The Zhongar-Alatau State National Park has been created in May 2010 for the purpose of preservation of the natural mountain landscapes that has special ecological, historical and esthetic value. Total National Park area is 356 022 hectares which located in borders of three administrative regions – Aksu, Sarkand and Alakol. The Park placed on a northern slope of the Zhetysu-Alatau ridge, which is stretched from the West to the East approximately on 300 km. The highest mountain is Semenov - Tian-Shangskiy peak, with height 4622 m above sea-level. 1,05% of the total park area is occupied wild natural plantings of Sievers (Sieversii) apple tree which is a genetically ancestor of all cultivars of an apple tree in the world and demands special protection to provide preservation and restoration of a unique agrobiodiversity of fruit woods.
The territory of Zhongar-Alatau NP is amazing on beauty earth corner attractive for tourists. Unique natural conditions of the territory like favorable climate and considerable esthetic appeal of a mountain landscape are supplemented with rich and various flora, first of all it is picturesque coniferous forests and significant amount of the Red Book animal species living in this region. Here, not less than 75% of plant species growing in Zhetysu Alatau, relating to 2168 plant types are presented. 76 plant species are endemics that means they grow only on the territory of Zhetysu Alatau and do not meet anywhere more in the world. There are also rare and being under threat of disappearance, included in the Red Book of Kazakhstan: 25 species of plants, including: Tian-Shang adonis, Golden adonis, Sievers apple-tree, Nedzvedsky apple-tree; 2 species of Amphibious: Central Asian (Siberian) frog, Danatin toad; 12 species of the nesting birds, including: Black stork, Eagle dwarf, Golden eagle, Baloban falcon, Sapsan falcon and Bluebird; 7 species of animals: Tian-Shang brown bear, Stone marten, Manul, Turkistan lynx, Snow leopard, Tian-Shang mountain ram and Red wolf. Here you can meet big big herds of mountain deers - Marals, and mountain goats - Teks. The climate is sharply continental but significantly changes with height in mountains. Typical mountain part climate characterizes considerable daily and seasonal temperature fluctuations, uneven distribution of rainfall within a year and moderate humidity. Rivers. The most considerable rivers are Ulken Aidusai (inflow of river of Aksu), Sarkan, Baskan and Lepsy relating to the basin of Balkhash lake; Tentek river with inflows relating to basin of Sassykkol lake; Tastau river relating to basin of Alakol lake. Water stream is rapid on the riverheads due to huge height falling in narrow canyons and quiet in foothills. Nature of river water source is mainly glacial snow types with well expressed summer maximum which corresponds to the period of intensive thawing of glaciers. Throughout rivers water is fresh and has hydrocarbonate calcic structure.
Glaciers. Zhetysu Alatau wins first place by glaciers in Southeast Kazakhstan. On northern and northeast slopes there are 627 glaciers with a total area of freezing about 555 sq.km. In total in Zhetysu Alatau is about 1000 glaciers. A freezing area concentrates on a northern slope, in basins of the rivers Ulken Aidusai (139,2 sq.km), Baskan (197,9 sq.km), several large glaciers are in the basin Lepsy. Lakes. On the river of Agynykatty two lakes – Top and Down Zhasylkol are located. Both lakes has stone blockage origin. The Down Zhasylkol lake is located at the height of 1630 m, has an area a mirror – 912 thousand sq.m, length – 1800 m, width – 400 m, depth – 89 m, is deep, east and western abrupt rocky coast. Water in the lake is cold. Top Zhasylkol lake is located at height of 2262 m, has length – 3200 m, width – 300 m, depth – 109 m, area a mirror – 924 thousand sq.m, coast is steep and water in the lake very cold.
On territory of Zhongar-Alatau NP there are several monuments of archeology: - the burial ground Uygentas, located on the right bank of Tentek river, and related to an era of early iron. The burial ground includes more than 150 barrows located on the first terrace of Tentek river and occupies a limited space of 500х1000 m. - burial grounds on Sarymsakta river valley, at northwest slopes of Karaagash ridge (era of early iron); - a burial ground on Koktobe pass (1814 m), in Zhunzhurek mountains, on both sides of the road, is consisting two barrows; - burial grounds to the South from Lepsinsk village, on middle and headwaters of Agynykatty river, numbering up to 20 constructions; - a barrow on Lepsy riverbank upper side, in the Shubaragash valley dated by an era of early iron; - a burial grounds to the East of Sarkand town, on both sides of a road to Ekiasha village. The monuments belongs to culture of ancient Zhetysu nomads; - petroglyphs in the gorge Karypcha, to the South from Inili gorge on rocks consists animals images; - petroglyphs in 7 km to the East of Sarkand, on Baskan left riverbank consists images of wild animals and ancient inscriptions; - St. Nicholas Church in Lepsinsk village, now is on restoration, the former house of the merchant Popkov; - vodka distillery and prison in Lepsinsk village; - the ancient stone "Obatas", belongs to the Turkish period, 6-8 centuries of our era; - a boundary post of Tamerlan state dated by the end of XIII – the beginning of XIV, is found and established as a nature sanctuary in Lepsinsk village. On its front part masters – masons have beaten skillfully out three rings that had considered that Tamerlan was a master of three elements – waters, earth and fire).
Nature sanctuaries: - the "stone plates" on Terekty river locates in 1 km from Topolevka village and which is a favorite spot of locals and tourists; - Aulie Tаs (Sacred stone) is the local shrine. Stone is hidden from curious eyes in the hilly district, located in 8 km from Ekiasha village. There is an ancient legend about this sacred stone according to which the deep prints of palms, which are on a stone, are a forehead, knees and a foot belong to unknown Saint pilgrim.
Please use the links below for more detailed Zongar Alatau National park tour description. Two and three days tours or weekend tours from Almaty and longer journeys for visiting the national park are offered. The Zongar Alatau National park is one of the most beautiful places of the Almaty region and it is for sure one of the most spectacular natural spots worth seeing in Kazakhstan. We wish you a nice journey and many unforgettable impressions! The article has been prepared using the information from the open sources.