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The history of the fort Alexandrovsky.

History of Mangyshlak.

“Only that people has the right and power to hold in their hands the sea, which can defend it. Therefore, all those peoples who sought the sea, who reached it, irresistibly took the path of shipbuilding. For them, the fleet was an object of national pride; it was external evidence that the people have power, have the ability to hold the sea in their power. For this alone fortresses are not enough, it is impossible to defend the coastline by fortifications alone. To protect the coast, mobile, free-floating fortresses are needed, a linear fleet is needed. All coastal peoples understood this. Defenselessness at sea is just as dangerous as defenselessness on land. Of course, under favorable circumstances, you can live on land and without shelter for some time, but when a storm flies to resist it, you need both strong walls and a solid roof. That is why shipbuilding has become a national affair everywhere. That is why the launching of each new ship on the water is a national celebration, a national festival. This is the return to the sea of ​​a part of the popular forces accumulated on land, of popular energy. That’s why everywhere powerful states built fleets at home.”

Peter Stolypin.

A trip from Bautino to Fort Shevchenko.

Adjutant General Perovsky also bothered about moving the fortifications here. The new fortification was first called Novopetrovsky, but in 1857 it was renamed Alexandrovsky. So, after 130 years, we again strengthened ourselves in the area indicated by Peter the Great.
Fort Aleksandrovsky is located on a mountain that rises 25 fathoms with a little over the level of the Caspian Sea. This mountain is a continuation of the elevated Tub-Koragansky coast and, like it, consists of layers of shell conglomerate, with layers of limestone belonging to the upper tertiary layers.
Almost all houses of the fort and its walls are built from a shell conglomerate, convenient in its raw form for lining and hardening in the air. On the walls are eight guns; inside the walls there are two hundred foot Ural Cossacks and a military commander of the fort, and for them a church, barracks, an infirmary, provisions and artillery shops.
This is the “upper fortification”, which contains an exclusively military element. From it stretch, along the western slope of the mountain, into a lowland, two stone walls abutting a salt lake. Between these walls is located the "lower fortification", which actually is a trading settlement.
There are wells with fresh water in it, while in the upper fortification there is no such water either; it also houses the administration of the Mangyshlak bailiff and 17 families of Astrakhan Armenian merchants, in their own houses, in which there are shops.
here is also a bazaar, where Kyrgyz people come to exchange, and some of the Kyrgyz put their wagons here and sell them chintz and various small things, taken, for the most part, for a commission from the Armenians. In the same lowland, about a mile to the south, there is a breech garden.
The wanderer who visited Fort Aleksandrovsky in the summer retains the most pleasant memory of him. And indeed, a gaze struck by the desert, with pleasure rests on this group of greenery. In the space of three acres, more than 3,000 trees were bred, including 60 fruit trees: peach, apricot, pears, cherries and apple trees; besides them - here, comb, ash, willow and vines.
Behind the trees, in protection from the winds, parsley, dill, onions, garlic, mustard, black radish, horseradish, beets, cucumbers, cabbage and excellent watermelons and melons grow. Flowers are also divorced in front of the commandant's summer house. All this is artificially irrigated with the help of two chigirs.
This garden was begun by the first commandant of the local fort, Major Mayevsky, but brought to this position by his successor, Colonel Uskov, who had been here for 12 years. Under him, the doctor Nikolsky was very engaged in this garden.
The untimely dead singer of Ukraine, Taras Shevchenko, also enjoyed his joyful shadow. On one of the trees, last summer, one could see carved letters of his name and surname. He was transferred here from fortification No. 1, and from Orenburg there.
There are few stories about his life. They say that he carved figurines from soft stone, painted pictures for Armenians and taught the children of Uskov to read and write. How hard it was for us, having spent the day in the garden, to go into the stuffy, glowing fortification, surrounded by the bare rocky steppe, at night.
Whether this garden remained unexploded after the siege of this year is not visible from the newspapers. Near it, up to six acres are occupied by the fields of Turkmen and Kirghiz sown with sorghum, barley and melons. Everywhere artificial irrigation.
Water rises - with the help of an equestrian gate - with a wheel, to the circumference of which scoops are attached. With these chigirs, water rises from shallow wells. The land is brackish, clayey - formed partly from the destruction of the marl layer, which is nearby.
Sea water, which took such a part in the formation of salt marshes, contains phosphate lime; sea ​​shells contain it from 1 to 2 percent: this is the reason for the fertility of this area and the sterility of places north of the garden where there is only one lime.
We said above that the lower fortification borders on a salt lake called Kityk. Salt sits in it; in the other, lying somewhat north of this and called Bulak, salt has not been setting recently - no doubt, because the water of the sea, when standing high in recent years, seeping through the narrow braid that separates it from the lake, does not allow this last thicken the pickle.
In the line with these lakes, to the north of them, about three versts from the fortification, is the excellent Tyub-Koraganskaya harbor, along the coast of which, on a sand spit, the village of Nikolaevskoe stretches. The harbor will no doubt also eventually become a salt lake.
In the village of Nikolaev lives 25 families in state-owned houses. Their main industry is fishing. In the siege of this year, this village, as is known from the newspapers, is devastated by the Kyrgyz. Fort Alexandrovsky, with its trading settlement and village, was until the autumn of last year our only settlement on the eastern coast of the Caspian; but in October last year, as you know, we built another fortification at the Krasnovodsk Gulf, where Peter the Great had already indicated it.
But all this is too little to subdue the Adaevites, and even less to keep Khiva from inciting to robbery and from participating in them. The extermination of the detachment of Rukin and the siege of Fort Alexandrovsky in March of this year - clearly prove this.
It is necessary to put an end to Khiva, this nest of robbers. It is necessary to stretch a series of fortifications from Krasnovodsk along the old channel of the Amu Darya to its current channel; it is also necessary to occupy at least Kungrad, if it is impossible to rise above the city from the Aral Sea.
When we destroy the stash in the Khiva Khanate for all the murderers and robbers of our steppes - only then can we expect peace among the Kyrgyz, only then will the correct trade relations of the Caspian with Central Asia start.
But first of all it is necessary to have on Embena waters although two shallow-sitting steamers and with them several whaleboats. Those and others all the time of fishing should observe the shores of the Buzachi Peninsula, where predators hide, and have an anchorage for this time in Sorytash Bay.
It is also necessary to increase the size of the Aleksandrovsky fort in order to place in it the same number of garrison as it was before 1863, i.e., to reduce the size of the fort. If the garrison of the fort was, as before 1863, 600 people, and if part of the income received from Caspian fishing was used for the maintenance of steamboats and whaleboats, Colonel Rukin would get help on time, or go to the steppe with a large detachment and Fort Aleksandrovsky would not be under siege.
Our Urals and fishermen would not be scalped and cut, or walk along the steppe with a ring threaded into their lips, along a rope behind a camel; in Mangyshlak one could then engage in industry. Brown coal seams have been known there for a long time. In 1846, they were found by Colonel Ivanin.
These strata were examined, by order of the Orenburg Governor-General, by mining engineer Antipov. Last summer, the Caucasus and Mercury Society explored a layer of coal one and a half arshins thick, which was already known, if not in 1846, then in 1849, to an officer of the topographic corps Skryabin and he was shown on a map lithographed in Orenburg.
The exploration batch of the past year also found samples of brown iron ore and copper ores. But all this can be dealt with only when the worker on Mangyshlak is protected from robberies - and we hope that this is not far off.
Currently, a significant detachment of Caucasian troops is concentrated in Mangyshlak. He chose Sorytash Bay as the basis for his actions, on the shore of which Colonel Rukin died with a detachment.

"Fort Alexandrovsky: According to the precepts of Peter the Great." “Mangyshlak Peninsula” World Illustration, 1870, No. 83.