Looking at the pictures people often mix up our Charyn Canyon with the Great Canyon in America. Indeed, if you do not go into detail - it seems similar. But the charm of nature, in fact, consists of small things, and without going into details, you may as well travel via the Internet.
Charyn gathers its waters from the slopes of Ketmen, Terskey Alatau and it is the biggest inflow of the main artery of the Semirechye-Ili. However, the length of the river hardly reaches 200 kilometers. But these two hundred kilometers can boast of such diversity of riverside’s landscapes that other major river can be envy about it.
When people talk about the canyon Charyn, they usually do not tell the truth. Because it is correct to talk about canyons (plural) that were created by the river that has been working on it for million years.
At the riverhead, where Charyn run into dauk cliffs of Aktogai, it is still a powerful mountain river, raging at such depth that only a faint rustling reaches to the edges of the precipice. If you follow the subalpine plateau, you can see only steppe, abutting in the distant mountains. And then, suddenly, in the middle of this flat steppe arise crowns of thirty meters tall Tien Shan firs. Another step, and right under your feet yawns a narrow slit, where white from foam stream of the river meanders at the bottom.
Downstream river crosses a maze of small mountains that rain floods carved into solid light clays. Here is own world, nerve and philosophy. You can wander around the lifeless gorges of the White Mountains for a week. And every day will bring surprises and make you wonder of this entire riot of nature. Here, for example, you can find mysterious caves, extending tens of meters in the depth of ancient clay, which quirky shapes resemble the Indonesian temples.
Further down is the famous red strata of the Tertiary period, the most popular and visited places on the Charyn. Here is the famous Valley of Castles, which is something mixed up with the Grand Canyon. But, unlike its North American twin, our valley is compact, cozy and does not suffer from attacks of wild Apaches.
Charyn’s start and end are not typical. At the lower course, it has a piece of relic ash forest. It is the last "goodbye" from the time when the territory of modern Kazakhstan was not a familiar steppe, but a dense forest, similar to the forest that covers vast expanses of southern Siberia.
Under the canopy of the ancient Sogdian ash you have the feeling that it is possible to penetrate into the depths of the time. Even the Charyn is full of dignity and greatness here; at this part it is a quiet and calm river that slowly glides its dull green waters toward Ili. But for several decades Ili is not there anymore, in its place is splashing man-made sea Kapchagai.