The State National nature park Altyn-Yemel was created under the decision of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan from 10.04.1996. The area of it is 520 000 hectares. The State National nature park Altyn-Yemel is situated in the Ili hollow. In the north it is surrounded by mountains of Dzhungarian Alatau, in the south by the river Ili.
Singing barkhan is some kilometers from the river Ili between the mounts Bolshoy and Maly Kalkan. Its height is 120m, the length is about 3km. This sand hill consists of the smallest sand and wind gust make it sing. The sounds are similar to the sounds of organ. Sometimes the sounds are like drum strike. From the top of the Sandhill you can see river Ili, violet mounts Sagety and Boguty, behind them come Ketmen and Kungei Alatau. If the weather is dry and windy, the barkhan will sing its song that will be heard for many kilometers.
Big conic mountains Aktau (from Kazakh means White Mountains) resemble Egyptian pyramids. Cretaceous mountains are the world famous paleontological deposit of different animals and plants remains in the nature park Altyn-Yemel. The age of some animals is estimated up to 25-30 mln years. Among the finds there are remains of crocodiles, rhinoceros, tortoises, shell-fish and deer. Aktau Mountains impress with their various shapes and tints.
Katutau (Severe Mountains) are situated between river Ili and Altyn-Yemel gorge. There are volcanic mountains. In east and west parts of Katutau two paleovulcans are situated. Their eruption was powerful. Katutau Mountains are more waterless, they are notable for steep slopes and canyons. The mountains are inhabited by mount goats. The highest point of Katutau is 1720m.
Zharkent – a town in Kazakhstan is the center of Panphilov district of Almaty region. It is situated on the plane part of Dzhungarian Alatau. It was founded in 1881, when as a result of Petersburg agreement part of western land of Ili valley belonged to Russian Empire. On place of Uigurian villages a new town was founded. In 1882 the town entered the Semirechie region. Zharkent (from 1942 to 1991 Panphilov) became a town in 1882 in connection with determination of south-west boundaries of Russia Empire and setting the chief town of a district. The nowadays name was adopted in 1991 in connection with the fact that Kazakhstan has become an independent country. The town is situated in very comfortable geographical place, on the boundary with CPR, that is why there are wide opportunities for improving trade relations, developing tourism. One of the main sightseeing is the Mosque, which is built in style Chinese pagoda. It impresses for many years. In 1910 the earthquake took place in Zharkent. The mosque overcome it, though a lot of buildings were ruined.
In the 70s of the XXth century this relics of the past was taken under Government protection. In the yard of this memorial complex there is a high tree, which is of the same age with the town. People say there is a popular belief that if a person touches the tree and think of any desire, it will come true. There is one more historic monument in Zharkent –the Orthodox temple of Prophet Ilya, built by Cossacks in style of Verny temple. In 2017 the Prophet Ilya temple was 125. It is built of Tyan-Shyan fur-tree. The temple is unique because of the fact that it has orthodox holy things – relic of saint priest Vassiley Kalmykov, priest of Zharkent, and 14 Cossacks. Zharkent is famous for its uigurian cuisine.
In programme: driving off-road vehicle through steppe of National nature park Altyn-Yemel. Staying in a comfortable hotel, visiting the UNESCO heritage object – singing barkhan, Katutau Mountains, Aktau canyons. Meeting the relic Osier and bathing in hot spring. Visiting the mosque-museum and the Orthodox temple in Zharkent, meeting the traditional orient market. Open air lunch, national cuisine dishes.
A. Legend of the route by the hour:
8.30 transfer from the hotel
13.00 arrival to the State National nature park Altyn-Yemel, registration, lunch
14.00 driving to the singing barkhan
15.00 walking along the singing sand hill
17.00 driving to the hotel
19.00 checking-in, supper
9.00 driving to mountains Katutau and Aktau
10.00 walk in Katutau
11.00 driving to Aktau
12.00 walk in Aktau
15.00 lunch in Aktau
16.00 driving to the relic Tree
17.30 meeting the history of the relic Tree
19.00 returning to the hotel, supper
9.00 driving tot Zharkent
11.00 visiting mosque-museum of the XIX century
13.00 visiting fruit market, lunch on café
15.00 visiting Orthodox temple
16.00 driving to Almaty
19.00 Return to the Almaty city