In 12 days the expedition members got acquainted with the region, starting with one of the oldest reserves in Central Asia — Aksu-Zhabagly. The total area of the reserve is 131,934 hectares. Here there are rare species of animals and more than 170 vegetation types.
In the territory of the Aksu-Zhabagly reserve, various excursions are conducted: ecological excursions for nature lovers, children's routes for schoolchildren. One of the places visited in the reserve is the Aksu Canyon, which in ancient times was a parking lot, as evidenced by the rock paintings. The depth of the canyon is about 1,800 metres.
In Sairam-Ugam State National Nature Park, located in the north-eastern part of the western Tien Shan, participants of the route stopped at the lake Sairamsu, which is at an altitude of 2,350 m. This lake is of glacial origin: the water is cold, as the lake is replenished from underground springs.
In addition, the participants of the route saw the ruins of another city on the Great Silk Road — Sauran. Today regional authorities are doing everything possible to make the city attractive to tourists. The development of the tourism industry, the construction of new facilities and the reconstruction of streets is envisaged in the Ancient Turkistan concept developed by the city administration.
The New Silk Road route became one of the most saturated: in the shortest possible time, travelers visited a huge number of places: Zharkent city, Horgos and Saty villages, high-altitude Kolsai lakes and the lake Kaiyndy, Charyn Nature Park, Temirlik canyons, Valley of Castles, Altyn-Emel Nature Park, Aktau mountain, Singing barkhan, Talhiz hillfort, Tanbaly site, Akyrtas archaeological complex, Karakhan mausoleums and Aisha-Bibi, etc.
Otrar is the final point in the series of the Uly Dala Eline Sayahat project. At the end of the tour the participants met with the Minister of Culture and Sports Arystanbek Mukhamediuly.
"I would like to congratulate you, dear participants of the expedition, on the completion of the major and important project for the development of domestic tourism — Uly Dala Eline Sayahat. Behind the order of three months of wandering around our native lands, where you have discovered the most amazing places of our beautiful homeland! The result showed that we really have a large number of beautiful natural and worthy historical sites. Now it is necessary to continue work on the development of domestic tourism in the regions, to show this to the younger generation, to acquaint foreign tourists with our property," said Mukhamediuly.
The Otrar mound is an archaeological monument under the open sky, under the protection of UNESCO. Among the ruins you can clearly see the ancient palace, mosques and houses, showing the scale and significance of the city. Not far from Otrar is the mausoleum of the revered Sufi Arystan-Baba. Today it is one of the most visited and popular places in the south of the country. Every day pilgrims and tourists from different countries of Kazakhstan come here. The mausoleum since 1982 is under state protection. Here in recent years, the tourist infrastructure has developed: there are hotels, places for trade, arbors, dining. Local residents provide assistance to tourists — they conduct excursions, provide accommodation, meals.
Not far from the ancient settlement is Turkestan, the history of which couts about 1,500 years. In 2018 the city became a regional center. Its main attraction for tourist flows is the mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, created by the order of Tamerlane. The mausoleum is revered as a Muslim shrine. In addition, Turkestan has many other historical buildings, mausoleums, tombs of Kazakh khans and representatives of the nobility.
It should be noted that on the way back the participants will visit the sights of Shymkent and visit the cave Akmeshit, which is located 90 km from the city. It is formed of limestone rocks, from the inside of its edge resemble a dome of the yurta.
Within the framework of the six routes of the expedition Uly Dala Eline Sayahat the participants spent several thousand kilometers on the road. In the end, photo, video, guide and new tourist routes will be collected for each of the routes.
Recall that the Uly Dala Eline Sayahat expedition is held in the framework of the celebration of the 20th anniversary of Astana. The organizer is Kazakh Tourism on the request of the Tourism Industry Committee of the Ministry of Culture and Sports. The route New Silk Road is realized by the NGO QazaqGeography. The expedition members are experienced travelers, representatives of tour operators, foreign and Kazakhstan travel bloggers, as well as the team National Geographic Russia.