Ala-Archa Nature Reserve near Bishkek
One of the most visited places in Kyrgyzstan is Ala-Archa nature reserve. It is located 30 km from Bishkek in an area of 20,000 hectares, where there is everything: mountains, rivers, pine forests growing on the slopes of the mountains. It is these forests gave the name to the reserve. "Ala-Archa" means “variegated juniper” that fully characterizes the diversity of pine and spruce forests of the reserve. Every visitor discovers an amazing world of flora and fauna of Kyrgyzstan.
The reserve is a small valley inside the gorge, its ridges are covered with eternal ice, and the slopes are the finest spruce forests. The streams flow down from the glaciers on the slopes, by flow down streams of melt water, which then are converted into Ala-Archa River.
Ala-Archa River, of a total length of 76 km, originates from the glaciers in the northern slope of the Kyrgyz Ala-Too. It has several tributaries: the Ak-Sai, Top Karagai, Teke-Terre, Tuy-Suu Adygine, Jindi-Suu. The river flows through the reserve, the green meadows and slopes, covered with fir forests.
In 1976 Ala-Archa Kyrghyz State Park was created in Ala-Archa gorge, for the preservation of endangered rare species of animals, plants and the development of tourism and mountaineering. One of the main attractions of the reserve is a unique wildlife. Here you can see the snow leopard listed in the Red Book, and high in the valley lives a rare blue bird that the Kyrghyz call "a bird of happiness." Lots of other amazing flora and fauna forms live in the reserve, where hunting is strictly forbidden.
Another unique feature of the reserve is an alpine camp, located at an altitude of 2000 m above sea level. Such famous peaks as Semenov-Tyan-Shan peak(4875 m) and Korona Peak (4860 m) are also on the territory of the reserve. Semenov-Tyan-Shan Peak is the highest point of the ridge. Alpinists from all over the world gather here to conquer the summit.