO – 2017”, which is aimed at the solution of environmental problems. Each has its own Irtysh: fishing, summer beach, family vacation, romantic walk with a beloved, meeting friends and new acquaintances. It is, indeed, the native river familiar to people since childhood. How many positive emotions the Irtysh brought us, people!

A crowd of thousands of Pavlodar residents, guests of the city and the Irtysh Day met with a standing ovation of participants of Akku-Pavlodar rafting, who came to the finish on the rowboats and their inflatable boats in front of the townspeople. The participants were awarded letters of appreciation. Starting from Akku village, through Koktobe, other villages, Aksu town and to Pavlodar, the participants had rowed along the river. All guests of the festival together met the members of the expedition who were in the river trip for four days and rowed about 180 kilometers. After announcing the names of each of the men, who carried the flags of Kazakhstan, Pavlodar House of Geography, “Kazchrome” company and “Avalon” Karaganda Historical-Geographical Society, they took their places among the spectators.

Having congratulated the Pavlodar residents and guests of the region with the Irtysh Day, participants of the rafting were given letters of appreciation by the Deputy Akim (Mayor) of Pavlodar region, Meiram Begentayev.

“Today’s celebration of the Irtysh Day is conducted in anticipation of the specialized exhibition “EXPO – 2017” and serves as a bridge for the development of internal and external tourism,- he said. - We are proud that Pavlodar region is located on the Irtysh River, which flows through the territory of three countries – Kazakhstan, China and Russia. The Irtysh is the main source of water supply of population and industry, as well as irrigation along its entire course. Such an event as the Irtysh Day, is important not only to Pavlodar and the region. This is an important example of a complex active civic position in nature protection, example of mass participation of youth in environmental activities. And it will become a wonderful occasion to any visitor and tourist arrived in Pavlodar region specifically for the festival.”

From that moment, all the attention of the festival people was drawn to the river. On the Irtysh a parade of small and big vessels began. It was opened by the three-deck tug BTM-636 of the Pavlodar river port. The captain of the ship was Vladimir Gapov, the assistant was Anatoly Berestov. The ship with capacity of 600 horsepower was built in Tyumen in 1983. Today it carries gravel, sand and salt from Pavlodar region to Russia.

“Kochevnik” (Nomad) is another ship with a very difficult fate. Built at Pavlodar plant of waterways, it was sent to Omsk in 1989. And after some time it became useless. His new master, a Pavlodar citizen Kambar Iseev bought the ship as six tons of scrap metal and regained it to its Motherland! Here, “Kochevnik” (Nomad) was installed the engine, and was built a cabin. All work on the conversion of the ship to such a beautiful view took about three and a half years. Kambar Iseev worked in Pavlodar river port for 23 years.

Passenger riverboats “Kazakhstan” and “Ekibastuz” of the river station took part in the walking parade of ships! Every day they take Pavlodar residents and guests of Pavlodar on the scenic Irtysh River. In the evening the real disco starts on board. On holidays, passengers of the riverboats send beautiful balloons into the sky. The riverboats “Zarnitsa” (Summer Lightning) and one of the newest riverboats of Pavlodar, “Vega” came to the Irtysh to participate in the parade of the ship. The latter was collected by the graduate of the College of Semey city, a certified captain, Sergey Filipponenko, who was at the helm. The owner bought the body, chopped it himself, made the drawings on his own and rebuilt the ship. Now “Vega” carries passengers on the Irtysh River. Sergey called it in honor of one of the stars, which shows the path to the navigator. The riverboats “Vihr” (Whirlwind) and “Dozorny” (Sentinel) came to the parade, a real decoration of the parade of ships. In addition, in 2016, on the Irtysh day, the organizers discovered the ship “Yermak”. Usually it can be seen in yachts-club “Chaika” (Seagull) and on our beautiful river.

And honored guests pleased the Pavlodar residents - sea cruising yachts from Russia. A fleet of ships Sailing Center in Omsk region came to the Irtysh Day at the invitation of the Pavlodar House of Geography. There the Irtysh also flows. And the international expedition “Along the roads of Bucholz” Omsk-Yamyshevo-Omsk went on this river. There were 35 people on board. The legendary yacht “Siberia” has gone around the Earth four times. The squadron also consisted of the ships “Siberia”, “Zhemchuzhina” (Pearl), “Eureka”, “Strela” (Archer) and “Mechta” (Dream).

It was nice to see transport police boats of Pavlodar region on the ship parade. The parade was accompanied by the court operational rescue group of the Department of Emergency Situations of Pavlodar Region. “Chaika” (Seagull) yachts-club of Pavlodar city adorned the festival: yachts, boats and motor boats help their owners to move quickly on the great river. The ships of the Pavlodar river backwater boat station came to the parade. And upstream boats and motor boats of the station, located after the Pavlodar railway bridge went to meet them. They had pleased with their participation in the event for three years. The parade was accompanied by the military orchestra and the story of presenters about the swimming ships.

The ship parade is also an integral part of the Irtysh Day every year. But in 2014, there were only small boats, motor boats and a couple of yachts. In 2015 large vessels joined the parade. And every year the number of ships is growing and growing. Every spectator is always excited about this spectacle, because of not the seaport, and the average city hosts a real parade of ships. It is an unforgettable sight!

In 2016 a six-year-old boy of the club of young ethnographers “Dzhurbai” Elisey Resnyansky read his own poem “We are made of the Irtysh” from the stage:

We are made of the Irtysh...

Imagine, think about it slowly:

You woke up in the morning and the Irtysh with you

It made the night go away with its water.

Then it gave you tea,

At lunch it cooked soup.

Then it washed the clothes,

Removed the evening fatigue...

And on the walking with you

Will flash a friendly wave.

Fishing, beach and a boat,

Skates and skis, ice drift...

The sunset is over it and dawn -

No paintings better in the world.

We are made of the Irtysh.

Its soul is my soul.

The meeting of a “round table”

Since 2015 the next day after the festival, but within it, there has been more relaxed, educational part of the Irtysh Day, meeting of the “round table” on problems of studying and preservation of the river. In 2016 the film “The Irtysh and its fortresses” was officially presented at the meeting.

Igor Vyatkin told about the study made by Omsk residents about the history of the construction of outposts and fortresses along the banks of the Irtysh River, raised the question of the water content of the river, the reliability of the water protection zone of the waterway, and coastal erosion. According to him, about twelve years ago due to the formation of large gullies on the banks of the river authorities of Omsk region had to save the Bolsherechy hospital, located near the Irtysh River.

A member of the ORD RGS Natalia Nikolayevna Barsukova made a presentation on the definition of water quality in the Irtysh River. Her report was commented by Bulat Zulkarnaevich Zhumadilov, the Head of the Department of General Biology, a candidate of biological sciences, an associate professor of Pavlodar State Pedagogical Institute. He noted with regret that in recent years, the number of valuable species of fish in the river decreased from 30 to 27. In the basin of the river there are about 3800 species of plants, of which about 545 are in Pavlodar Irtysh valley. A cutting down of plants and fires cause serious threats to biodiversity, and the ecological balance of the water is in the result of discharges of industrial wastes in East Kazakhstan. According to the candidate of Geographical Sciences, a member of PavGeo, an ecologist Svetlana Mogiluk, we need to work on this issue in East Kazakhstan region: discharges of industrial objects of China in the Irtysh amount to no more than one third of the total mass in the river and there is not a serious threat to the waters at the territory of Kazakhstan.

One of the veterans of Pavlodar, a participant of the ship parade, Aleksey Stanislavovich Magomayev recalled the “warm period” that occurred on the Irtysh Кiver from the side of the Aksu Ferroalloy Plant: it is a phenomenon that affects the climate in the river, the temperature regime in the water.

We also touched upon the topic of the persecution of the gnats by the river with the use of the drug vectobac. The specialists of Pavlodar Pedagogical Institute assured: it does not cause any threat to the river.

And a participant of the Akku-Pavlodar rafting spoke out. Tatiana Bovshik, a member of the House of Geography said that the active collection of garbage on the banks of the Irtysh in 2016, the crews of the three boats were not engaged mainly because that there was not any garbage. Obviously, it was washed by repeated water releases. However, in the water the dirt was visible with the naked eye, particularly in the area between the villages of Yamyshevo and Zarya. Tatiana said that at the sides of the inflatable green boat was a noticeable yellow plaque that she personally washed off before the rafting had reached Pavlodar.

A member of the House of Geography, an architect and a traveler, an entrepreneur Yuri Kuzin an hour before the meeting took photographs of the right bank of the Irtysh on the territory of the nature monument “Goose flight”. It formed huge ravines. According to experts, they are not just from the effects of storm flows, but irrational human impact on the area. From the road along the “Gusinka” to the bank river is about 25 meters. The depth of the ravines is about six meters. If we do not strengthen the banks, we will soon have to save not only the monument of nature with the unique remnants of ancient animals, but also the road, and then houses, located near the roadway.

The President of “Avalon” Karaganda Society, Vitaliy Shuptar noted that on the river as well as on the roads, it is necessary to set the pointers settlements, monuments of history, architecture and similar objects that will allow the participants easier to navigate during rafting and excursions on the river.

A historian and ethnographer, an honorary citizen of Pavlodar Ernest Dmitrievich Sokolkin lamented that in Pavlodar region there is still poorly staged lore popularization. He said that earlier in Lermontov Street there was a sign indicating the three dates of Pavlodar: 1720, when the outpost Koryakowsky was founded, 1845, when the settlement was granted city status by assigning it a name, Pavlodar, and 1938, when Pavlodar region was founded, and Pavlodar became its administrative center.

A member of the House of Geography, the Deputy Akim of Pavlodar region Nikolai Vassilyevich Dychko noted the importance of all activities in the framework of the Irtysh Day, including the meeting at the “round table”. The Irtysh needs to get back the former glory of the waterway; all the efforts will be made for the revival of navigation on the river.

During the meeting of the “round table” in Pavlodar House of Geography and Omsk Regional Department of Russian Geographical Society signed an agreement “on cooperation in order to promote further development of mutually beneficial bilateral relations” for a period of five years.

A proclamation to the people of all regions living in the Irtysh River was accepted. It says: “Water is not only a condition of life, it is alive! After a long winter the ice melts under the warm sunbeam, cleaning the water from dirt. Water has the unique ability to cleanse itself, but it cannot do without the help of our thoughts and actions. Scientists have found that in the frozen column at the sound of the symphonies of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart water gets the ideal form of snowflakes, and when there is disharmony a snowflake crumbles to pieces. Living creatures should know that when using water of our rivers and lakes it is probably more important than less to have good thoughts and feelings in relation to nature and to each other than the technical means of purification of this miracle substance. Good thoughts give birth to a worthy goal, and the goal to an action. Unfortunately today, many people think: “Our Irtysh River and its tributaries, lakes and ponds will endure all!” But they pay us in full for the violation of Nature. On the food relations, through fruit, vegetables and fish, all hazardous substances discharged by thoughtless actions of people in the water come back to people, just in a different capacity, causing terrible disease. The purity and quality of water in rivers of the Irtysh basin would have been far better if each of us, every enterprise of the countries and regions, taking water from rivers, lakes, reservoirs, groundwater wells, would return it back as purified, and on the banks of the Irtysh River, landfills of sewage and waste would disappear. We need to remember that water and life are inseparable. Without water you cannot grow a flower and not a baby!”


After the events in the Pavlodar region for Pavlodar and Omsk residents, together celebrated the Irtysh Day in Kazakhstan, the days on the river continued with their participation in a joint organized international expedition “Along the roads of Bucholz”. Four members of the PavGeo: Vladimir Borman, Danil Vervekin, Yulia Gerasimova and Vitaly Kozhokar and 34 members of the Omsk crews on cruising yachts set off. They were very warmly welcomed in the village Chernoretsk of Pavlodar district, Terenkol of Kachirsky and Zhelezinka of Zhelezinka districts of Pavlodar region, as well as in the village of Cherlak of Cherlakovsky district of Omsk region. As a result, the Pavlodar residents arrived in Omsk and together with Russians took part in the celebration of the 300th anniversary of Omsk, having been on interesting excursions and in the hospitable house of Igor Vyatkin.

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