The Bayanaul Mountains might be rightfully called the most mysterious among all mountain ranges of Kazakhstan. Space-like, incredible, amazing, staggering, striking imagination – these are the words you often hear from travelers who visit the Bayanaul. The word Bayanaul is of Turkic origin, it can be translated as ‘happy, rich mountains’. The mountains look like a green oasis in the middle of the Kazakh steppes.
They are located on the left bank of the Irtysh River in the southwest of the Pavlodar Region of Kazakhstan. From the outside, it seems as if their slopes smoothly flow into each other. The mountain range is not very long and stretches from west to east for 40-50 km, and from north to south for 20-25 km. Mount Akbet (1,027m) is the highest point.
One can only wonder at the whimsical workings of Mother Nature who created such original and amazing sculptures of huge boulders. Many rocks have taken the form of an animal or even a man. There is Bun, Dove, Horse’s head, a stone in the shape of a flying saucer and even the silhouette of the great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin.
One of the most favorite stones is Baba-Yaga Rock. In Kazakh language, the name sounds like kempir tas, which translates as ‘a stone head’. The boulder really does look like a grinning head of an old woman with a curved nose. The profile is much reminiscent of a well-known fairy tale character from Slavic folklore. The rock is located near Lake Zhasybai near the village of Bayanaul, in the Bayanaul National Park. You can get a guided tour to it. There are benches, a barrier, and a guard house near the rock.
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