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Bayanaul National Park

Qazaq Geography

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

About Park

Altyn-Emel (in Kazakh «Алтынемел» мемлекеттік ұлттық табиғи паркі) is a state national natural park in the Ili River valley on the territory of Zhetysu oblast of Kazakhstan. It occupies an area bounded on the south by the Ili River and Kapshagai reservoir, on the north by the western spurs of the Dzungarian Alatau — the Sholak, Matai Altynemel and Koyandytau mountains, on the east by the low Aktau mountains. The name of the ridge comes from the name of the main passage through it, translated from the Turkic-Mongolian Altynemel — “golden saddle” (“altyn” — gold and “emel” — saddle).

Location

Pavlodar region



51.0000″ N. 75.400″ E.

Geography

The territory of the park is located within the Kazakh hillocky area, which, having taken shape as a large mountainous country in the Upper Paleozoic, has experienced a long history of continental destruction and therefore currently has relatively low altitudes (from 400 to 1027 m above sea level). The highest point of Bayanaul (1027 m) is Akbet mountain. According to legend, the mountain was so named after the girl Akbet, who threw herself off it when she was married to an unloved one.


There are four relatively large freshwater lakes in the park — Sabyndykol, Zhasybai, Toraigyr and Birzhankol. In addition to them, there are many small lakes, some of which become much shallower during the dry season.


The largest lake is Sabyndykol (kaz. Сабындыкөл, literally — “soap lake”), on the shore of which Bayanaul village is located. The lake is named so because of its special, soft water, as if soapy to the touch. According to legend, the beautiful Bayan was washing her beautiful hair in the lake and dropped her soap into it.


The clearest and the second largest lake is Zhasybai, located in a hollow between mountain ranges. Zhasybai is one of the favorite places for tourists to swim because of the beautiful view from the beach and its clear water. According to legend, the lake was named in honor of the Kazakh batyr, Zhasybai, who died on the shore in a battle with the invaders.


Toraigyr is the third largest and the highest located above sea level. Its water is not as clear as in Zhasybai, so it is less popular for swimming, but there are a lot of fish in it, particularly, carp, which makes it a tempting place for fishermen. This lake was named after the Kazakh poet Sultanmakhmut Toraighyrov, whose childhood was spent in these parts (in the village of the same name, located near the lake and named after him, there is a poet’s museum).


Byrzhankol is the smallest of the four lakes. Its diameter is about 800 meters. On its shore there is a village of the same name, with a population of 56 people. This lake is, like Toraigyr, of interest to fishermen. It is home to carp, sazan, carp and crucian. The lake got its name from Kazakh words. Byr — one, zhan — soul, kol — lake. Translated, it means “Lake of one soul”.

Flora

The park has four types of vegetation — forest, forest-steppe, steppe and meadow.
The floral diversity of the park includes about 460 species, including Bayanaul pine and black alder. Bayanaul pine is characterized by the fact that it grows mainly on rocks, creating a bizarre combination of stone and vegetation. The diversity of vegetation in the park is particularly surprising, given that it is located among a semi-desert steppe with sparse vegetation. Along with birch, pine, alder and aspen, many shrubs grow in the park, including berry bushes — raspberries, rose rosehips, currants, hawthorn. Strawberry thickets are found in abundance in the meadows. The forest thickets abound with mushrooms. There are up to 50 species of relict plants in the park, including relict black alder and relict stone currant.

Fauna

Bayanaul is home to about 50 species of birds and 40 species of animals, among which, as having great value, one can distinguish a group of hog game, as well as argali, roe deer, badger, squirrel. A special pride of the park is argali, listed in the Red Book as a rare and endangered animal species in need of protection.

Climate

Bayanaul Mountains are located in the center of the Asian continent and therefore have a continental-type climate. The average annual temperature is 3.2°C. The average temperature in January is -13.7°C, the minimum is -17.8°C.

The average temperature in July is 14.6°C, the maximum one reaches 32.6°C. The average duration of the frost-free period is only 140 days. The annual precipitation is 340 mm with variations in some years from 190 to 494 mm. The average annual wind speed in Bayanaul is 2.9 m/sec.
Although the area is characterized by a sharply continental climate, there are no strong winds and sandstorms in Bayanaul, which are usual for steppe areas of Pavlodar oblast.

3,2 °С
-13,7 °С
340 mm
14,6 °С
2,9 m/s

Tourism

Bayanaul is one of the favorite places for tourists, mainly from nearby cities of Central and Northern Kazakhstan. There are a large number of houses and recreation areas on the territory of the park. Most of these zones, however, are provided with only primitive infrastructure and living conditions close to Spartan. In particular, there is no sewerage, there are no drinking water sources and washbasins in cottages, and in order to get into the shower, as a rule, you need to stand in line.


All this, however, does not stop tourists attracted by the beauty of the local nature, as well as individual places considered “sacred” by religious people.


There are several types of recreation available in the park, including swimming, mountain walking, rock climbing, and mountain biking. In many recreation areas there are tourist excursions, where paying a relatively small fee (about KZT500 as of 2007), you can see the main beauty sights of the park — “sacred cave”, “stone head” (Baba Yaga), “manhood” stone and others. The main place for swimming is Lake Zhasybai, as the cleanest and clearest among the other lakes. In addition, there is a picturesque view from its shores. It is on the shore of this lake that the largest number of recreation areas operate, and catamarans and rowing boats are available for rent on the beach. The recreation area near the four main lakes was created according to the project of the laureate of the State Prize of Kazakhstan, Muratbek Zhandauletov.

Beauty sights

Individual rocks and stones that have taken on bizarre shapes as a result of centuries-old processing by wind and water and sometimes resemble animals, people or even a truck descending from the mountain are of particular interest to tourists in Bayanaul. Among the most famous is the statue of Baba Yaga (in Kazakh - kempir tas). When viewed from a certain angle, it does vaguely resemble the head of a bald, toothless old woman with an insidious grin. Another equally well—known creation of the local nature is the “manhood” stone, which speaks for itself by its name. Other oddly shaped stones include a camel, mammoth and gorilla heads, a profile, a flying saucer, a dinosaur, a pigeon, a horse’s head and many others.


The Naizatas mountain, which translates from Kazakh as “stone spear” and the Peak of the Bold, as well as Akbet mountain, as the highest one, are popular among rock climbers. On the top of the Naizatas mountain there are six lakes that dry up during the dry period.


One of the local beauty sights is the Konyr-Aulie cave. According to beliefs, it is assumed that everyone who enters the cave and makes a wish by touching the wall with his/her palm, and then comes out without turning his/her head to the exit, the wish will come true. There is also a belief that the cave helps infertile parents to have a child, for which a special ritual is performed in it. Whether this is true or not, the flow of tourists to the cave on the days when it is open to the public does not stop. It is located on a fairly significant elevation and the ascent of more than a kilometer to it has to be overcome on foot. In 2020, a modern staircase with recreation areas was erected from the foot to the cave itself.

Contacts

General questions
info@q-g.kz

9 (7172) 999 336 ( 1014)

9 (705) 760 2950 (1054)

Expedition, events
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Z10G9D2 Abai avenue, Astana, Kazakhstan
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