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Baikonur

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

Understand

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.

By plane

Baikonur's two airports, Krainiy (public) and Yubileyniy (cosmodrome only) have regular and chartered flights from Almaty and Moscow.

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.

Get around

See

  • 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.

Do

Buy

Eat

Drink

Sleep

  • Sputnik Hotel, +7336-2270650, [1]. The only modern, Western-run hotel in town, with luxuries like the only pool in town. US$250.

Get out

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