City tour Astana

Let’s explore new capital of Kazakhstan! We will see both old and new parts of the city, learn about geography, climate, population, religions, architecture, national cookery, economy, history and many other subjects. While travelling we can visit buildings by famous architects: Alibek Rustambekovk Tortai brothers, Normann Foster, Kesi Kurokawa, Renato Archetti, Manfredo Nicoletti, Zaha Khadid and others. We can visit Baiterek tower, presidential district, World EXPO 2017, beautiful mosques, orthodox and catholic churches and synagogue. We will see several sport centers and learn about achievement of Kazakhstan sportsmen. Welcome to Astana!!

Hunter eagle farm

WHAT IS IT? Along with urban sightseeing and tours, knowledge and experience of nomadic life is demanded quite often. Generally, after collectivization, industrialization and consequent urbanization there are almost no nomads in Kazakhstan anymore, for almost 90 years. Nevertheless, this interest may be satisfied. Ethno-awul still bears many old-fashion features of nomadic life. INCLUSIONS. • Hunter eagles’ farm – we will learn how eagles are kept, grown, fed and used at hunting. Simple tricks may be demonstrated, and, of course, photographing with eagles. • A lunch (or dinner) in yurt – traditional nomadic house. Menu may be ordered according to taste of visitors. Most positive feedback now are attributed to beshbarmak, manty, kuwurdak, kumys, shubat (fermented horse and camel milk), joint cooking bawursak, milk tea, talkan, zhent, kospa (traditional nomadic sweets), tary, kurt and more conventional foods. Alcohol beverages are not served. • Improvised concert by host party – kids and parents sing and dance, often guests join. • Shooting arrows with a bow. • Riding a horse. • Traditions – cutting horse fetter (freeing toddler child), introduction of a bride, blessing.

Museum of ethnography and Central Asian jewelry

«NOMADIC LIFE FROM HOUSEKEEPING TO THE ART» Visit to private museum: 1. An Yurt – logic and wisdom of nomadic house. 2. HOME OF THE NATION: decoration and applied arts, household utensils and pieces of art. Playing instruments, wearing old clothes and national jewelry are good reason to have a photo session. Modern art in the museum is added accompanied with pictures made of leather and wood, stylish items of interior. 3. Ever constant Kazakh hospitality and dastarkhan (a table) with national dishes, “Awuz tiyu” (tasting a meal) – these impressions will be the brightest. 4. Yard of antiquity. Collections of samovars, carpets, household and art items of turquoise ethnicities. 5. For a memory of this museum antiquity, author works and souvenirs may be bought.

Air defence test site

A legacy from Cold War period, air defense test site was established in 1956. Back then USA still had long lasting advantage over USSR in long-range delivery means, and USSR tried hard to achieve parity and equilibrium. Area of the test ground was about 450 thousand square kilometers, which is 2,5 times area of Austria, for example. Equipped with the most advanced radar systems, by modern time the test area evolved into anti-missile test facility by late 80s. With the collapse of Soviet Union all of this modern equipment and machinery was literally abandoned and consigned to oblivion in 1994. While some radar are still in use, most of radar stations, even the most advanced ones have been being looted, broken and sold for scrap metal. Its area shrank more than 5 times and now is only a little more than 80 thousand square kilometers. But with growing tension between big international players, most notably, USA, EU, China and Russia, this area is again in regular operation. Nowadays, missiles that start from Kapustin Yar in Russia try to break through to Far East of Russia. These missiles are fully equipped by anti-radar means and only miss real warhead. These missiles should be detected from here and hit at right moment. This is how the best Russian anti-missile systems like S-300/400/500 are tested. Anyway, seeing is better than reading, come to Priozersk!!

Burabai lake

Burabai is natural oasis and lake in 3 hours drive from Astana. Being north extremity of the Great Steppe it looks very different from the rest of Central Kazakhstan, more like South Siberia that is just in 200 more kilometers to the North, where Kazakhstan-Russia border goes. Burabai is chain of few lakes, has beautiful landscape and the air with amazing property to heal lung diseases: pneumonia, asthma and even tuberculosis. These properties were discovered more than 2 centuries ago and since then many lung resorts and sanatoriums had been built here. The area is also related to several famous people like Ablai-khan (one of most prominent persons in Kazakh history), philosopher Vernadsky, nuclear physicist Kurchatov and future leader of USSR Leonid Brezhnev. Nature is really beautiful and within one or two days – up to your choice – we will do a lot of hiking and finish the tour by having Azerbaijani meal. Welcome to Burabai!!

Korgalzhyn lakes - World Heritage of UNESCO

Korgalzhyn is chain of 83 lakes fed by a single river, Nura. Its area is around 5 4000 square kilometers and such a huge wetland, of course, is excellent stopover for birds of migration. Every summer up to 50 million birds of 155 species arrive here to grow their chicks. Most notable birds are pink flamingoes, pelicans, storks, herons, cranes, many species of predators – eagles, hawks, falcons etc. Birdwatchers say that up to 20% of global populations in pink flamingoes live here in the summer. One of lakes, Tengiz, has concentration of salt seven times higher than in any sea, around 20%, and nothing can live is such a salty water, except tiny red cancers that are excellent natural food for flamingoes. And those cancers convey pink color to flamingoes’ feather. Infrastructure is quite poor. Roads are rough, toilets, café and other convenience facilities are largely absent, so think carefully before going to Korgalzhyn! But real enthusiasts of bird watching go there without a doubt. Do you too, see you in Korgalzhyn!!

Former Semipalatinsk nuclear test ground.

Another legacy of the Cold War, former Semipalatinsk nuclear test ground nowadays operates in peaceful mode. Here we will visit the museum of nuclear technology and learn about nuclear industry of former USSR and history of Soviet nuclear weapon development. Exponents are really amazing by their technical advance, power of nuclear energy and thoughtfulness. Next point is Ground Zero, the center of the first nuclear test. Now, 70 years after first explosion and numerous recultivation, it is safe to visit. Nearby we will see facilities that were used to measure various parameters of an explosion. The same day we go to abandoned long-range aviation aerodrome, where strategic bombers were based. Next to it military town is placed, which was in use till 1994, when Russian units had left it. The next day we will visit Atomic lake, an artificial one created by nuclear explosion. Just try to compare with any sea, usually their depth is around 30 meters and more. But this lake is 180 meters deep, in the midst of land-locked area, deeper than many seas!! Come and witness all of these wonders!!

Karaganda - back in USSR.

Being established mid-nineteenth century as industrial area, Karaganda remains very different from the rest of Kazakhstan. Once second biggest and second developed city of Soviet Kazakhstan, Karaganda still remains a major center for business, sports, culture, and education. Industry is very diverse, gold, coal, uranium, marble, granite, steel and many other minerals are produced here. People in Karaganda are usually very well educated, intelligent and highly skilled. Many famous people of USSR, post-soviet Russia and Kazakhstan derive from Karaganda. Here we can visit former camp for political prisoners, training coal mine, horse breeding farm, anti-missile test site, grave of Genghiz-khan’s first son, Juchi, whose son established the Golden Horde. Depending on season we can see local football and ice hockey team play (both are good), opera and operetta, classic and ethnic music. Ethnic content is very diverse, as well as religions – so we can visit a mosque, catholic and orthodox churches. Come to Karaganda!!

A meal with local family.

Well, now you know a lot about Kazakhstan history, economy, politics, finance, architecture and many other aspects. And what about ordinary people? How and where do they live, what do they do, what is their daily life like? Learning about these is easy, let’s have a meal with a local family! We will have one of traditional dishes (most often beshbarmak, kuwurdak or manty), Kazakh tea and traditional nomadic sweets. Depending on season, kymyz or shubat may be served (fermented horse or camel milk, respectively). Having a lunch or a dinner with local family is the best way to go in deeper knowledge of the nation, I believe. Bon appétit!!