Altyn-Emel (in translation- “Golden Saddle”) – is the largest national natural park in Kazakhstan. Altyn-Emel is located in 150 km from Almaty city. The park is located in a secluded valley, and surrounded by mountains from three sides, and from the south surrounded by the deltas of the Ili River. The area of the park is 520 000 hectares. The territory of the national park consists of the western spurs of the Dzhungar Alatau, the desert mountains of Kututau, Aktau, Ulken and Kshi-Kalkany and the unique monument of the nature "Singing Dune", which is located 182 kilometers north-east of Almaty.more...
"Singing Dune" gives an incredible impression. The whole sandy ridge occupies the area of almost 10 square km. The length of the sandy crest reaches three kilometers, the width is about five hundred meters, and the height exceeds one hundred and thirty meters. "Singing Dune" has a unique outline of the shape of a half moon. When the air is dry and the wind blows from the west, two large hills produce a variety of sounds that are similar to organ. Until now, scientists have not given an exact answer as to why this dune "sings". Most likely, these sounds and tremblings are caused by a barely noticeable shedding of sand along the slope. Friction caused by the movement of grains of sand, combined with dry air, electrifies them, causing vibration. Sound waves of great strength are created, which, reflecting from the dense soil, cause the trembling of the dune and this sound is heard a few kilometers away. However, in wet weather, naturally, the dune "does not sing".
Near the dune there are Aktau mountains (translated as “white mountains”). Aktau is the magnificent chalk mountains- lifeless, blue (lunar landscape), red, white, pink, the green slopes, whimsically cut by erosion, are so unusual that it's impossible to look away.
Also, tourists can visit the royal tombs in barrows "Besshatyr" from the era of the early Iron Age (VII-VI centuries BC). These amazing monuments of the ancient culture Saka tribes. In the barrows there are ancient burials, rock carvings of wild animals and hunting scenes. The total number of barrows in Altyn-Emel is 31. The leader of Saks himself is buried in the biggest barrow, with the diameter of 104 meters, with the height of 18 meters and is called “Royal”.