© Turar Kazangapov
© Turar Kazangapov

Noah's Ark in the sacred mountain Kazygurt

4 minutes to read

The Kazygurt Mountain is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the south of Kazakhstan for both locals and visitors. This is the place where, according to one of the legends from the holy books, Noah's Ark stopped, but it is as well as the place where the Silk Road caravan once passed. Hence, this place will attract the attention of people with different interests. Some people come here for pilgrimage to gain energy and others to conquer another peak. However, absolutely everyone gets a treasure of history knowledge, and it is impossible to remain indifferent after visiting Noah's Ark in the sacred mountain Kazygurt in south Kazakhstan.

© instagram / dana_nature_shymkent
© instagram / dana_nature_shymkent
Noah's Ark instalation, Kazygurt Mountain, South Kazakhstan
Noah's Ark instalation, Kazygurt Mountain, South Kazakhstan

Kazygurt Mountain

Kazygurt is a mountain range located 40 km from the southern megalopolis of Kazakhstan, the Shymkent city. This is a mountain range that looks like two hills with a saddle in the middle. This saddle was once a passing way for the traveler along the Great Silk Road. The highest point of Kazygurt Mountain is located at 1768 m. Kazygurt is located on the territory of the Talas Alatau and is part of the Ugam province of the Tien Shan natural region. Kazygurt Mountain is composed of limestones, which according to the researchers, once was the bottom of an ancient ocean. There are many springs and caves around Kazygurt Mountain that prove the existence of an ocean many decades ago.

© instagram / dana_nature_shymkent
© instagram / dana_nature_shymkent

Noah's Ark Legend

There are many stories about Kazygurt Mountain and the ark of the prophet Noah, who, according to the legend, stopped here. One of the most significant and famous legends is that during the flood, when the entire area was under the water of an ancient ocean, only the top of Kazygurt Mountain was on land, and Noah moored his ark here. Therefore, this place is considered to be truly a source of salvation and further abundance. Locals call this place Keme kalgan, which translated from the Kazakh language means the 'Remaining Boat.' Later in 1991, an installation of a boat was built on the hill near the roadside, 4 hours of walking from the Kazygurt Mountain. At the foot of the mountain, you can see a holy place called Akbura, which, translated from the Kazakh language, means 'White Camel'. This place got its name thanks to the legend that a Sufi once lived here during the time of the Great Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, who, when he prayed, also transferred his white camel into a trance. 

© Turar Kazangapov
© Turar Kazangapov

Kazygurt legend

According to the legend, when Noah was looking for a place to moor a boat at the height of the mountain, an old man named Kazygurt was sitting on the peak, and he signaled to Noah that he could be saved here. According to another legend, once upon a time, a wolf and a she-wolf lived on this land, who had a law not to kill living beings. During the great famine, the she-wolf broke the law and killed a living creature. In retaliation for such an offence, the wolf killed the she-wolf on this very mountain, and he was named Kazy Gurt, which translated from the Kazakh language means the 'Fair Wolf'.

© Turar Kazangapov
© Turar Kazangapov

What to see

There are two important things to see in the region of Kazygurt. First is the Kazygurt Mountain and a hill Keme Kalgan, where you can see the installation of Noah's Ark. Also, a hiking path is located on the other side of the road from the Keme Kalgan. From there to the Kazygurt Mountain, it is around 4 hours of walk. The climb to the peak of Kazygurt Mountain can take from 1.5 to 3 hours, depending on your speed and shape. It is highly recommended to go there with a Kazakh or Russian speaking guide because local people do not speak English, and with such a guide you will be able to enjoy the place and avoid misunderstandings. The Keme Kalgan hill is mostly a tourist place that people of different ages can easily reach.

© instagram / dana_nature_shymkent
© instagram / dana_nature_shymkent

How to reach

To Shymkent, you can fly from every part of Kazakhstan, but the most popular flights are from Almaty (1.5 hours) and Nur-Sultan (1.5 hours). From Shymkent, you can order a taxi service starting from 7 dollars per car for a one-way trip and reach the Kazygurt mountain in 1 hour. From the Kazygurt region, in just 40 min by car, you can reach the Saryagash town and its popular resort. There, the must-do thing is to try the mineral and sparkling waters of Saryagash. This water has lots of benefits for health. 

© instagram / dana_nature_shymkent
© instagram / dana_nature_shymkent

What to do around

There are lots of villages around Kazygurt Mountain. In each of them, you can eat tasty and inexpensive food in local cafes and walk around the village to feel the atmosphere and traditional life of local Kazakhs. On the territory of the villages and Kazygurt Mountain, you can find many pastures and flocks of horses. In addition, many travelers who travel to or from Uzbekistan towards Shymkent stop at roadside shops, where tourists are offered a huge amount of Kazakh delicacy, a cheese called 'kurt' and cold milk soup with millet or corn

© iStock / byheaven
© iStock / byheaven

There are lots of stories and legends around Noah's Ark, and one of them is located in a beautiful place with lots of interesting yet authentic things to offer. The South Kazakhstan Region is a great place for visitors hungry for the authentic local lifestyle and places full of sacred stories and energy fulfillments. One of the most important ones is a visit to Noah's Ark in the sacred mountain Kazygurt in South Kazakhstan.


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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