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Kazakhstan has 9th the largest territory in the world (2,724,900km2), with the population of only 17 million. Major part of the country are horizonless steppes, deserts and mountains that house thousands species of animals and birds.
Kazakhstan is the largest country in the world which has no access to the World Ocean; however the territory of Kazakhstan is washed by land-locked seas: the Caspian and Aral ones. The nature of Kazakhstan is beautiful in its own way. It is severe, since the majority of the territory consists of deserts 164,000,000 ha (44%) and semi-deserts (14%). Only 26% of the territory is occupied by steppe zones and 5,5% (21,000,000 ha) by forest ones. There is Sary-Arka – a “yellow steppe” in the central part of the country and the Turgai plateau to the west from it. The territory of Kazakhstan is so vast that it occupies the Urals in the West and the Altai and Tarbagatai in the East. The Ustyurt plateau and the Caspian sea coast are located in the South-West. The eastern part of Kazakhstan reaches the northern Tien-Shan.
Almaty, Kazakhstan's largest metropolis, is set in the foothills of the Trans-Ili Alatau mountains. It served as the country's capital until 1997 and remains Kazakhstan's trading and cultural hub. Landmarks include the Central State Museum, displaying thousands of historic Kazakh artifacts. In the center is Panfilov Park, home to the bright-yellow towers of Zenkov Cathedral, a tsarist-era Russian Orthodox church.
Arrive at Almaty airport
Meeting in the airport, transfer to the hotel, resting. A sightseeing tour round Almaty, visit the Republic Square with the monument of Independence, Central Historical Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Panfilov park with its wooden Cathedral and Museum of national musical instruments. Dinner in a traditional restaurant. (B)
Drive to Eagle Hunter's family
Arrival in Almaty. Meet by our team. Load a luggage and drive 3-4hrs towards Eagle Hunter’s family. Meet Kazakh Eagle hunter and his bird. Learn some hunting and horse riding skills. Overnight in traditional Kazakh wooden house. (BLD)
Kazakh Eagle Hunting
Today we drive to the famous Charyn canyon. Camping at a glade, lunch. Evening hiking by the part of a canyon called “Valley of Castles” that is known for its unusual rock formations. The width of it ranges from 20 to 80 meters and the length is 2 kilometers. The Canyon has been described as the Grand Canyon’s little brother. This is not to detract from the sheer splendor of the canyon itself. The vista of dramatic erosion made by the river Charyn below and the elements has created a dramatic and impressive landscape. Overnight in tents, in Charyn. (B,L,D)
Explore Charyn Canyon, Lakes Kolsai and Kaindy
Say goodbye and drive is to the Charyn Canyon, which is located in the Charyn National Park about 215km east of Almaty and approximately a 4-5 hours drive. The Canyon itself is approximately 150 km long, and, in places up to 300 meters deep. One area of particular interest, is an area of 2km called the Valley of Castles, due to the pillars and rock formations forming imposing, almost manmade structures. The story of the Canyon is that it was formed about 3 million years ago as the land around the canyon started to rise. A very large lake existed in the area around the top of the canyon and it started to empty. Over the next million years the canyon was formed by the Charyn River. Approximately 2 million years ago a large earthquake disturbed the flow of the river by blocking it with a land-slip. The visitor part of the canyon then has suffered from the elements forming the rock sculptures. The Charyn River still flows at the bottom of the canyon forming the next great canyon. Afternoon drive to south-west, and come near the high mountain lakes Kaindy and Kolsai that are situated in the beautiful gorges covered by forests of the Tian Shan fir tree. The lake Kaindy was created as the result of an enormous limestone landslide, triggered by the 1911 Kebin earthquake. The track to Lake Kaindy has many scenic views to the Saty Gorge, the Chilik Valley, and the Kaindy Gorge. Dried-out trunks of submerged Picea schrenkianatrees rise above the surface. (BLD)
Drive to Almat by Turgen Gorge
Today, we drive by high mountain road and reach Assy-Turgen Observatory at Assy Plateau. The observatory is located on the Assy-Turgen plateau, 2750 meters above sea level. Assy-Turgen is the only observatory in Kazakhstan with ideal astroclimate: high transparency of the atmosphere, no light pollution and very small (average) turbulence. Assy Turgen Observatory 1-meter telescope is used for research of Herbig Ae/Be, symbiotic stars and binary systems with X-ray component. Next our stop is near Turgen waterfall. The sight of the beautiful waterfalls in the famous Turgen gorge leaves an unforgettable impression! There is a fish farm here, where they breed trout. You can catch a fish and have it fried in a local cafe. Afternoon drive to Almaty. Overnight in hotel. (BLD)