Oral is a city in the northwest of Kazakhstan, close to the Russian border and located at the confluence of the Chogan and Ural rivers. With a population of some 270,000, it is the capital of the province of West Kazakhstan. The city was originally named after the Yaik river, but when that river was renamed the Ural, the city changed its name to Uralsk or Oral. The city has both Christian and Muslim populations and the Uralsk city church as well as the Oral Mosque are both local attractions. Expats living in Oral will be able to enjoy the city’s well preserved center with much fine architecture dating back to the 17th century. Oral also has a host of fine churches and the oldest theater in Kazakhstan. Kirov Park is a pleasant wooded open space by the river, with skating on the frozen surface in winter and fairs and boating in the summer for any expatriate in Oral to enjoy. The international online community at InterNations is a great place for expats living in Oral to keep up to date with what is going on in the city and to learn all about their new home from people who have first-hand experience of life in Oral.
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Oral is served by Uralsk Ak Zhol airport, which is 15km out of town across the river and is often the first port of call for expatriates moving to Oral from further afield. There are daily flights to other Kazakh cities and services to Moscow and Atyrau. A short hop across the border (if you have a Russian visa) will allow you to use Samara airport, with regular connections to Moscow, Frankfurt and Prague. To the north of the city center, Oral’s train station has good services to Russia, Ukraine and other Kazakh cities. Within the city, there is an excellent local transportation system of buses and mini-buses. Networking with other expats living in Oral, in Kazakhstan, or across the world via InterNations is a great way for any expat in Oral to get information on the best neighborhoods to live in and other aspects of life in the city.
The economy of Oral is dominated by the energy sector, engineering, machine and plant building, food processing and construction. The city has a history of metal work, building military equipment and cutting tools. The city also operates as a service center for the surrounding oil and gas installations. It is the energy sector in particular that continues to bring expats to Oral. InterNations is the ideal platform for these international residents who are working in Oral to stay in touch with one another, share information about life in Oral and make new business contacts. Our Expat Magazine complements this online resource with lots of information on the expat lifestyle, including articles on, for example, the role of the trailing spouse, cross-cultural communication and how to best get settled into life abroad.