Remembering the Kyrgyz Woman Who Adopted 150 Children During the Siege of Leningrad
“A legend”: this is how Kyrgyz and Russian media are referring to Toktogon Altybasarova, 91, who sheltered 150 children evacuated from Leningrad over the course of a two-and-a-half-year blockade during World War Two that cost up to a million lives.
In 1942, as Nazi Germany bombarded Russia’s second city, now called St. Petersburg, 16-year-old Altybasarova, who died last week on June 11, spared the evacuees from hunger and hosted them in a dormitory for local factory staff in her remote home village of Kurmenty, northeastern Kyrgyzstan.
She had just been elected head of her village council at the time.
Altybasarova determined the children’s age and gave them first names. Supervising a team of carers, she saw the children through to adulthood as they left to work and study in different parts of the Soviet Union.
According to Kyrgyzstan’s state broadcaster, Altybasarova kept and treasured letters from her adopted children until her death.
Saira Keltaeva was born on 16 May 1961 in Kumyshkan, Tashkent region, Uzbek SSR. In 1979 Saira Keltaeva graduated from the National Music Art School, boarding arts class on easel painting, she was taught under the guidance of Art teacher A.P.Perova - national artist of Uzbekistan. The same year she entered Theatre and Art Institute in Tashkent. Saira Keltaeva is a member of the Creative Union of Artists at the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan. Saira’s works are exhibited in museums and Art Galleries, as well as in private collections in Korea, China, Turkey, Germany, Holland, Italy, France and the United States.
The Television Center in Almaty (Alma-Ata), Kazakhstan, 1996. The building was built during the Soviet Era and unfortunately lacks information about its architect and construction date. It was inspired by the historical cities of Central Asia, whose regional capital was Almaty. The design recalls the Persian muqarnas (complicated geometric niches and domes clad in tiles or mirror) of the mosques and madrasas of Registan, Bukhara, and Khiva. The style was adapted to the cityscape by using metal cladding and glass.
Kaindy Lake is a 400 meter long lake in Kazakhstan’s portion of the Tian Shan Mountains located 129 km from the city of Almaty. The lake was created after an earthquake in 1911 that triggered a large landslide blocking the gorge and forming a natural dam. Subsequently, rainwater filled the valley and created the lake.
The lake is famous for its scenic beauty particularly the submerged forest and the imposing trunks of spruce trees that rises out of the lake water. The water is so cold (even in summer the temperature does not exceed 6 degrees) that the great pines still remain on the trees, even 100 years later. (x)