Kazakhstan: A short walk in the Ile-Alatau National Park

30 Oct

Kazaxia took advantage of some fine autumn weather last week to visit the Ile-Alatau National Nature Park to see how the people of Almaty like to commune with nature. The park is a short drive from the centre of the city and is popular with day-trippers.

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The foothills of the Tien Shan mountain range are still showing the ravages of a devastating storm in May which trashed loads of trees, providing rich pickings forKazakhstan’s lumberjacks, who are currently engaged in clearing the damage up.

The park is ostensibly a protected zone where building is not allowed, but this hasn’t stopped some bigwigs from commandeering a prime slice of the park for their own compound of four sizeable wooden mansions. The walled compound stands opposite the dilapidated housing of the Park Rangers making for a stark contrast of how the two halves live in Kazakhstan.

Sometimes, guards man the barriers at the park entrance to extort an ‘entrance fee’ to the park. Seeing the rubbish strewn all around the park, you can’t help but wonder what happens to all the park fees the guards collect.

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