In the East of Kazakhstan, there is an amazing place that borders Russia and China. Katon-Karagay is a village near which the eponymous nature Park, the largest in Kazakhstan, is located. On its territory you could fit three of the Principality of Monaco. Tengritravel will tell you about what you can see in the vast expanses of the national Park.kz together with Aviata.kz.
Katon-Karagay state national nature Park was established in 2001 and is located in the East Kazakhstan region. In 2014, it was included in the list of UNESCO’s specially protected heritage, because the Great silk road once passed here.
Forests cover 34 percent of the territory and are mainly coniferous. There is a rich species diversity of flora and fauna, some of them are listed in the Red book of Kazakhstan. For example, the same Rhodiola rosea, popularly known as the” Golden root”, on the basis of which medicines have long been made. This rare plant is widely used in medicine, for example, a decoction of Golden root, helps in the treatment of oxygen starvation.
And one of the symbols of Kazakhstan stands out from the animal world – the snow leopard, whose population is catastrophically small all over the world. Only 130-150 snow leopards currently live in Kazakhstan.
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And Katon-Karagay district is the only place in Kazakhstan where they grow marals and get valuable medicinal raw materials-antlers, which are valued on the world market because of the high content of biologically active substances.
What can you see here?
The Austrian road is the most diverse route with a length of one and a half hundred kilometers.
Австрийская дорога. Фото @tvoi_vko.kz
The road begins in the desert-steppe part of the village of Terekty and leads North through the Marble pass (composed of white and gray marble limestone), which offers a panoramic view of the grandiose dunes of the Kyzyl Kum Sands on the Chinese side.
Along the way, you will pass by the unique lake Markakol, where there are valuable species of fish – grayling and endemic Markakol uskuch. Its name consists of the Kazakh words “Marka” – “spring lamb grown by autumn”, which makes the perfect meat for beshbarmak, and “Kol” – “lake”. According to one of the legends, a local Bai arranged a competition among the dzhigits for the hand of his daughter. They had to go around the lake while the young lamb meat was cooking. The winner was a poor shepherd, who won the girl’s heart.
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Further through the picturesque gorge and valley of the mountain river Kara-Kaba, where marals, deer and elk are found, and finally, you will climb to the height of 2098 meters to the Burhat pass, where you can see the Katunsky ridge and the valley of the Bukhtarma river. And if the weather is good, you can also see Belukha mountain.
“This place helps you slowly savor life”
Interesting fact. The Austrian road, or, as it is popularly called, “staroavstrikaika”, was built in the period 1914-1916 by Austrian (Czech) prisoners of war of the First world war, hence the name. It is not known for sure how many Austrians, Czechs and Slovaks built this road, but historians have found 30 graves in the local Austrian cemetery. They believe that the road was designed by a prisoner of war Austrian engineer who once built something similar in the Alps. And according to one version, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s great-grandfather was among the prisoners of war who built this path. However, the exact confirmation of this information has not been received.
Waterfalls and lakes
Arasan waterfall is one of the most beautiful waterfalls of cascade type, which is formed by the Arasan river, which flows from lake Rakhmanov. The water flows along the stone ledges and falls into the deep bereli gorge. Especially impressive is the upper stage of the cascade, it is the longest and highest. Below, at the very bottom, the water falls into a wide stone pool and falls down in a second small cascade of the Padun type from a height of six meters. The cascade ends with a deep pit that has been worked out by water for many years.
Interesting fact. The waterfall is divided in the middle by a small rock, and it gives Arasan the appearance of a mustache.
Therefore, tourists gave the waterfall the name “Batyr’s Mustache”. The Arasan river valley is located six kilometers below the resort village of Rakhmanovskie Klyuchi (about it below).
Водопад Арасан. Фото @tvoi_vko.kz
Kokkol waterfall is the largest waterfall in the Altai, which is formed by a mountain river that flows from the lake of the same name and flows into the Belaya Berel river, where the riverbed of the Kokkol river comes to a sharp ledge of about 80 meters high and a steepness of 60-70 degrees. Imagine the sound of a ten-meter-wide stream of water crashing down.
Because of the fall of water from a great height, the smallest water dust is formed, which ionizes the air in the valley. And on Sunny days, you can see a rainbow.
Kokkol waterfall is located 23 kilometers northeast of the resort village of Rakhmanovskie Klyuchi.
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Yazovaya waterfall is a very small waterfall of cascading type, which is formed by the Yazovaya river, a right tributary of the Belaya Berel. Along the riverbed, small ledges follow one another, forming waterfalls, rapids and waterfall drains. In total, there are about a dozen cascades. It is located two kilometers South of the lake of the same name.
Водопад Язовой. Фото Katonkaragai.kz
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Rakhmanovsky waterfall is located in the village of rakhmanovsky Keys, it is formed by an unnamed stream that flows out on the slope of the right side of the basin of rakhmanovsky lake.
This stream flows in a deeply cut valley between two unnamed mountains with heights of 2400 and 2280 meters.
Рахмановский водопад. Фото Katonkaragai.kz
Lake Rakhmanovskoe is located in a narrow U-shaped valley at an altitude of 1760 meters above sea level. The length of the coastline is 5.6 kilometers, and the volume of water mass is 20 million cubic meters. Interestingly, the lake is flowing, so the water in it is transparent. However, you can’t really swim – the temperature on the surface of the lake is about 16 degrees, and at the bottom it drops to 4 degrees.
Озеро Рахмановское. Фото Katonkaragai.kz
Yazevoye lake (Karakol) is located on the way to Belukha mountain. The relatively small lake is surrounded by coniferous forest. Fishing is very popular here, as it is the only lake in the region where yazis are found. Hence the name. You can catch “dream fish” both on corn and on bread crumb.
Hot springs. According to one of the legends, the hunter Rahman in 1763, chasing a blood-stained trail of a wounded maral, found it standing at a spring in clouds of steam. After killing the animal, old Rahman found that the wound on the leg of the deer did not bleed and was already half covered with a healthy film, which the hunter was very surprised. Suffering from rheumatism, he decided to try a miracle remedy, and after two weeks of bathing in them, he felt healthy.
Actually, mineral springs that have a favorable effect are very popular. Thermal treatment of various diseases of the movement organs, spine and skin. Mineral springs are located in the basin of rakhmanovsky lake, on its North-Eastern shore. The temperature of the springs ranges from 39 to 400 degrees Celsius.
Beshbarmak with game, remnants of the ancient sea and secret apiaries. What attracts Altai in East Kazakhstan region
Belukha mountain is the highest peak of the Altai and Siberia – 4506 meters in height. It is located in the North of the national Park, on the border of Kazakhstan and Russia. This name was given to the mountain due to the fact that the slopes of its two-headed top are covered with eternal snow and glaciers.
Interesting fact. The first Explorer to see the highest point of the Altai was the doctor of medical Sciences, geographer and researcher Friedrich Gebler. The largest glacier on the southern slope of the mountain is named after him.
The mountain consists of two peaks in the form of irregular pyramids. The Western peak is 4435 meters high, and the Eastern peak is 4509 meters high. The hollow between the peaks is called “Beluga Saddle”, its height is 4000 meters. The Belaya Berel and Katun rivers originate from the Belukha glaciers.
What was my delight when, climbing the Old Austrian road, we saw the Beluga in all its glory. At sunset, it looked incredible! Having already enjoyed it, I was surprised that it did not immediately occur to me that it was visible from the Burhat pass, because its height is more than 2100 meters! Apparently, at the time I thought that Belukha was too far from the pass, but it turned out-just right! Alenka (fellow traveler. – Primas’. editors) wonders why we made such hooks just to look at the Beluga from afar, but it beckons me. I don’t know why, but I really wanted to see it from both sides,” – so colorfully describes his emotions traveler Denis Isaev.
Some believe that this is where the mythical country of Shambhala is located. Other scholars believe that this is where the great Gautama Buddha went to India. According to other beliefs, there are also many legends.
Altai and shamanism – as synonyms, are inextricably linked spiritually. Therefore, there are many myths and sacred legends around these places.
According to one of them, Umai – the patroness of children and women in labor, the second deity after Tengri among the Turkic and Mongol peoples, lived on Belukha mountain. Altai has long been considered a sacred mountain Belukha. At least, based on the Altaic version of the name of the mountain – Uch-Sumer (from Altaic – “three-Headed sacred mountain”). By the way, it is called three-headed for a reason. The fact is that, in addition to the two peaks, a third rises slightly to the side – Delaunay peak with a height of 4260 meters. This is how it appears from the Ukok plateau, where there was an important caravan route from Mongolia to the territory of modern Kazakhstan, connecting the peoples of the three main world religions – Buddhism, Islam and Christianity.
what to do here?
Treatment with velvet antler. On the territory of the national Park there are several pantaleoni willing to provide antlers procedure.
There are 14 Hiking routes to choose from, from Hiking to horse riding and Cycling.
By the way, a hotel room for one person per day will cost 3291 tenge. On the official website of the Katon-Karagay national Park, you can find all the rates for services.
How to get to the national Park?
The village of Katon-Karagay, where the national Park begins, can be reached by car. On the road in the South-East direction from Ust-Kamenogorsk.
Or you can use regular buses. From Ust-Kamenogorsk they go daily at 08.30 and 11.00 in the morning.
Keep in mind that all visitors to the national Park must obtain a pass to the border zone. For foreigners and stateless persons of the Republic of Kazakhstan, additional registration of a pass is required at the Department of internal Affairs of the East Kazakhstan region.
“865 kilometers by plane, 685 kilometers by train, 1100 kilometers by car, 100 kilometers on foot, 25 kilometers on horseback, 10 kilometers by ferry. Why did I come all this way? To see the virgin beauty of the Altai mountains, get a charge of cheerfulness and health in the “navel of the Earth”, energetically connected with the Cosmos (so called Beluga because it is equidistant from the three oceans – Pacific, Atlantic and Indian), see with your own eyes one of the largest waterfalls in Kazakhstan (80 meters high and 10 meters wide), experience the energy of the legendary stone (esotericists claim that this is where the entrance to Shambala, a mysterious parallel world, aka Belovodye), experience the wild nature without communication and without civilization, clear your brain of “unnecessary files”, swim in mountain water, find inner peace and harmony away from the city bustle. This is not the whole list of what you can and should do this way and visit the beauty of Belukha,” one of the travelers summed up her stay in the Katon – Karagay national Park.
Where to stay?
When visiting the territory of the Katon-Karagay national Park, visitors can stay both in guest houses of the national Park, and in private hotels, as well as in guest houses of local residents of the villages of Uryl and Kaindy.
We hope that the coronavirus pandemic will soon end and the borders for travel will be reopened.
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