© tripadvisor.ru / Elena Pakhalyuk
© tripadvisor.ru / Elena Pakhalyuk
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An obscure part of Western Kazakhstan: the Valley of Balls

3 minutes to read

The nature of Kazakhstan is picturesque and surprisingly diverse. Kazakhstan is fraught with many mysterious places, one of which is located on the Mangystau Peninsula in Western Kazakhstan. Driving kilometers of plains in two hours from the Aktau city, suddenly you can find giant round-shaped stones resembling scattered beads on the ground. It may seem to you that you have fallen onto another planet or into a geological museum created by people. But no, this museum was created by nature itself, and it is one of the most interesting and most mystical places in Kazakhstan. Local people and now tourists from all over the globe call this obscure part of Western Kazakhstan - the Valley of Balls.

© obobrali.ru/ nub1an’у
© obobrali.ru/ nub1an’у

Scientific claims about the stone balls

Scientists have been studying these stones for more than 250 years, but they have not come to a common opinion. Some scientists say that these are mineral formations, others that the balls were formed from the remains of small organisms that inhabited the reservoirs. Geologists studying this area concluded that the formation of balls began 120 million years ago. Now, we see steppes and plains, but once on this place, there was an ocean in which were the conditions for the reproduction of plankton. For centuries, the water went away, leaving the land with mysterious stones in this region, which formed the Valley of Balls. Scientific researchers in the field of space and astronomy believe that these ball nodules are fragments of ancient meteorites, which have long flown over this region. Stone balls vary from a nut size to a car size, can you believe that? 

© Photo by Ilia Afanasieff, the best landscape photographer of Qazaqstan (QazPhoto 2016 and 2018), @Ilia_Almaty_Photographer +77017668113
© Photo by Ilia Afanasieff, the best landscape photographer of Qazaqstan (QazPhoto 2016 and 2018), @Ilia_Almaty_Photographer +77017668113

Legends of the Valley of Balls

While scientists are studying and guessing the origin of stone balls, local people spread the legends telling that, at the time of numerous attacks on the Kazakh land, there was a giant warrior named ‘Ersary’ who defended the land with his gun using these balls and fired at enemies invading the earth of Kazakhstan. Others say that during one of the battles, the enemies came closer to the lands of the people who then lived on this plain. Tired of countless invasions, local people gathered, raised their hands to heaven and began to pray for salvation. The Almighty heard the prayers and turned the approaching enemies into stones.

© Wikimedia/ Alexandr Babkin
© Wikimedia/ Alexandr Babkin

Northeast of Aktau

The Valley of Balls is located in the Torysh tract, which is 100 km from the Aktau city. It is possible to arrange an excursion to the Valley of Balls in the city. Tours are organized both by professional guides and small groups of people who rent a car themselves and drive with a GPS navigator. The cost of tours, depending on the agency, ranges from 3,000 to 7,000 tenge on average. The road itself from Aktau to the Valley of Balls takes two hours. Professional guides will not only bring you there but also treat you with the dinner, organize entertaining games and give you a time for photos and research of balls. On average, a round trip takes from 7 to 10 hours.

© Photo by Ilia Afanasieff, the best landscape photographer of Qazaqstan (QazPhoto 2016 and 2018), @Ilia_Almaty_Photographer +77017668113
© Photo by Ilia Afanasieff, the best landscape photographer of Qazaqstan (QazPhoto 2016 and 2018), @Ilia_Almaty_Photographer +77017668113

The Valley of Balls is a must-see point for tourists. This place is a godsend for people who are crazy about mysticism and geology, but it will be interesting to people of different ages. Both children and adults will be delighted. If you are seeking for something original, unique, go ahead to create a memory with unusual photos in an obscure part of Western Kazakhstan in the Valley of Balls!


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The author

Nazerke Makhanova

Nazerke Makhanova

Hi, I am Nazerke from Kazakhstan. Traveled to 15 countries, lived in Malaysia and Spain, currently I'm located in my hometown Nur-Sultan city, and I’d love to take you on an adventurous journey throughout Kazakhstan. Ready? Let’s go!

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