The Singing Dune
What is the Singing Dune?
The Singing Dune, also known as Aigaykum, is a remarkable natural phenomenon and the most famous landmark of Altyn-Emel National Park. The dune is a steep slope of quartz sand, measuring 3 kilometers (1.9 mi) long and 120 meters (394 ft) high. Its formation dates back to around 10-12 thousand years ago when the collision of the eastern and western winds carried clouds of sand, resulting in the dune's creation.
The Singing Dune is aptly named because of the peculiar low sound it produces, akin to the music of an organ. This sound is generated by the rubbing of sand grains against each other under the influence of the wind. To fully experience the unique phenomenon of the Singing Dune, it's important to plan your visit during optimal singing conditions. It's recommended to visit when the weather has been dry, as this enhances the sand's ability to produce its distinctive sound.
Shrouded in legend
Folk legends about the sand dune abound in the area. According to one tale, locals believed that the Singing Dune was the burial place of the great Genghis Khan, and the sounds it produced were his way of telling his people about his achievements. Another legend connects the dune's origin with the shaitan, or devil, who fell asleep on his long journey home after being punished by the Almighty for causing mischief and turning into a sandy hill. When disturbed, the demon supposedly creates the strange sounds.
A feast for the ears and eyes
The Singing Dune has also been mentioned in literature, including the work «The Zahir» by P. Coelho. However, it's the allure of its natural beauty that draws thousands of visitors each year. From the top of the dune, visitors can take in a breathtaking panoramic view of the surrounding area, including the winding Ili River, the Dzungarian Alatau Mountains, the Ketmen ridge, and the valley below. Walking along the crest of the sand dune is an extreme adventure that can be experienced with the help of qualified guides. We offer several tours to the Altyn-Emel National Park, during which you will see the Singing Dune and some other of the park’s wonders.
How to get there?
To reach the Singing Dune, travelers can take the A-3 highway and drive to Konayev, then the village of Saryozek, and then turn right towards the village of Basshi where the national park’s office is located. From there, they can follow the signs leading to the dune. The journey towards the dune promises to be an adventure, with breathtaking scenery along the way. It's important for travelers to stay alert and mindful while driving, as some roads may be challenging and require extra caution.
Other tourist attractions near the Singing Dune:
- Aktau and Katutau Mountains
- Oshaktas Stelae
- Burial Mounds of Besshatyr
- Ili River
- Kapchagai Reservoir
- Ungirkora Cave
- Kosbastau Tract
- Dzungarian Alatau Mountains
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