Eastern Kazakhstan is located on the joint borders of China, Mongolia and Russia. Mountain systems of Rudnyi and Southern Altai, Kalby, Saur-Tarbagatai take major part of the territory. Elevation is from 800 to 1,500, 3,000 to 4,000 in the far eastern part of Altai (“Belukha” mountain is 4,506 meters high).
Major rivers are Irtysh and its major tributaries: Uba, Ulba, Bukhtarma. Largest lakes are Markakol, Zaisan, Rakhmanovskoye Lake, Sassykkol, Alakol, Maralye.
Climate is sharply continental with wide daily and annual fluctuations of air temperature.
Mountains of Eastern Kazakhstan
Belukha mountain with its snowy peak (height is 4,506 meters) is the highest mountain in Altai and Siberia. It is the kingdom of snow, ice, thundering avalanches and sparkling waterfalls.
Berkutaul (Home of an eagle) is the neighboring mountain, which is 3,373 meters high. It is the second most popular peak of Southern Altai after Belukha Mountain.
Animal world is rich and diverse. Broun bears, elk, foxes, lynx, Siberian stags, wolverine, sable, ermine, rare red wolf, falcon, grouse, black Stork, herring gull, and many other animals can be found in the woods.
Scenic rocky ledges of mountains are covered mainly with greenwoods, less with fir forests. Subalpine meadows are rich in flowers, rare medicinal plants (golden and maral root, Hedysarum scoparium, Bergenia crassifolia and others).
Markakol Lake, which lies in a cavity, is called a pearl of Markakol reserve. It is 38 kilometers long, 19 kilometers wide and 27 meters deep. It is fed with 27 rivers and streams, but only Kalzhir river flows from the lake. Water in Markakol is fresh and very soft; its main wealth is uskuch fish (Brachymystax lenok) from salmon family.
Rakhmanov natural sources
Underground rivers of these places contain curative radon, decay product of radioactive elements, which contains in very rare granite minerals.
Thermal waters are used for treatment of joint diseases, spine, nervous system and skin.
Alakol (“motley lake”) is located in the northeastern part of Dzhungarian Alatau, and is rich in mud and mineral salts. Water in the lake is very clean and clear; it is turquoise in clear morning or sky-blue at the end of day. Swimming season lasts for 4 months. There are flocks of flamingos walking around on the Birds Island; more than 40 species of birds inhabit the lake: relict gulls, pelican, bustard and others. Unique wealth of Alakol Lake is under state protection.
Kiin-Kerish (Proud Beauty) is a natural eolian city, which is also named as “City of Spirits”. Setup from tertiary clay, it is an incredibly beautiful and unusual place with unique red, white and orange structures. The main feature of Kiin-Kerish are small layers of clay and sand with imprints of vegetation (palms, magnolia, araucaria, ginkgo and other) from distant tropical past of these places; and also remains of fossil vertebrates (rhinos, crocodiles, turtles and salamanders).
The emerald Bukhtarma Lake is famous with its scenic views, and it is also rich in fish. A lot of lakes and springs flow into the lake, forming beautiful waterfalls here and there; but only Shandage-Bulak River flow from the lake.
Kozy-Korpesh and Bayan-Sulu mausoleum
Mazar of Kozy-Korpesh and Bayan-Sulu (X-XI cc), located on the coast of Ayaguz river, is one of the most interesting historical monuments; it is a symbol of eternal love between young girl and young boy, Kazakh Romeo and Juliet.
Cities of Eastern Kazakhstan
Ust-Kamenogorsk, Semipalatinsk, Taldy-Korgan.