On March 16, 2022, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev made a proposal to divide the Almaty Region into two parts, separating the new Jetysu Region. The decree was signed in the summer of that year and the new region appeared on maps.

As of early 2023, the region’s population is almost 700 thousand people. Most of them live in the city of Taldykorgan. The region has three more towns: Tekeli, Zharkent, and Sarkand. Still, many people live in rural areas. From the east, the Jetysu Region borders China.

History of the ancient land

About two thousand years ago, the lands of Jetysu were inhabited by the Scythians, Iranian-speaking nomadic tribes. For hundreds of years, these lands passed into the power of one tribe or another. States were created and destroyed. In the 13th century, these lands were conquered by the army of Genghis Khan, and the great commander himself gave Jetysu to his son Chagatai. However, the Mongols remained in power for a relatively short time, and in the 15th century, the Kazakh Khanate was formed here.

The land of Jetysu was a silent witness to the war between the Kazakhs and the Dzungars – one of the most tragic pages in our history. Jetysu joined the Russian Empire in the 19th century in search of protection from the enemies. After the collapse of the USSR, these ancient lands became part of independent Kazakhstan.

Why is the Jetysu Region worth visiting?

Seven large rivers and several hundred smaller streams flow there giving life to many trees and plants. The mountain slopes are overgrown by giant Tien Shan spruces – they’re endemic to Central Asia. In the valleys, you can walk through relic turanga and ash groves, some of the trees are hundreds of years old.

The Jetysu Region is home to some of the most popular beach tourism sites in Kazakhstan – Lake Alakol, the southeastern coast of Lake Balkhash, and even a small piece of the Kapchagai Reservoir.

There is the amazing Altyn-Emel National Park, where you can see the unique Singing Dune, ancient rock paintings, Scythian burial mounds, and the colorful mountains of Aktau and Katutau.

The Jetysu Region is also adorned with the mountains of the Dzungarian Alatau, which are ready to reveal their natural treasures to travelers: the Burkhan-Bulak Waterfall, the Kora Gorge, the Kalakai sanctuary, the Zhasylkol Lake, and many more.

updated: 09 january 2023

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