10 Best Places to Visit in Kazakhstan

Martina Rosado
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Tamgaly Petroglyphs

Tamgaly petroglyphs are located in one of the most remote villages of Kazakhstan, namely Tamgaly village in the Taldy-Kurgan region of Karaganda district. The petroglyphs are found at 6 km from the village.

Tamgaly Carpet, petroglyphs are carved on the boulders hilly area, Tamgaly nature, and raised above the waters of a pond.

The discovery of the Tamgaly petroglyphs was made in the years of 1951 and 1957, which is according to some sources, local inhabitants of the village knew about the existence of similar drawings earlier. On November 7, 2007, the Director of the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography of the Karaganda region, Anna Ivanova, announced her plan to save the petroglyphs.

In 2007, the site had a project status of “vulnerable”. Information on the need to better protect the Tamgaly petroglyphs was published on the official website of the Ministry of Culture of Kazakhstan. We would like to note that major problems are caused by erosion of the stones that carry the petroglyphs carved images. "Such erosion stones need to be re-carved in a special way, which will protect them from the water and protect the inscriptions from the primary erosion".

Aral

Arvat (aka the Aral Sea) is a lake that split into different words last year. A part of it is still called the Aral Sea and is located in the Caspian Sea. However, in the recent years, lots of sand was blown away and a new lake was formed, the Zaysan.

It's not very big and it's mainly inhabited by Caspian seals, not a lot of water dwellers are left. However, it is an interesting place to visit and it's really easy to get there.

A funny tale from this place is that, for whom ever visits it, it is recommended not to drink vodka from Azerbaijan. This is because the vodka here is not from the area but made in the area and therefore doesn't taste the same as vodka from Azerbaijan. This is, however, only anecdotal and doesn't have a scientific explanation.

Aral Sea (or Aral Sea) is another interesting lake of Central Asia. It's larger brother in the south is the Caspian Sea and the two of them used to be one single body of water a few centuries ago.

However, in the middle of the 20th century, the se is evaporated due to it's polluted waters. It's still an interesting place to visit and you may see lots of water birds there.

Charyn Canyon

Translated from Kazakh, Charyn means ‘blue‘ or ‘bluish,‘ which is what attracts visitors to discover the beauty of this canyon. The name Charyn Canyon comes from Azeri, a Turkish language originating from Anatolia which was transformed into the local Kazakh language. Since the time of the Mongolian empire, the valley of Charyn was famous for its blue lakes.

Despite the name, the canyon does not have a blue color, it is more of a deep green. What makes the canyon blue is the stunning waterfall, precipitous rocky cliffs and water cascading through them, creating two turquoise rivers of exquisite beauty. The gorge of Charyn Canyon is located under the southern slopes of the Bazman Mountain and is a truly stunning place thanks to its deep and narrow chasm, which extends for about 10 kilometers.

Overall, Charyn Canyon is a highly scenic area with natural beauty. This place not only attracts tourists and nature lovers, but also scientists who are looking for new species and conduct research in this area.

The best season for visiting the canyon is June, July, and August, when the temperature softens and there are more visitors. Meanwhile, the month of May is considered to be the best season for photography as well as wildlife spotting.

Turkestan

Turkecstan Nature Reserve project was founded on the territory of a collective farm, KZ-3, which occupied about 1.2 km2.

The natural landscape of Turkestan Reserve is very diverse. You can observe unique forms of endemic plants, animals, and landscapes in the reserve.

During the years of development of the national reserve, two scientific expeditions have explored its territory, where are many rare plant, animal, and geological species of the Caucasus, such as wild vine (pipevine), honeysuckle, etc.

Owing to the terrain and climate, the reserve is home to rare specie of medicinal plants, such as the wolf's bane and broomrape.

Turkecstan Reserve is one of the few natural reserves of the country, where you can observe the remains of the ancient Turkestan civilization and the early Kildyka culture.

From the Central Kurgans cemetery, near the village of Aornozhaya, archeologists have found the head of an prince.

From the fifth to the tenth centuries the same cultural material was accumulated and preserved here.

At present, in the area of the reserve are two ancient burial grounds, where archeologists have found the remains of the Turkestan civilization, containing ancient ceramics, metal objects, and weapons.

Baikonur Cosmodrome

ПфВЇĂ‌Over 20 years ago, a communication satellite was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, located in the south of Kazakhstan. To this day this launch is considered as one of the most important technological events in the history of humankind.

Originally developed under the USSR, the cosmodrome that the rocket was launched from was not only open to Soviet citizens, but also to cosmonauts from any country. In total, the cosmodrome was used eight times by the USSR, and also another 16 times by the Russian Federation.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union due to the transition from communism, the future of the site was quite uncertain. However, a five-year contract was signed with the Russian state space corporation Energia company. In 1995 the Baikonur Space Center was developed and placed under the control of Roscosmos – Russian federal space agency.

Nowadays, it’s the only cosmodrome used by the Russian state authority. Its importance today is similar to that of the United States’ Kennedy Space Center.

Karkaraly National Park

The national park, situated in the Karkaralinsk desert, covers about 12,200 square kilometers and is surrounded by a number of mountains on its eastern side such as, Hay-Ata, Megerdag and Uurgen.

It is the youngest member of the Golden Mountains World Heritage Site, along with the Talas-Galousti and Almaty National Parks. The Karkaralinsk Reserve is a protected area that covers around 302,700 hectares.

A number of rare plants, such as salsolioid shrubs, can be found in the park. The most common plants include gazani, palladion and karkaria.

The lake is more than 31 meters (104 feet) below sea level, making the water form a curtain around the mountain.

A special island called "Bansalay" is located on the lake. If you look through the island, you will be able to see the Hay-Ata mountains, which are called "the Emerald Mountains" due to their lovely surface.

Also, the lake has a number of caves that can be visited. The first of these caves is believed to be from the Bronze Age. Located at the western end of the lake is a small island called "Nur-Bansalay." The most interesting thing about the island is that it is believed to be inhabited by wolves.

Kolsai Lake

This rarest ecological system of freshwater and saltwater in the world is found in the Kolsai Lake, which is located in the south of Kazakhstan. It is an ideal shelter for rare Siberian cranes, geese, as well as other different birds, all of which are protected from dangers by the sand berm surround the shore of the lake, which is very shallow.

The Kolsai Lake has an average depth of 1.60 meters, and its volume is 133.00 hectares. It is a nesting ground for many rare bird species, such as Adalbert’s & Great White-fronted Geese, Branta leucopsis & Brant, and Grus grus, among others.

It also was the base for the “First Kazakh-Polish International Nature Protection Contention” which will be held in Kolsai Lake from September 11 to the 17.

Besides, you can enjoy local nature and beauty here. You can take a hiking tour on the hills surrounding the lake, enjoying the spectacular view of landscape. Overnight in the nature area will mean great fun and new impressions.

Astana

Nowadays, Astana is a beautiful city of about 1 million people being home to the president. The city is a modern multicultural metropolis, a blend of old and new ideologies of urban planning.

Situated on a river, the Almaty, Astana is the capital of Kazakhstan and the home to some of the most renowned destinations of visitors.

The city is known as a beautiful and accommodating city for all family with lots of entertainment places.

The City

Astana is a new city that was built from scratch in the seventies. The whole city is composed of buildings of different styles that combine with one another to create a harmonic city that is a great attraction for tourists around the world.

There are parks, monuments, museums, and shopping markets found in the city. The Charles University is one of the most visited and appreciated landmarks of the city. There is also a performing arts center which holds regular cultural programs and concerts.

You'll love how the parks give you the possibility to get away from the noise and stress of the big city.

Not only is city beautiful with its architectural solutions, but the city is home to artistic works like those in the "Kazakh Fine Arts studio".

Astana is a fast growing metropolis that takes care of its citizens with its educational system.

In Astana, you will find the best theaters, museums, and plenty of entertainment.

Aksu-Zhabagly

The Aksu-Zhabagly National Park is situated in the Almaty region on the left side of the Almaty river valley. The national park is known for its unique mountain ecosystem and glacier.

The national park consists of four different parts and is divided by the Dam burst of the river in the mid-90s. The Aksu-Zhabagly National Park includes the northern part, the central part, the Dam burst part and the southern part. The most spectacular sights are the lakes of the two peaks of the western part – Gora Aksu and Gora Zhabagly.

The Aksu-Zhabagly National Park is a high altitude park with a lowland. The central part of the park is made up of steep granite rocks dotted with lakes. The northern part is a heavily forested block and is located at a higher altitude.

The central part is the largest and it extends from the north to the south. In this part there are three lakes – Gora Aksu, Gora Khasan and Gora Zhabagly.

The northern part of the park is located at a high altitude and receives rain-fed runoff from the mountains. It includes the Gora Khasan lake.

The beautiful views of the lake were inspired by the works of Alexander Pushkin.

Almaty

Almaty is definitely one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It is also the largest city in Kazakhstan with a population of well over half a million people.

This city has more than 240 so-called man-made lakes that were built to have a water skiing and water aerobics facility. These lakes are not fully enclosed, so they are free to be used by the residents.

Almaty is also known as the “bread basket” of Kazakhstan because even though the land there is considered cold, it is always covered with snow during the winter. The southern part of this city has been referred to as “the green spot” because of the green trees in the area.

There are so many things to do and places to visit in Almaty. If you’re going to visit, make sure that you stop by the Lenin Mausoleum, which was commissioned by the Soviet Union. This looks like an exact replica of the Kremlin.

Some other places that you should check out in Almaty include: a tour of the State Historical Museum, taking a trip to Juma Mosque and the Zhanybek Aquaterra, a trip to Altai Mosque, and visiting the Kuriinzhai (The Old Town) market.

Map of the best places in Kazakhstan

This is a list of the best places to visit in Kazakhstan.

Astana

Capital City of Kazakhstan; with the world's largest covered swimming pool.

Almaty

The second largest city in Kazakhstan; named after the Turkic word for "peace".

Shymkent

Capital of South Kazakhstan region. Astana is the largest city and commercial centre of Kazakhstan, while Almaty is the largest city and main cultural and economic centre.

Zhanaozen

Town in the Zhanaozen County, in the centre of the country, lying at the tip of the Kuryk Depression (a dry interior region).

Aktau

The third largest city and capital of South Kazakhstan region.

Dostyk

City and seat of Dostyk Region.

Vostok Station

Located in Northern Kazakhstan, about 4 km from the Chinese border.

Koktebel

Beautiful resort and spa-town, with various beaches including Ai-Petri and Anapa.

Jalal-Abad

The largest city in Kazakhstan in the northeastern part of the country.