Creating a park
The appearance of the Altyn-Emel Park dates back to 1996. By organizing this reserve, the state aimed to preserve and increase rare representatives of the animal and plant world, popularize ecotourism and improve the conditions of nature use, traditional for the local population.
The uniqueness of the nature of the national park is due to its location at the point where the deserts of Turan and Dzungaria meet. The penetration of representatives of the flora and fauna of these regions into the territory of the reserve marked the beginning of the ecosystem that has developed here.
To date, the park has about 70 names of rare and unique flora in this region, 29 of which are listed in the state Red Book. The reserve boasts the most numerous populations of kulan and gazelle on the planet, as well as a wealth of varieties of birds of prey. In the national park, the horse of Przhevalsky, which disappeared in the wild nature of Kazakhstan, is brought out. This is the first attempt in the country to return the species to its natural conditions.
In addition to unique plants and animals, the national park includes famous natural monuments: "Singing Dune"; Aktau and Katutau mountain ranges, in the rock of which numerous fossils of the Mesozoic and Cenozoic era are found; mineral thermal springs with healing water.
"Altyn-Emel" is not only a nature reserve. On its territory there are historical and archaeological monuments of great scientific value. These are the Saka Necropolis of the VI-V centuries BC, the Royal mounds "Besshatyr", as well as a complex of 31 common mounds. Ancient petroglyphs and Buddhist inscriptions carved in stone have been preserved on some rocks of the national park.
There is a legend that during the conquest of Asia by Genghis Khan's troops, the great ruler, looking at the sunset-lit mountains, exclaimed: "Altyn Emel!". Translated from Mongolian, it means "golden saddle". Since then, one of the mountain ranges has been called that, and already today the entire national park. Caravans traveling along the Great Silk Road passed through the territory of the reserve. And in 1856, the great Kazakh researcher Chokan Valikhanov passed through the current national park. Now the place of his halt is called "Chokan Spring".
Attractions of the park
This natural attraction occupies an area of 240 hectares and actually represents two sand hills with peaks of 150 m and 100 m. The height of the crests of the dunes above sea level is 600 and 650 m . Especially impressive is the larger, southern dune. This is a huge mountain of pure sand, on the slopes of which there are no plants, and they themselves are so steep that it is almost impossible to climb to the top.
Dunes have grown due to the frequent powerful winds in these places. For centuries, air masses moving in an easterly and westerly direction have carried clouds of sand with them. Between the Big and Small Kalkans, the sand carried by the winds settled to the ground, eventually forming a huge hill.
When the sand settles under its own weight, as well as during a strong wind, a rumble comes from the depths of the dunes, reminiscent of the roar of jet turbines. And with light winds, the tops of the dune are enveloped by a curtain of grains of sand raised into the air, resembling smoke over a volcano.
A unique feature of the "Singing Dune" is that this mountain of sand has not changed its location for thousands of years. Although usually in places where a strong wind often blows, the dunes gradually move.
Scientists have tried many times to find out the cause of the hum. But there is still no irrefutable version. This riddle formed the basis of many folk legends, and thanks to it, after the popular vote, the "Singing Dune" became one of the wonders of Kazakhstan.