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    Alma-Ata...the capital of Soviet Kazakhstan...

    This is one of the most attractive cities in the Soviet?

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    Alma-Ata...the capital of Soviet Kazakhstan...

    This is one of the most attractive cities in the Soviet Union.

    In the Kasukh language Alma-Ata means "the father of apples". "A garden city" is how they speak about it after wandering through its streets at least once.

    There are 25 trees per resident.

    In the past 110 years of its existence Alma-Ata has turned from a small township into a city with a population of half a million.

    Today Alma-Ata has an Academy of Sciences, more than 10 institutions of higher learning and several theaters.

    In the past two decades the population rose by 53% while the average rate of national population increase was 9.5%.

    However there was one thing in the life of the city until recently that periodically broke the normal life of the city residents.

    Everyone still remembers the tragedy of Florence, the city with monument of world culture that was flooded with mud within several minutes.

    The same danger hung for many years over Alma-Ata like the sword of Damocles, the danger of mud torrents.

    This small and innocent mountain river known as Almaatinka took 500 human lives in the mud torrent of 1921.

    Many streets of the city were razed to the ground, and orchards and fields were flooded with mud.

    The last mud torrent took place in 1963.

    The beautiful mountain lakes near the city have been favourite spots of recreation for the residents of the city.

    The swimming season starts there in early spring.

    In 1963 the residents of Alma-Ata lost their most scenic lake, Isayk, which, for its beauty, was called the Ritsa of Kasakhstan.

    On July 1963 a black-mud-and-stone torrent more than a hundred yards wide rushed there with enormous speed.

    There was no more Lake Isayk in a matter of hours.

    That happened 45 miles near Alma-Ata.

    As early as in 1952 the government of the Kasakhstan Republic made a decision that a project be developed to defend the city against and torrents.

    It was decided to build a 300-foot dam in the place called Medec, where a world famous mountain skating-rink is situated.

    There were three versions for the dam. The dam could be heaped with stones, reinforced-concrete or pressed earthen.

    Any version would take several years to be completed.

    The 1963 and torrent was a reminder that Alma-Ata quickly needs protection against more.

    That was when a fourth version of a dam was put forward, a version to employ directed explosions.

    The Soviet Union leads the other countries in extensively using explosions in many branches of the national economy.

    That was how the dam looked after the explosion in the locality of Medec on October 21, 1966. It is 200 feet high. The body of the dam holds more than 2 million tons of rock. 5,200 tons of high explosives were used.

    April 14, 1967...

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    Film ID:
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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Black & White
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