Ala Archa National Park
|Kyrgyz National Park "Ala-Archa"|
|Location||Chuy Region, Kyrgyzstan|
|Area||194 square kilometres (75 sq mi)|
In Kyrgyz, the archa, which gives the park its name, is a bright or many-colored juniper which the Kyrgyz people have traditionally held in special esteem, using smoke from its burning wood to chase away evil spirits. However, the archa is not supposed to be planted near the home, because it is believed gradually to sap the energy from human beings living close-by.
The park covers about 200 square kilometers, and its altitude ranges from about 1,500 meters at the entrance to a maximum of 4,895 meters at Semenov-Tian-Shansky Peak, the highest peak in the Kyrgyz Ala-Too Range of the Tian Shan. There are more than 20 small and large glaciers and some 50 mountain peaks within the park.
Two smaller rivers, the Adygene and the Ak-Sai, originate from these glaciers' melting waters. The Adygene gorge is a wooded valley with waterfalls, springs and abundant trout.
The park includes the gorge of the Ala-Archa River and the mountains surrounding it.
Mountain climbing is a popular activity within the park, which offers several peaks in the 4000m class:
A small reservoir on the Kargay-Bulak river was built to study the Amu Darya trout. Other wildlife includes the very rare snow leopard (in Kyrgyz: "ilbirs") on the alpine meadows and snowfields above 2,500 m elevation, wild goats, roe deer and marmots.
The snow leopard has been photographed by the park's camera for the first time in May 2017.
The park is a destination point for weekend picnickers, hikers, horse trekkers, skiers as well as mountain climbers looking for ice, rock and mixed routes. The park is open year round, although the most popular season is late summer and early fall. Every May 1, hundreds of people camp out in the valley and climb Mount Komsomolets for the Alpinada festival.
There is a nominal fee for entering the park. Past the gate, the road continues 12 km to a small collection of buildings, including one newly renovated lodge. At the end of the road, up a trail to the left (East), lies the Ak-Sai Glacier, where remains of a Soviet climbing base indicate the high quality mountaineering within the park. The region's most famous peaks rise from the Ak-Sai glacier, including Korona Peak (4860m) and Free Korea Peak (4740m). To the west of Ala Archa Valley is a trail to the Adygene valley where a climbers' cemetery is located. A third main trail continues down the center of the Ala-Archa valley for 10 km to an old, now abandoned, ski area and numerous other 4000m peaks.
- Особо охраняемые природные территории Кыргызской Республики (по состоянию на конец 2004 года) (Protected areas of the Kyrgyz Republic (as of the end of 2004)) (in Russian)
- Camera traps in Ala-Archa national park record snow leopard for first time, Akipress.com, 6 May 2017
- Hayes, Patrick. "KYRGYZSTAN" (PDF). kewguild.org.uk. Archived from the original (pdf) on 19 October 2014. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
- Sam Blum, This map shows every country's most popular tourist attractions, Thrillist.com, 21 December 2016
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