Baikonyr

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

Understand

Baikonyr is famous worldwide for its cosmodrome, the site of many spacefaring feats including the first operational ICBM, the launch of Sputnik and the launch of the first manned orbital flight by Yuri Gagarin. The modern town of Baikonyr was built near the existing village of Toretam (Төретам), the name still used by the railway station, and was known as Leninsk (Ле́нинск) until renamed in 1995 by then-president of Russia, Boris Yeltsin.

Get in

The easiest way to visit Baikonyr, 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 cost US$5,000. as the cosmodrome area (6000 km2.) is rented by Russia, no Kazakh visa is needed if you fly in directly from Moscow.

By plane

Baikonyr's two airports, Krainiy (in city) and Yubileyniy (in cosmodrome) serve only semi-regular chartered flights from Almaty and Moscow. The nearest town with scheduled service is Kzyl-Orda (267 km away), which has scheduled daily flights to Almaty and Astana on Air Astana.

By train

Baikonyr's station, Toretam, 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.

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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, July 27, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.