The history of Altyn-Emel is inextricably interwoven with the great names of history who visited these places in their time.

Genghis Khan

The great conqueror Genghis Khan passed through Altyn-Emel during his campaign in Central Asia in 1219. He is believed to give the name to this place ("Altyn-Emel" means "golden saddle" in Mongolian).


From the second half of the 19th century onwards, Altyn-Emel, being the part of historical area of Jetysu, or Semyrechye ("the area of seven rivers"), has attracted many explorers, geographers, botanists and zoologists.

Thanks to the entire galaxy of outstanding scientists, these lands have been duly studied and explored.

1840 - 1843

Famous scientists Schrenk, Karelin and Kirilov worked in Semirechye: many representatives of the local flora and fauna are named after them (for example, the famous Schrenk's spruce).

1840 - 1843

1849 - 1851

Vlangali, an outstanding geographer, traveled to Semirechye and Dzhungarian Alatau, collecting detailed information about the nature of the valleys of seven rivers - Ayaguz, Lepsy, Karatal, Ili, Aksu, Bien, Koksu. When describing his expedition, he was the first to mint the scientific term "Semirechye" ("Seven Rivers").

1856 - 1857

For his great scientific research, the prominent geographer Pyotr Semyonov was later awarded a second surname, Tian-Shansky, for the fundamental study of Tien Shan.

1856 - 1857

1856, 1859

Chokan Valikhanov, a great Kazakh scientist, was the head of famous Russian expedition to Kashgaria. During his short lifetime he managed to collect a lot of important ethnographical and geographical information. Valikhanov passed Altyn-Emel with his caravan, and one of the springs in the Altyn-Emel desert was then named after him.

1864, 1867 and 1879

Nikolai Severtzov, a worthy successor to Semenov-Tian-Shansky, a polyhistor, zoologist, botanist and geologist, worked in Semirechye. Many representatives of the animal world are named after him (for example, Severtzov's stone loach listed in the Red Book).

1864, 1867 and 1879

1874 - 1880

Ivan Mushketov, an outstanding geographer, visited Semirechye, made a geological and orographic description of Central Asia and compiled the first geological map of the whole Turkestan region.

1876 - 1878

Albert Regel, a famous botanist, did a significant research of the fauna and flora of this area. Many representatives of the vegetal world bear his name - for example, the Albert's tulip listed in the Red Book.

1876 - 1878

1876 - 1877

Nikolai Przewalski, a famous geographer, came to Semirechye for the first time and later engaged himself with the study of Tien Shan. The last remaining species of a real wild horse on earth, the Przewalski's horse, is named in his honor.


At the same time, the Bremen scientific expedition, headed by Dr. Finsh, visited Semirechye. One of its members was the famous German traveler and naturalist Alfred Brehm, the author of "The Life of Animals", the world famous book series.



Sergei Alferaky, a prominent entomologist, discovered many new species of insects (butterflies) in Semirechye. The Alferaky's toad agama in Altyn-Emel (a restricted-area Red Book species) is also named in his honor.

Chokan Valikhanov's writings

Works of Chokan Valikhanov / Notes of the Imperial Russian Geographical Society, the Department of Ethnography, Volume XXIX. SPb, 1904

Mushketov's writings

Ivan Mushketov. Turkestan. Geological and orographic description based on data collected during travels from 1874 to 1880 St. Petersburg, 1906

It is undoubtedly not a complete list of names that have left their mark in the history of Semirechye and Altyn-Emel.

Hundreds of famous and little-known researchers have studied and continue to study this remarkable land.

Genghis Khan
Chokan Valikhanov
Pyotr Semyonov-Tian-Shansky
Nikolay Przewalski
Alexander Vlangali
Alexander fon Sсhrenk
Nikolay Severtsov
Ivan Mushketov
Albert Regel
Sergey Alferaky

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