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Sivers Wild Apple Trees Tour.

Sivers apple tree in Kazakhstan.

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Sivers apple-tree excursion.

Short description of route of tour of wild apple trees of Sievers:

Almaty - Sarkand settlement - Topolevka village - Lepsinsk settlement - Almaty.

Distance of tour: 1138 km.
Season: April - October.
Duration of tour: 5 days, 4 nights.
Best time for tour: flowering apple orchards.
Distance active part of tour: 10 km.
No. in party: from 1 to 10 people.

Zhongar-Alatau natural park pursues the main goal - the preservation and study of the phenomenon of wild fruit plantations - apple trees of Sivers, Nedzvetsky and other species listed in the Red Book of Kazakhstan.
The unique gene pool of the Sivers wild apple tree is a national treasure and wealth of Kazakhstan, since the only place on the planet where it grows naturally, starting from the Cretaceous period, is the spurs of the Dzhungar Alatau.
The Sivers apple tree is an indigenous Kazakh species that has existed since the time of the dinosaurs, which survived all the cataclysms of nature. Botanist Johann Sivers, made the first description of the Sivers apple tree in 1793, when he met apple forests in the vicinity of the village of Urdjar.
In Kazakhstan, the Sivers apple tree is included in the Red Book of Kazakhstan. The largest number of Sievers apple trees is located in the northern foothills of the Dzhungar Alatau - 50%), in the Zailiyskiy Alatau mountains - 25.4%, in South Kazakhstan in the Karatau mountains - 12.1%, in the Turkestan and Zhambyl regions in the Talas Alatau mountains - 11.7% , in the East Kazakhstan region in the Tarbagatai mountains - 2%.
Since the beginning of the 80s of the last century, the Sievers apple tree in Kazakhstan has been under the threat of extinction. The current area of ​​apple forests is shrinking compared to the last century. This was due to a number of factors.
First, apple cultivars were planted at an altitude of 1000 meters above sea level. Secondly, the tinting of wild-fruited apple trees with cultivated varieties was carried out in 1973 - 1980 of the last century. Thirdly, there is a change of species, the territory that was previously occupied by the Sievers apple tree is intensively overgrown with birch, aspen, and poplar.
The wild apple tree is valuable in that it has existed for several tens of thousands of years under the influence of a changing natural environment, it has naturally adapted to temperature extremes, pests and diseases, and has a unique genetic resource.
For scientists, it is still a big mystery, since it has a unique combination of genetic traits for breeding varieties with predetermined qualities. The most abundant populations of wild apple trees in the mountains of the Dzhungar Alatau are located on the northern slopes from 1200 to 1600 meters above sea level and along river terraces.
In the Zailisky Alatau mountains, apple populations are found from 900 to 1800 meters above sea level. In this regard, the Sievers apple tree has genes that are responsible for adapting to frost and harsh climatic conditions.
This is what makes the apple tree unique as a genetic resource. It is here that you can find the necessary combination of genetic traits for breeding varieties with predetermined qualities. In this case, we are talking about the traditional way of creating varieties, and not created by genetic engineering methods.

Detailed tour program day by day to relict apple trees in Kazakhstan:

Day 1. Almaty - Sarkand settlement (413 km).

Transfer: Almaty - Kapshagai town - Taldykorgan town - Zhansugurovo settlement - Sarkand settlement (413 km). The path from Almaty leads to the northeast, past the town of Kapshagai, where the country's largest gambling zone with casinos and hotels is located, the Kapshagai reservoir with a length of 97 kilometers adjoins the town.
We pass the administrative center of the Almaty region - the town of Taldykorgan and further our path lies along the northern slopes of the Dzhungar Alatau. Lunch on the way. Arrival in the settlement of Sarkand, accommodation at the guest house, dinner, overnight.
Day 2. Sarkand settlement - Osinovoye valley (94 km).
Breakfast. Transfer: Sarkand settlement - Yekiasha village (Pokatilovka) - Amanbokter village - Akbulak mountains - Bayanbai petroglyphs (42 km).
rom Sarkand our way lies to the southeast, along the northern slopes of the local mountains of Markatau. We pass the village of Ekiasha, which until 1993 was called Pokatilovka. The 11-time champion of Kazakhstan in freestyle wrestling Abilseit Aykhanov, actor Kuman Tastanbekov, who played one of the main roles in the Kazakh film "Kyz-Zhibek" (1970), was born and raised in the village, the hero of the Soviet Union Vasily Belenko was born and raised here, a participant in Great Patriotic War.
We pass the village of Amanbokter and our way lies to the eastern end of the Akbulak mountains, where the Bayanbai petroglyphs are located. Walking in the environs, viewing petroglyphs.
Transfer: petroglyphs Bayanbay - Aulie tas valley (17 km).
After the petroglyphs, we drive along the western slope of the Akbulak massif to the south to a small peasant farm, after which our path lies along the right (eastern) bank of the small Avdiya river in the Aulie tas valley. Arrival at the stone valley, walk in the environs.
Transfer: Aulie tas valley - Avdia river - Ekiasha village - Topolevka village (26 km).
Along the right bank of the Avdiya river, we head towards the village of Yekiasha, pass the bridge over the Bolshoy Baskan river and turn northeast to the next village - Topolevka, which is located in the northern part of the Zhamankotyrta mountains. If desired, in the village you can visit the apiary of beekeepers Pitenko, as well as a small farm of ostriches and wild boars.
Transfer: Topolevka village - Terekty river - Kokzhota valley - Osinovoye valley (9 km).
Arrival in valley Osinivoye, accommodation in a guest house. The valley is located between the Soldatskaya and Pikhtovaya rivers at an altitude of 1045 meters above sea level. Dinner. 
After lunch, a walk to the Pikhtovoe gorge, observation and inspection of the Sievers apple tree (1.5 +1.5 = 3 km). Walk in the Soldtaskoe gorge (1.5 +1.5 = 3 km), along the Mushabai ecological path. Observation and inspection of Sievers apple orchards. Return to the guest house, dinner, overnight.
Day 3. Osinovoye valley – Lepsinsk settlement (64 km).
Breakfast. Transfer: Osinovoye valley - Topolevka village - upper reaches of the Vasilyev Klyuch river - Kokzhota valley (24 km)
The Kokzhota valley is located on the northern slope of the Dzhungar Alatau mountain in the upper reaches of the Vasilyev Klyuch river, in the northern part of the Gorely Log valley and in the northwest of the Mynbulak valley. Sivers apple trees grow in the vicinity of the valley.
Transfer: Kokzhota valley - Mynbulak valley - Maket Kol lake (14 km).
From the Kokzhota valley our way lies to the northwest to the southern slopes of the Shatyrbay ridge, from here we turn to the northwest and drive along the picturesque Mynbulak valley. The Mynbulak valley is located in a small intermontane depression in the northern part in a natural depression, which is the Maket Kol lake, this is one of the picturesque places in the northern foothills of the Dzhungar Alatau.
Lake Maket Kol is located at an altitude of 1100 meters above sea level, in the northern part of it there is a bulk dam, which blocked the sources of the Malyi Zhalanash River.
The lake has two swampy channels of small streams in the western direction and one channel on the northeastern side. The length of the lake from southwest to northeast is 706 meters, the greatest width in the central part is 197 meters.
In the southwestern part of the lake, a rare Lychnis, a beautiful plant with red flowers, grows, which gives the lake a peculiar color against the background of the snowy peaks of the Dzhungar Alatau. Walk in the environs of the lake.
Transfer: Maket Kol lake - Bolshoi Zhalanash river - Aganakty river - Karbushka river gorge (11 km).
From Maket Kol, our way lies to the east, we will ford the Bolshoi Zhalanash river over the bridge over the Agantakty river and head to the gorge of the Karbushka river. On the left bank of the river, there are thickets of Sievers apple trees, a little higher on the right bank of the river, there is a forest nursery. Walk in the surroundings. Lunch on the way.
Transfer: Karbushka river - Zhalanash valley - Aganakty river - Lepsinsk settlement (15 km).
We ford the Karbushka river and along the river valleys of Aganakty and Bolshoy Zhalanash we head to the settlement of Lepsinsk. The settlement got its name from the name of the Lepsa river, whose sources are in the mountains of the Dzhungar Alatau.
During the domination of the Dzungars, there was the headquarters of one of the Kalmyk khans. With the defeat of the Khanate in 1758, the Manchus and the Chinese, the empty lands of Semirechye began to be populated by the Kirghiz and Kaisaks of the Middle and Big Hordes.
The first settlers settled here in 1855 - 1856, they were two hundred Siberian Cossacks from 6,7,8 and 9 regiments of the Siberian linear Cossack army and 200 peasant families. The first batch of Cossack migrants arrived on 18.06.1855.
The place for the settlement was the valley of the Lepsa River. Visit to the forest nursery of the Lepsinsky branch. Accommodation in a guest house, dinner, overnight.
Day 4. Lepsinsk settlement (20 km).
reakfast. Trip to the Chernovskoye valley to inspect the giant Sivers apple tree. Transfer: Lepsinsk - Black river valley (5 km).
Walk in the environs, inspecting the ancient Sievers apple tree, an aboriginal Kazakh species, which survived all the cataclysms of nature. From here you can observe a beautiful panorama of the village of Lepsink, the course of the Lepsy River, apple orchards, herbs, raspberry thickets, picturesque views of the mountains. Lunch on nature.
Walk to the relict gardens of Sivers apple, black plum, aspen. The aromas of the herbs of this natural belt exude all around: oregano, sage, chamomile, etc. The air rings from the chirping of various insects and cicadas, echoing the voices of birds.
Here, tourists can see the panoramas of the village of Lepsinsk, the Piketnaya, Chernaya Rechka, Maslova, Uigentas valleys. Walk to the thickets of raspberries and apple orchards consisting of varieties: Aport, White filling, Sivers, Limonka. End of the walk, return to Lepsinsk, dinner, overnight.
Day 5. Lepsinsk - Almaty (547 km).
Breakfast. Transfer: Lepsinsk - Kabanbai settlement - Koilyk village - Sarkand village - Zhansugurov village - Taldykorgan town - Kapshagai town - Almaty.
Lunch on the way. Arrival in Almaty, end of the tour.         

Stone valley Aulie tas. Photo by Maksut Shamshudinov.Petroglyphs Bayanbai. Photo by Maksut Shamshudinov.The village of Topolevka.Dzhungar Alatau mountains.Petroglyphs Bayanbai. Photo by Maksut Shamshudinov.                                         

Authors program by Alexander Petrov. Copying and use of the material - with the permission of the author

Photos by
 Alexander Petrov.