The Mountains of Kazakhstan
The mountains of Kazakhstan are a favorite place for rest of the tourists of all over the world. Besides the natural landscapes and rare flora and fauna, the Kazakh Mountains are famous for their alpine spas and sanatoriums as well as for alpinist’s camps with all conditions necessary for extreme rest.
The Kazakh mountains are divided into Alpine and low regions. The low regions include so-called “yellow steppe” or otherwise Sary-Arka which situated in the centre of Kazakhstan. The length of Sary-Arka is 1200 km, its highest point reaches 1565 m. In spite of the fact that Sary-Arka is a steppe there are a good few of mountain peaks. The highest of them are considered Aksorgan (1565m) and Karkarala mountains (1403m). There are small blue lakes with clean water scattered among the yellow sands and mountains of Sary-Arka. The mountain regions of Sary-Arka are often called “small Switzerland”. Since the natural landscapes surprisingly resemble those of Swiss.
In addition, the low regions of Kazakhstan comprise the Mugodjary chine located in the South of the Urals. At the Caspian Sea, there are the Mangystau Mountains with the Karagiye depression at the south, the lowest point of Kazakhstan.
A vast territory of Kazakhstan borders on many regions of Central Asia, that is why it is quite natural that Kazakhstan has one of the world largest highlands Altai and Tien-Shan surrounding it in the south-west and north-west.
There is the Altai, or more exactly a south-western part of the Altai-Sayan uplands in the north-east of Kazakhstan. The Kazakh part of the Altai-Sayan uplands comprises the South Altai, Western Altai and Kalbi range. In the territory of the Southern Altai at the height of 1449m between the Azutau and Sarytau ranges there is the Markakol bolson with a beautiful homonymous lake in its territory. There you can meet such rare bird species as a hazel hen and snow grouse. There is the highest mountain peak of the Altai - the Belukha mountain – a symbol of Altai on the border of Kazakhstan and Russia. This mountain is considered holy in different cultures. The Buddhists, for example, believe that the legendary Shambala is found there. In addition, this is one of the peaks most often visited by tourists.
The Western Altai features with large deposits of minerals: copper, zinc, lead, silver, gold, etc. That is why the Western Altai more often is called Mining One.
The Kalbi range, a continuation of the Altai Mountains connects them with Sary-Arka in the West. The highest point of the Kalbi range is Sary-Shoke (1600m).
Another large upland of the Kazakh mountains is Dzhungaria Alatau. The longest Jungar Alatau mountain chain is Severnaya, its ranges reach 4560m. The range peaks are covered with perpetual snow and glaciers with length up to 8km at times. Rare animal species: an argali, mountain goats and beautiful Central Asian gazelles - Persian gazelle live in the West of the Jungar Alatau in its glen and piedmont valleys.
The Jundar Alatau is famous not only for its nature and landscapes but also for its history. Up to now, ancient graves and petroglyphic drawings left by Central Asian nomads more than 2000 years ago may be found there.
The Country of Waterfalls or the Turgen Gorge is one of the most beautiful places in Kazakhstan. There are a lot of hot sources, waterfalls, springs and lakes with the cleanest and healthy water there. Alpine and Alpestrine meadows cover the gorge slopes and the Assy river is flowing in its depth. In addition, in the gorge valley, there are Saks graves hiding the ancient secrets of nomads.
There are the Tien-Shan Mountains in the south-east of Kazakhstan. Their Kazakh part consists of northern, western and central Tien-Shan. Its territory is a habitat of rare animal species entered in the Red Book: a snow leopard and Tein-Shan bear. One of the most inclement mountain peaks of the world Khan-Tengri with height about 7,000m is located in the territory of the Central Tien-Shan. The mount to Khan-Tengri is a dream of any alpinists.