Tourist Route 2: Besshatyr Mounds


Distance of the tourist route: 35 km one way (Checkpoint 1 - Besshatyr mounds, the route is marked in green on the map).

Checkpoint 1 → 17 km → Tanbaly Tas petroglyphs → 9 km → Zhantogai post → 9 km → Besshatyr burial mounds → 35 km → Checkpoint 1.

Besshatyr and Tanbaly Tas: Trail of Saka Nomads

This is a special tourist route in the southwestern part of the Altyn-Emel National Park. In this place, the outermost spurs of Dzhungarian Alatau (the Sholak Mountains) almost reach the floodplain of the Ili river (in the place where it flows into the Kapchagai reservoir), forming a narrow entrance to the valley.

Here, in the foothills of Sholak, numerous petroglyphs of the Bronze Age, Saka epoch (I millennium BC), the Middle Ages and so on, up to the present, are scattered on the rocks. Besides pagan symbols, the Tanbaly Tas petroglyphic complex also includes Buddhist inscriptions. Scientists suggest that one of the abodes of Buddhist lamas could be located in this area.

There is a complex of the Besshatyr royal burial mounds in the valley nearby. These are the tombs of the leaders of the Saka Tigrahaud (Tigrahauda, Tigraxauda) nomadic tribe, ​​which inhabited this territory in the 6th-4th centuries BC.

The grandiose mounds which look like pavilions from afar, along with altars and menhirs surrounding them, stand solemnly in the silent steppe, the whole scene keeping its ancient appearance up to now.

Previously, this part of the Altyn-Emel National Park was not isolated (from here it was possible to drive straight to the Singing Dune), but later it was decided to close the passage in order to preserve the protected area for wild animals descending from the Sholak, Degeres and Matai mountains to the Ili river for watering.

Places to Visit

Arba Travel

Arba Travel offers tours from Almaty to the Altyn-Emel National Park along Tourist Route 2 (Besshatyr Saka Mounds).

Arba Travel

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