Astana is a fascinating place. It only became the capital 20 years ago and because of this, the entire city is meticulously planned by… a Japanese architect! Kisho Kurokawa’s design of the city is focused on the “age of life” principle, embodying design traits like the Metabolism architectural movement (megastructures with organic biological growth) and Symbiosis movement (growth, development and interaction between now and old spaces). This resulted in a symphony of ornate Soviet-style Wedding Cake buildings, next to extreme minimalist Soviet apartments, next to huge glass pyramids pulled out of Sci-Fi movie.
Almaty is a European city lost in time. We kicked off the next section of our adventure on a ‘noddy’ to the beautiful lakes of Kaindy and Kolsai in the Almaty region. They call the car a noddy because that’s all your head does throughout your journey down the bumpy road.
No photo I took could do Kaindy lake justice. Kaindy is sunken forest of petrified birch tree poles. A limestone landslide in 1911 caused neighboring slope to collapse and create a dam. Rainwater subsequently turned it into a lake. The water is icy cold and crystal clear – you can see deep into the turquoise water of Kaindy. The submerged braches of the birch trees collect moss, making the trunks look more like an eerie shipwreck from Pirates of the Caribbean.
The Kolsay Lakes is a series of 3 lakes at the northern slope of the Tian Shan Mountains. The furthest lake is only 10km from Kyrgyzstan so most (70+%) of the park is under strict protection/surveillance. Lower Kolsay Lake, at an altitude if 1,818m), is a reservoir created by landslides that blocked the Kolsay River.