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Photographer's paradise - The Sibiny Mountains in East Kazakhstan
Charyn Canyon in south east Kazakhstan can be visited on a 2-day trip from Almaty.
Serene lakes, untouched nature - Kazakhstan offers yet to be discovered natural treasures


Kazakhstan has a wide range of spas offering various treatments. There are 98 sanatoria holiday hotels and 115 preventative medicine sanatoria. Most are located in areas with much to interest the tourist, such as sports, cultural events, historical and archaeological sites, and offer developed excursion facilities. The most internationally renowned resorts include Sari Agach (in the south), Mujaldi (in the Pavlodar region), Arasan-Kapal (in the Taldikorgan region), Jani-Kurgan (in the Kzil-Orda region), Kokshetau and Zerenda (in the Kokshetau region) and those located in Zaili Alatau.

Zaili Alatau Moutains:
The 4000m-high (1310ft) Zaili Alatau Mountains near Almaty offer numerous opportunities all year round for sports and recreation. The Medeo ice rink is situated 15km outside the city in a stunning gorge. There are large areas of unspoilt nature among the mountains which attract many walkers and climbers to the region in summer and skiers in the winter.

The Tian Shan Mountains:
Tian Shan, or the "Heavenly Mountains", in the southeast of Kazakhstan, stretch for more than 1500km (932 miles). The highest peaks are Pobeda Peak (7439m/24,406ft) and Khan-Tengri Peak (7010m/23,000ft), a snow-white, marble-like pyramid. The huge Inylchek Glacier, reaching almost 60km (37 miles) in length, splits the summits and at its centre lies the beautiful Mertzbakher Lake. The Kolsai Lakes are three blue mountain lakes, known as the 'pearls of the northern Tien-Shan', that lie within the ridges of the Kungei Alatau range at heights of up to 2700m above sea level. The Khan-Tengri International Mountaineering Camp provides experienced mountain guides to take visitors on organised climbing and trekking programmes. Other facilities include horseriding, a souvenir shop and bar.

Almaty (formerly - Alma Ata) enjoys a beautiful setting between mountains and plains. It is a city of modern architecture, wide streets, cool fountains, parks and squares and spectacular mountain views and, particularly in spring and autumn, is an attractive place despite the inevitable legacy of Soviet architecture. Attractions in the city include the Panfilov Park, which is dominated by one of the world's tallest wooden buildings, built at the turn of the 20th century without using a single nail and the Zenkov Cathedral. This served in Soviet times as a concert and exhibition hall, but is currently standing empty, whilst the Christians of Almaty worship at St. Nicholas Cathedral. Other sights include New Square, which is usually the location for national ceremonies and parades and is overlooked by the City Hall (the President's official residence) and the Obelisk of Independence. Almaty boasts number of museums including the Museum of Kazakh National Instruments, the Central State Museum and the State Art Museum which has amongst its exhibits traditional Kazakh rugs, jewellery and clothing. The Arasan Baths, in the western area of Panfilov Park, have Eastern, Finnish and Russian saunas.

Industrial city, producing the largest amount of lead in the CIS region. 160km (100 miles) away (travel time - 2 hours 30 minutes) is the 14th-century Kodja Ahmed Yasavi Mausoleum in Turkestan. Built under Tamerlane, this mausoleum has the largest dome in Central Asia. Dzhambul, too, is an industrial city in the region with some reproductions of ancient remains from when it was known as Taraz-these are housed in the Karakhan and the Daudbek Shahmansur Mausoleums. The nearby village of Golovachovka, 18km (11 miles) to the west, has authentic remains from Taraz, including the 11th-century Babadzi-Khatun Mausoleum and the 12th-century Mausoleum Aisha Bibi. Another ancient historical centre is Taldikorgan. Much of this region was crossed by the Great Silk Road.

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