Ishim River, Astana, (AH7/AH64)
Kazakhstan's capital was a tiny mining town until the 1950s, when plans
were announced to turn 250,000 sq kilometres of Kazakhstan steppe into
wheat and cotton fields. The capital was shifted from Almaty to Astana
in 1997 due to its more central and less earthquake-prone location and
better rail links with the Russian Federation.
Almaty (AH5/AH60) Exposure
to the outside world has turned Almaty into Central Asia's most cosmopolitan
city with shops, hotels, parks and greenery. The Zailijski Alatau Mountains
rise like a wall along Almaty's southern fringe. In 1854 Almaty acted
as a frontier fort at the border of the Russian Empire.
Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, Turkestan,
(AH61) The Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, in the town
of Yasi, now Turkestan, was built at the time of Timur (Tamerlane), from
1389 to 1405. Persian master builders experimented with architectural
and structural solutions which were later used in the construction of
Samarkand, the capital of the Timurid Empire. Today, it is one of the
largest and best-preserved constructions of the Timurid period.
Köl-Say Lakes (AH5)
These three lakes lie amid the steep forested foothills of the Küngey
Alatau, 110 kilometres east of Almaty. They are strung along the Köl-Say
River at an altitude of around 2000 metres and offer excellent sites for
camping and trout fishing, especially in June and August. Travellers can
arrange helicopter excursions to the lakes from Almaty or reach them overland
from Saty. The lower lake is accessible by vehicle and horse-ride.