Ulytau (from Kazakh  “the great mountains») is an incredibly interesting part of Central Kazakhstan, justly considered “the cradle of the Kazakh nation”.

The Ulytau mountains always attracted the attention of nomads. Here was situated the headquarters of the oldest son of Genghis-khan – Zhoshy (Juchi), who became ancestor of most of the Kazakh rulers. Moreover, here graphic evidence of historical events, connected with the name of Tamerlane the Great, can also be found. It’s remarkable, that exactly in the Ulytau mountains the grave of Alasha-khan – the legendary ancestor of the Kazakh nation – is situated. The Stone Age, the Bronze era, the Middle Ages and the new time – all the periods of history are presented in the Ulytau in their own particular and manifold way.

The landscapes of the Ulytau are original and diverse: steppes alternate with amazing mountains and forests, a little more to the south real sand-dunes begin. You will get an opportunity to familiarize yourself with the flora and fauna of 3 ecosystems at once, each being unique and interesting in its own way. As for the steppe, you can give a look at it after ascending Yedyge and Auliye – two most sacred peaks of this mountain oasis.

The traditional Kazakh hospitality also awaits you. In houses of these friendly people you’ll be able to find shelter and repast, as well as get to know the traditional way of life better. In addition, the Ulytau is considered to be the place where the geographical center of Kazakhstan is situated, the corresponding monument is erected here.

Thread of the route

Karaganda city – Zhezkazgan city – Shotkara ancient settlement – Alasha-Khan, Zhoshy and Dombauyl mausoleums – Ulytau village – Auliye mountain – Sarlyk village – Altynshoky hill – Sarlyk village – the Tamdy river valley – Sarlyk village – Akzhar mountains – Sarlyk village – Zyngyrtas place — Baskamyr ancient settlement – Zhezdy village – Zhezkazgan city – Terekty-Auliye tract – Karaganda city
The total length of the route is about 1900 km.

Program of the tour

Day 1
Traveling from Karaganda to Zhezkazgan city (530 km, 8 hours). Lunch on the way in Atasu. Arrival to Zhezkazgan city, accommodation in a hotel. Dinner.

Day 2
Breakfast. Exploring the city, excursion to the historico-archaeological museum. Traveling from Zhezkazgan to Shotkara ancient settlement (35 km, 50 min), observation of the settlement. Way to mausoleum of eldest son of Genghis Khan – Jochi Khan (11 km, 20 min), exploring of mausoleum and ruins of khan’s capital. Way to Dombauyl mausoleum, which was built in the period of Huns domination (5 km, 10 min), observation. Traveling to  Alasha-khan mausoleum (85 km, 1.5 hours), excursion to the mausoleum of legendary ancestor of the Kazakh people and walk around the surrounding necropolis. Lunch afield. Traveling to Ulytau village (15 km, 30 min.) with visiting Duzen mausoleum (XIX century) on the way. Overnight stop in a guest-house, dinner.

Day 3
Breakfast. Traveling from Ulytau to the foot of Auliye mountain (2 km, 15 min.). Ascending  sacred Auliye mountain (there and back – 2.5 hours, about 400 metres ascent) – the highest point of the Ulytau mountains (1133 metres), attracting pilgrims from all over the country. Watching ancient graves of the 7 Saints on the top, exploring the cave. Descending and way to Sarlyk village (40 km, 1 hour), accommodation in a guest-house. Lunch. Traveling from Ulytau to Altynshoky (55 km, 1.5 hours). Ascending the hill, where the copy of the stone with the inscription made by order of Tamerlane during his campaign to the Golden Horde, as well as rests of the smelting furnace, with the help of which the inscription was made, are situated. Way back to the village. Acquaintance with the life of local people. Dinner.

Day 4
Breakfast. Excursion to the Tamdy river valley and petroglyphes situated there (40km, 1,5 hour). Visiting the three main points of petroglyphs  placement (total — about 20 km), exploring petroglyphs. On request — swimming in the river. Way back to Sarlyk village (40 km, 1,5 hour). Lunch.  Traveling to Akzhar mountains (72 km, 2 hours). Walking around beautiful yellow-red rocks of the Cretaceous period. Way back to the village (72 km, 2 hours).

Day 5
Breakfast. Traveling to Zyngyrtas place, famous for its petroglyphs and “clanking” stones (49 km, 2 hours), observation. Traveling to the medieval settlement Baskamyr (76 km, 1,5 hour), visiting the monument of unity of the people of Kazakhstan, erected in the geographical center of the country, on the way. Excursion around the settlement of the 8-12 centuries and  archaeological dig of the Bronze age settlement. Lunch afield. Traveling to the Zhezdy village (22 km, 30 min). Visiting the museum of history of mining and smelting. Traveling from Zhezdy to Zhezkazgan (65 km, 1 hour). Accommodation in a hotel, dinner.

Day 6
Traveling from Zhezkazgan to the Terekty place. (94 km, 1 hour). Walking excursion around the Terekty archaeological complex – the most famous collection of the petroglyphs of the Bronze age in Central Kazakhstan, visiting the nearby necropolis. Way from Terekty to Karaganda (445 km, 7 hours), lunch on the way in a roadside cafe. Arrival to Karaganda. Farewell party

Cost per person

Size of group







Price, KZT







The above-mentioned prices include: all the journeys by all-wheel drive minibus according to the programme of the tour, services of a driver and an English-speaking guide-interpreter, accommodation in guesthouses and tents, three meals a day, visiting museums mentioned in the program, sleeping bag and sleeping pad rent.

The above-mentioned prices do not include: visa expenses and consular fees, insurance, the price of getting to the starting point of the route (Karaganda city) and back. 

If required the tour can be adapted according to the schedule of arrival and departure flights of the participants. In this case the cost of the tour may slightly change.

The program of the tour might be changed due to the force majeure circumstances, including (but not limited to):
official prohibitions on visiting specially protected areas (national parks, reserves, sanctuaries, etc.) due to epizootics or epidemics, fire-setting and other reasons;
official prohibitions on visiting sites, located in the territory of the former Semipalatinsk nuclear test site and Kurchatov town, Saryshagan test site, Baikonur city and Cosmodrome site, and other areas with limited access;
cancellation/postponement of plane, train and other transfers;
extreme weather conditions (steppe fire, snowstorms, lasting rainstorms, etc.) and its consequences (washed out roads, snow drifts, damaged bridges, etc.);
traffic restrictions (closures);
other natural and administrative circumstances beyond the control of the company “Nomadic Travel Kazakhstan”.