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Baikonur

Baikonur is a city in the southwest region of Kazakhstan, sitting on the right bank of the mighty Syr Darya River in the midst of the vast Kazakh steppe. Originally named Leninsk, it was built to house the workers servicing the Baikonur Cosmodrome on which it relies entirely for its economic stability. Baikonur is a city of political and geographical note as it is rented from Kazakhstan by the Russian government.

The original Kazakh mining town called Baikonur lies a few hundred miles north; the new city was named Baikonur to maintain the secrecy of the Cosmodrome. Built by the Soviet Government in 1950s, this was the first space launch facility in the world and remain the largest to date. One of the most expensive projects the Soviet Union took on, the Russian Federal Space Agency will share the lease of the facility with the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces until 2050. The city and the Cosmodrome were used as the location and set for the 2011 movie, Baikonur.

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On his visits to Kazakhstan, Jay is consistently struck by its wild nomadic traditions and its spectacular, thrusting new architecture.
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