Aktobe, formerly known as Aktyubinsk, is a city on the Ilek River in Kazakhstan. With a population of 277,700, it is the capital of Aktobe Province. Aktobe has a mixed ethnic community, including Kazakhs, Russians, Ukrainians, Tatars, Uyghurs, Chechens, Armenians, Jews and Greeks. Before perestroika the city also was home to a sizeable German community.
The name "Aktobe" comes from Kazakh "" (white) and "" (hill); the name is a reference to the heights on which the original 19th century settlement was located. The territory of modern-day Aktobe province has borne witness to the rise and fall of many Central Asian cultures and empires. The area around the city of Aktobe is mostly flat steppe, with low hills rising to the northeast. Other rivers, such as the Emba and the Ural River, flow through the province.
In March 1869 a Russian military fort with a garrison of 300 was built at the confluence of the Kargala and Ilek Rivers, along the Orenburg - Kazalinsk caravan route. From this period Slavic settlers began to immigrate to the region in order to farm, and very soon neighborhoods had been built around the fort.There are also two museums in Aktobe: the Province Museum, dedicated to the natural and human history of Aktobe province, and the Aliya Moldagulova museum. There is also a geological exhibition in the city.