"...On a relatively small piece of land, 20 versts (1 verst= 3500 ft.) in diameter, there are cliffs resembling the Caucasus and Altai overgrown with spruces; here is the wonderful combination of the elements of water represented by a lot of big and small lakes, with water, clear as a crystal, and surrounded by barricades of rocks with most fantastic shapes like mushrooms, churches, pillars, destroyed roofs, etc." Ivan Yakovlevich Slovtsov, Russian geographer and explorer, described Borovoe like this, when he was visiting Kokshetau district of Akmola region in 1878.
Not many people would be surprised by the enchanting hills and lakes of Kokshetau in Kazakhstan. I will not be mistaken if I say that half of our compatriots have visited this place for vacation during the days of the Soviet Union, and the second half is still listening to the enthusiastic reviews. But the views of Borovoe and surroundings, in the perception of millions, are limited to the warm and frivolous summer pictures from vacations time on "high season".
When people are not there nobody to remember; and season at the resort is automatically declared "dead", which is doubtful epithet. If forests and lakes are not resound with happy shouts, are they - died? Not at all. Everything is just going back to normal. Nature goes to its first-born status and people go to their civilization.
But if you really want to know and feel Borovoe in all its strength and beauty, you have to come here in winter. It is the time when you can relax and fully enjoy the solitude (not on holidays and weekends, though). Moreover, such possibility is becoming more illusory each year. Relative proximity of Borovoe to poor neighborhoods of Astana has already begun to transform it into a year-round resort; with all the ensuing consequences...
Winter has many advantages over the summer here. You can, for example, go on to the lakes straight from shore to shore "like on dry land" (fortunately, the ice is so hard that it withstands even a tractor). You can come and familiarly pat the Sphinx (the island – rock) on its granite side; or stand on cross country skis, put in your pocket some food and go to the one -day trip around the area; or, dress warmly and sit down with small jig over the hole and pull out from under the ice a sleepy roach. You have mass of options.
If there is no wind, then winter in the Kokshe mountains is very silent and only woodpeckers are dare to violate it. But the calm is a rare pattern for local nature. A whirlwind immediately fills surroundings with icy howling, whispers of pines and hard rustling of drift snow.
Sitting under the pines reminds of Japan, with its itinerant poets and tea houses, constructed so that the wind from the pine forest reaches the tea lovers; only then tea meditation process is considered the most complete and memorable. The "dead-season" in Borovoe is also ideal for meditation. You do not have to lock on teacup (less lock on cups, at all!), but on the local air.
You should breathe Borovoe! Air is unique here, nowhere else in the world is such air. At least, I have not seen any other place ("Where people can breathe so freely!"). No wonder, why sick and weak people were coming here in olden time.They were cured only by the local air!