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Turanga groves.

Bird Watching Tours on Balkhash lake.

"There is nothing in which deduction is so necessary as religion," said he, leaning with his back against the shutters. "It can be built up as an exact science by the reasoner. Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to me to rest in the flowers. All other things, our powers, our desires, our food, are all really necessary for our existence in the first instance. But this rose is an extra. Its smell and its color are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it. It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers”

Arthur Conan Doyle. The Naval Treaty.

Photo Gallery of Karaganda region.

Not far from the town of Balkhash there are several groves of the relic turanga (the Asian poplar). Such groves can be found in the lower course of the Tokyrau River, near the Orta-Deresyn village and in some other places.
These trees are especially suitable for growing in sandy and saline lands. The turanga groves serve as a shelter during summer heat and fierce drought. From time immemorial the Kazakhs considered the turanga to be a sacred tree, due to its unique trait: the tree can weep (in certain periods of time the sap of the turanga percolates through the bark and becomes scarlet soon).
The people believed that the tree shed blood tears recalling its ancestors and the ancient times. To cut down the turanga was always considered a great sin. Due to its strong root system, plunging down into the soil to a depth up to 50 meters, the turanga is able to pump water from under sands.
That is why it survives in the severest climate of the Northern Pribalkhashye where almost everything withers in summer. Despite the great importance of the turanga for the area and its capability to prevent saline lands growth, the turanga groves have been endangered for many years.
This results from irrational pasture of cattle, fires and unauthorized deforestation.

Vitaliy Shuptar.

Alexander Petrov.