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Kolsai Lakes National Park

Kolsai Lakes National Park was established on February 7, 2007. The National Park is formed of a single array, located within the boundaries of two administrative districts of Almaty province: Raiymbek and Talgar. Its length from north to south is 23 km, from west to east - 98 km. The area of the national park is 161 045 hectares.

Kolsai Lakes National Park

At a height of 1800-3500 m above sea level the park has unique landscape with a cascade of lakes, rich flora and fauna. Some parts of wild, virgin natural environment are preserved. Most valuable are picturesque tracts of the rivers of Kolsay, Kaindy, Sata, Kurmet, which have distinctive natural colors.

In the spurs of the Kungei Alatau ridge there are unique Kolsai alpine lakes, Lake Kaiyndy, which are called the «pearl of Northern Tien-Shan», The Kolsai Lakes are most beautitul places in Kazakh nature. They are located at a height of 1800, 2250 and 2700 meters above sea level. They are distinguished by a unique watershed mountain landscape composed of three natural zones, and a variety of rare plants and animals. The Kolsay River originates in the Kungei Alatau and falls, in turn, into three lakes: Upper, Mynzholki and Lower.

The lake water is fresh, hard with high content of sodium sulfate. The lakes are very deep: the deepest part of the first lake is 80 meters, the second - about 50 meters. In some places the bottom is sloping, with no rocky edges. The triad of alpine lakes, like a thread strung with pearls, decorates the North Tien-Shan.

Lake Kaiyndy is one of mysterious places of the foothills at an altitude of 2000 m above sea level surrounded by fir-trees and mountain peaks. It emerged about 100 years ago as a result of the collapse of a huge mass at rock that blocked the canyon with a natural dam. The lake is located 12 km east of the first Kolsai Lake.

The lake is about 400 m long and about 30 m deep. On all sides, Lake Kaiyndy is surrounded by rocky hills and steep rocky cliffs going up. Above it is a rock deadlock. The rocky ridge offers stunning views of the Sata Gorge, Chilik river valley, Kaiyndy Canyon.

At a height of 1800 meters the grass cover of spruce shrub is represented by high prairie grasses. Spruce forests of the Tien-Shan Mountains occupy mostly the northern slopes, Tien-Shan fir grows up to 40-50 meters high and is 2 meters in diameter. Coniferous forest belt comes to 2700-3000 meters, gradually changing into high alpine meadows.

Typical inhabitants of the three natural zones are the bear, wolf, lynx, hare, Siberian ibex, snow leopard, wild boar, badger.

The flora is notable for biodiversity and includes more than 700 species of plants. There are 12 species listed in the Red Book of the Republic of Kazakhstan: kungey feather grass, golden Adonis, Adonis Tien-Shan, Corydalis Semenova, Erysimum Orange, hawkweed Kumbel, elfin wood form of Schrenk spruce. The main forest-forming species is the spruce Schrenk. Also juniper, several species of willows, honeysuckle, cotoneaster, spirea, poplar, aspen, birch, spruce, dwarf pine grows here.

The fauna is as rich and diverse with more than 200 species of vertebrates. It is inhabited by representatives of four species of fish, 2 species of amphibians, 197 species of birds and 29 species of mammals. Birds entered in the Red Book are blue bird, painted titmouse, golden eagle, saker falcon, Himalayan griffon. Of mammals included in the Red Book here we can see argali, Tien-Shan bear, snow leopard, Turkestan lynx, Central Asian otter.


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