Big Almaty gorge

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Main area attractions are Big Almatinka – the Prokhodnaya river, waterfalls Ayusay, Big Almaty Lake and resort Alma-Arasan with the hydrogen-sulphidous-carbonate- siliceous and sodium terms with temperature from 9 to 38 degrees.

For tourists -orthodox, who are slowly disappearing every year, gorge of Big Almatinka is associated with the hike from the last stop of bus 28 to the lake, and of course along the pipe.

Once instead of pipe there was a beautiful waterfall, which water flew down from the lake, which was not called Big Almaty Lake, but just - Almaty. But then cheerful Soviet conquerors of the nature came and directed waterfall to the pipe; they decided that waterfall should not just flow, but it should work on the needs of the economy. Let it spin dynamo.

An opinion exists that the Japanese, captured in Manchuria, helped in this construction. But Almaty Seniors remember that they worked there themselves, using technique of people’s construction. Whatever it was, but since then we have one fascinating natural sight less and one technological one more. Water through the pipe falls from the height of the lake directly to the turbines of the cascade of hydroelectric station’s and still properly turns the turbine. And lovers of active holidays enjoy the most direct access to the lake - pipe.

Big Almatinka, and especially its tributaries such as Kumbel –su, is not only a clean water, but also usual for glacial rivers of Trans-Ili Alatau - mudflow danger. The river is known for many mudflows that happened in 1921, 1934, 1950. The mudflow that occurred on July 8, 1950 was particularly disastrous, there were casualties. Four mud-stone swells, 5 meters height, damaged hydroelectric power station, destroyed homes in the gorge, bridges and roads, killed over 400 domestic animals. Granite boulders up to 5 meters in diameter tell us about the strength of disaster.

40 meters high dam at the entrance to the valley, according to the creators, must protect downstream banks, built-up restaurants and villas from disaster. But who should protect river from uncontrolled development - this is a rhetorical question.

Geographic information

Big Almatinka has two equivalent sources – river Ozernaya and river Prokhodnaya. However, it is believed that Prokhodnaya is just a tributary, and under the name "Big" river flows from Big Almaty Lake. There are even more radical views, which say that river flows into the lake under the same majestic name. And its length, according to various sources, is more that 89 - 96 kilometers.

Like its little namesake, Big Almatinka also crosses the city and flows into Kaskelen, and with it into Kapshagay (and then into Ili and Balkhash). Significant part of the city is supplied by pure glacier water from natural mountain reservoir - Big Almaty Lake. There, in the gorge, is a hydropower station that supplies some districts of the city with cheap electricity.

In the upper stream both flows are connected with comfortable mountain passes to Chon-Kemin valley (passes - Ozernyi (3620m) and Prokhodnoi), then to Chu Valley and Issyk Kul. Probably, this pass ability is superiority of Big Almatinka relative to deadlock of Minor Almatinka Gorge.

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