What places the tourists should visit in Kazakhstan?
The number of foreign tourists interested in the sights of our country is growing in Kazakhstan. Domestic tourism is also gaining popularity among Kazakhstanis themselves, that can become a worthy alternative to foreign travel. Our portal will tell you briefly about 10 amazing places of Kazakhstan, that you should visit.
Kazakhstan, located in the very heart of Eurasia, has unique natural monuments that are in harmony with historical buildings and modern architecture. There are amazing places among the Kazakh mountains and steppes, the view of which is breathtaking sometimes.
Big Almaty Lake
Big Almaty Lake, or BAL in short, is a picturesque lake 20 kilometers from Almaty. The reservoir is located near the state border of Kyrgyzstan, but no special passes are required to visit, and the millions of tourists who have visited here are the best confirmation of this. Big Almaty Lake is hidden in a mountainous area with landscapes of indescribable beauty and delicious air filled with the aroma of fragrant herbs and the freshness of the snow-capped peaks of the Zailiyskiy Alatau.
Almaty Lake lies in a deep crevice formed as a result of a large-scale earthquake. More than two millennia ago, the tremors triggered a landslide that blocked the way into the gorge and formed a natural dam in the riverbed. A crevice was filled with water – this is how the world received a beautiful blue reservoir, that is called nothing else than the treasure of the Northern Tien Shan.
On the contrary to its name, Big Almaty Lake has a relatively small area – 420 square meters. The depth of the reservoir in summer is up to 45 meters, in cold months it can drop to 15 meters. During the warm period, the lake warms up to 10-12 degrees. A water is clear and very fresh. In sunny calm weather, the surface reflects the wooded slopes that surround the lake from all sides. The four peaks rise above the calm surface of Kanysh Satpaev (formerly was called “Soviet”), Ozernyi, Big Almaty and Tourist, the height of which ranges from 3600 to 4300 meters.
It is pretty cool on the banks of the Big Almaty Lake regardless of the season. This factor should be taken into account when planning an excursion – take warm clothes and hats with you, and do not let the Almaty heat deceive you.
Charyn Canyon or simply the Valley of Castles
Having driven 200 kilometers from the city of Almaty, you will meet the stunning natural wonder of the Charyn Canyon. The brick-red rocks have opened up to the height of 150 - 300 meters, and a turbulent mountain river of the same name, Charyn, flows at the bottom. The extreme people go rafting there, and camping lovers stop for the night with tents.
Many people call the Charyn Canyon as the junior pull of the American Grand Canyon. It is really a little smaller compared to it, but not inferior in beauty to the landscape. An age of the Charyn Canyon is 12 million years. It originated from an ancient earthquake that split the integrity of the cover and left huge cracks in the ground.
This explains the rather soft structure of the canyon walls, these are stones that are firmly pressed with clay, but easily change shape under the influence of wind and water. The bizarre figures of the rocks resemble either fortresses and towers, or huge lizards and giants with a sharp nose. Staying so fabulous and incredible in its beauty and uniqueness, it attracts the tourists from all over the world.
Kolsay and Kaindy Lakes
Kolsai Lakes, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Almaty region, is a jewel of the Northern Tien Shan Mountains. The names of the first “Key” lakes, which reveal the countless secrets of the Kolsai lakes, are hidden and even clearly indicated as well. The beautiful lakes located in the ravines at the foot of the mountains are part of the Kolsai Lakes National Nature Park in Almaty region.
Kolsai lakes are like a giant mirror of the infinite blue sky. The lake system connects the Upper, Middle and Lower Kolsai lakes. Each of them has its own mystery, indescribable, indescribable beauty. In order to show all this beauty, various hiking, horseback tours and walks to the lakes are often organized.
But Kaindy Lake differs from others in its amazing history of origin. It was formed at the beginning of the 20th century. A tectonic collapse occurred in the Kaindy gorge, and a beautiful lake with a flooded coniferous forest inside was formed in the place of a small river. Under a certain light, the water surface acquires a very beautiful emerald hue. The water temperature here is sub-zero, so you can see the mysterious underwater world only in a special diving suit.
The word “Kaindy” in translation from Kazakh means “Birch” or “Overgrown with birches”. But there are no birches around the lake: its shores are covered with a dense spruce forest. Where does this name come from? The fact is that a little downstream of the river is the largest birch grove in the entire Tien Shan, that gave the name to the gorge, the river and the formed lake.
Paradise under heaven, Taban-Karagay plateau
Taban-Karagay plateau is often called a paradise under the sky. Although located in the very center of Almaty region, it is a place that is not fully explored for tourists and is not easy to reach. However, there is a gift of this place for the persistent photographers who managed to get here. The landscapes of all Kazakhstan are intertwined in the landscapes here!
There are interesting rocks, majestic mountains and fields covered with various flowers and plants. Herds of horses, herds of cows, and flocks of sheep graze under the cloudy sky.
An amazing Taban-Karagay plateau is hidden in the remote mountains of the Ile-Alatau National Park, so tourists rarely step here. Every spring there is a rut of elks, and the streams and spicy meadows are around the mountain as well.
If you watched a science-fiction movie “Lord of the Rings”, it seems like the magic is created by the costumes and the plot. But as soon as you find yourself in a place like Taban-Karagay, you immediately realize that the plot and characters are not important at all, only the magic of nature is significant. The sky is so close that it seems as if you are at the very top of a magical sky of the world.
Shakpak-ata is an underground mosque in Mangystau region
Shakpak-ata is a unique architectural monument, that is located in the north-eastern part of the Tyub-Karagan peninsula in Mangistau region, in the Shilikuduk tract. A mosque was carved into the thickness of a rocky promontory formed by the channels of two ravines, descending along the slope of Ungazy mountain to one of the bays of the Caspian Sea. People come here from all over the country: some for the tourism purposes, and others to pray or be healed.
According to the local legends, a healer Shakpak-ata had lived in a cave on the mountainside long ago. People from all the surrounding territories came to him for the healing of soul and body. The centuries have passed, the elder is gone, but people still come to the cave, so that the power of the ancient healer would help them. In accordance with another legend, a great warrior lived in the cave. He was named “Shakpak-ata” (An Old Man-Flint), since he did not even lose his mighty strength in old age.
An interior of the Shakpak-ata mosque in Mangistau region is striking in its purest whiteness, because its premises were cut out in the thickness of the chalk rock. Due to this, when you enter this place, you immediately feel a special atmosphere of the ancient shrine. The structure of the temple consists of several unique halls connected by aisles. There is a spiral stone staircase leading to the pavilion located on the flat cliff section. Other than this, there are picturesque drawings of different eras on the walls, and the central part and vaults are decorated with epigraphy of Arabic script.
Turkestan and the ancient settlement Otyrar
This is one of the oldest cities in Kazakhstan, once the capital of the Kazakh Khanate was located here. And even earlier, the poet and philosopher Khoja Ahmed Yasawi had lived here as well. His mausoleum is rightfully considered as the main attraction of the city, that is regularly visited by pilgrims. Many people consider his visit to be the second most important after Mecca.
A mausoleum of the legendary Saint Arystan Bab is located 60 kilometers from Turkestan, not far from Otyrar`s settlement. Many tourists stay in the mausoleum of Arystan Bab for the night in order to make a wish, and they are alone with the Almighty … And only after that they go to Turkestan to the mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi.
An ancient settlement of Otyrar is located in the south of Kazakhstan, not far from Talapty village, 57 km from Turkestan city. Otyrar was once one of the main points of the Great Silk Road, and today it is only a grandiose ruin that keep many historical facts and mysteries. An archaeological research continues here until day.
An image of Kazakhstan in the ancient times is associated with the faces of harsh nomads wandering across the endless expanses, with countless herds of horses grazing on the slopes of the mountains, and yurts in the middle of the steppe.
Uralsk is a city on the border of Europe and Asia
The guides assure that the first railway in Kazakhstan and trains (Ryazan-Uralskaya railway, 1894), the first pharmacies, hospitals, schools, libraries and printing houses had appeared in Uralsk. Many buildings in the city, such as the first cinema, a pharmacy and gymnasium, built in the 19th century, are still being used for their intended purpose. The look of Uralsk is unique and unrepeatable for its historical monuments of the 18-19th centuries, such as the house of Evgeniy Pugachev, the Old Cathedral, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.
The names of many famous figures of culture and art are associated with Uralsk. The childhood years of the fabulist Ivan Krylov had been here. This is the only Kazakh city visited by the genius Russian poet Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin. He had stayed here for only three days, but the ideas for the poems “The Captain's Daughter” and “The History of Pugachev`s Revolt” were born as a result of the trip. There is a museum in Uralsk, dedicated to the memory of a short visit of Pushkin. A famous Kazakh musician Kurmangazy had performed in Uralsk.
Ustyurt plateau and Bozzhira tract in Mangistau region
The Bozzhira tract is a side part of the Ustyurt plateau, where Mother Nature gave free rein to her imagination, creating an unearthly white landscape. The small valley of Bozzhira is surrounded by an amphitheater of natural bizarre stones on three sides - snow-white canyons, rocky castles and stone yurts. If you walk between the relict mountains of Bozzhira, you can see how they change their appearance, just like chameleons. These relics, like silent guards, look into the misty distance, guarding the peace of the majestic symbol of Mangystau – a giant stone yurt. The true owner of the yurt is a lonely wind, sadly singing its songs all over the steppe, dedicating them to the endless sky.
A history of the appearance of Boszhira is associated with the Tethys Ocean. According to scientists, millions of years ago, these lands were hidden under water. It is known that the ocean occupied most of the territory and disappeared completely, giving rise to the oceans and seas that exist to this day, including the Caspian Sea.
Shaitankol Lake in Central Kazakhstan
It is one of the most mysterious places in the Karkaralinsk mountain range. The lake is on the list of specially protected areas in Kazakhstan. A lake`s water is amazingly bright blue, cool in summer, completely covered with thick ice in severe winters.
The lake never decreases or increases, despite the abundant melting of snow. This place is filled with legends and beliefs. Among the huge number of stories about the mysterious Shaitankol, the folklore cherishes the legend of love of the two young people whose feelings were dissolved by the water of the Devil's Lake. The lake is surrounded by the mysteries and myths.
As the special saying goes that young lovers died near the lake in the ancient times, and their friend, having learned about this, also committed suicide. Since then, the local residents have been trying not to stay at the lake for a long time, and especially at night. Some people say they saw the strange creatures or phenomena over the lake, and others heard sounds. A mystery of the lake also lies in the fact that scientists still cannot determine its depth. A dark water goes deep down, so not everyone dares to swim in this water.
Mysterious and unexplored Bektau-Ata
It is a volcanic massif, one of the most beautiful sights of the northern Balkhash region. An unusual rock mass had appeared due to the melting of rocks during the inception of a volcano, which had never been exploded there.
An area amazes with its unusual landscape. It is actually an unborn volcano. The rock formations have been formed in the form of the cake. Many stones and rocks have a bizarre shape. Being there, you feel an unearthly reality. Probably, the planet Mars looks like this. According to the legend, you cannot climb the mountain. It is especially picturesque there after the rain, when small depressions are filled with water and create a unique landscape.
There is a legend about Saint Atabek in connection with the name of the mountain: this saint lived in the century when the Kazakhs fought with the Dzungars. One day he ran away from the enemy and hid in the largest cave in the mountain, where God had opened a stone spring for the old man.
There is a sacred cave at the foot of the mountain. According to the legend, an old man Bek, who had the gift of healing, lived long time ago. An aul was attacked by an enemy, and the inhabitants fled once. A mighty river stood in the way of the people, and there was no other way. Then the elder stopped the flow of the river with a wave of his hand, and the people safely crossed to the other side. A river continued its course, and the enemy could no longer reach the surviving people.