Kalkans Mountains


The desert mountains Ulken (Big) and Kishi (Small) Kalkans are located on the right bank of the Ili river between the Degeres mountains located in the west and the Katutau mountains in the east.

The Big and Small Kalkans surround the Singing Dune, thus protecting it from dispersal.

Big Kalkan rises 600 m above the surface of the Basshi valley and 800 m above the Ili river valley. The foot of Big Kalkan has the shape of an ellipse measuring 15 by 12.5 km.

Small Kalkan, 7.5 by 8 km in size, is located southwest of Big Kalkan and twice as low.

Kalkans Mountains and the Singing Dune

Ulken (Big) Kalkan is a volcano which extincted long ago and the southwestern part of which shifted about 200 thousand years ago, forming the Kishi (Small) Kalkan Mountain. In this corridor between them, a specific wind rose was formed, and it created the Singing Dune.

"Kalkan" in the Kazakh language means "shield". The Kalkans Mountains, justifying their name, really protect, like a shield, the Basshi intermountain valley, located south of the Altyn-Emel ridge, from the sands coming from the Ili river banks.

So, thanks to the Kalkans mountains, huge sand dunes have been held in one place for several millennia.

On the way to the Singing Dune along the Kalkans mountains there are the "Dinosaurs of the National Park" information plates, turanga groves, and the spring of Chokan Valikhanov at the foot of the Kishi Kalkan mountain.

The Kalkans Mountains are home to argali; also here you can meet kulans and gazelles.

Kalkans Mountains and Singing Dune
Altyn-Emel Road
Altyn-Emel Dinosaurs
Chokan Valikhanov Spring
Gazelle in Altyn-Emel Park
Arba Travel

Arba Travel offers tours from Almaty and transfer service from the village of Basshi to the Singing Dune.

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