Southern Kazakhstan

The land with poetic name Zhetysu (the Land of Seven Rivers) keeps many mysterious secrets. For centuries it had been the place where roads and historical fates of many tribes crossed. As the result, emerged the Great Silk Road, a large section of which ran through this land. At present, it represents the unique complex of historical, architectural, and town-planning memorials.

Neighboring Lake Issyk is the splendid gorge of the Turgen River. It’s one of the most beautiful and scenic gorges. Here you can enjoy picturesque nature and waterfalls, see famous Sacae burial-mounds dating back to 1000 BC, and relic moss fur-groves growing on permafrost.

Only 60 km from Almaty, nearby a small town of Issyk, beautiful Lake Issyk is hidden in one of the picturesque gorges of the Zaili Alatau at a height of 1.800 m above sea level. On the 7th of July 1963 the lake was struck by a disastrous event – a powerful mudflow destroyed this magnificent lake. Currently Lake Issyk is being restored and will become a popular place for recreation and hiking in the near future.

*Neighboring Lake Issyk is the splendid gorge of the Turgen River. It’s one of the most beautiful and scenic gorges. Here you can enjoy picturesque nature and waterfalls, see famous Sacae burial-mounds dating back to 1000 BC, and relic moss fur-groves growing on permafrost.

*Burkhan-Bulak waterfall is the biggest in Semirechye. The height of its three layers comes to 90 m. Noisy stream containing tons of icy water rushes down sprin kling everything around with millions of splashes.

*East of Almaty, 200 km down highway, there is the breathtaking Valley of Castles of the Charyn river. The Charyn Canyon is a long narrow gorge featuring steep sheer rocks with a rushing river flowing between them. Under the influence of winds and water the sand rocks assumed fanciful shapes reminding of exotic figures and fairy-tale characters. That is why the canyons are also called the Valley of Castles, the Devil’s Gorge and the Ghosts Gorge.

At the western spurs of the Jungar Alatau ridge there is the Altyn-Emel National Park, the biggest reserve in Kazakhstan. The area of 460.000 hectares is set for preservation of rare species of animals and plants. Here you can enjoy the view of unique colored mountains and the white mountains of Aktau, the sand mountains of Katutau where fossils of mammals and dinosaurs are sometimes found. The Park accommodates several historical memorials – Skythian burial mounds of Bes-Shatyr dating back to the 1st millennium BC and Tamgaly-Tas featuring over 4.000 ancient rock drawings, the earliest dating back to the 16-14th centuries BC. Here, on the right bank of the Ili river, is the Singing Sand-Hill, which emits low organ-like sounds in sunny weather.

South Kazakhstan Region is rich not only in its historical memorials but also in its unique and wonderful nature of the Western Tien-Shan. The Aksu-Jabagly Natural Reserve features unique archa forests, succulent alpine meadows, deep streams and rivers, and rigorous rocks in its territory of over 850 sq. km. Over 1.400 types of flower plants grow here.

Many of them are included in the International Red Book. The reserve is the habitat for over 238 species of birds and 42 species of mammals, many of which are also close to extinction (Egyptian vulture, berkut, black stork, blue bird, brown bear, arkhar, paradise flycatcher, snow leopard, Central Asian lynx and others.)

The website that helped me to provide you with this info – www.kazakhstan.orexca.com

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