Singing Barkhan

Go to Singing Barkhan

Go To Singing Barkhan


The singing barkhan is perhaps the most beautiful and extraordinary natural object; not only in the national park Altyn-Emel, but also in the whole republic. This miracle came to be due to a combination of water and air erosion. The Ili river, with its powerful flow, blurred the coastal part and turned the sand into hard debris. A rather arid climate did not allow plants to grow instantly on the sand sediments. The strong wind that often blows in these places just lifted and carried huge clouds of sand away.

On the right bank, there were mountain ranges of Big and Small Kalkana, which created a barrier that helped sand to settle. In addition, a quite strong wind regime for this area allowed sand to be re-blown, but without any significant movement. Thanks to this, barkhan has remained in place for almost a few millenniums.

Barkhans alone is a rare phenomenon itself, but is far from being unique. Many people think that barkhans like ours only appear in deserts, but this is not the case. Such barkhans are formed only in foothills. It is all about special wind erosion, which takes sand and water, and special patterns of the wind contribute to accumulation.

Why is it singing after all? It’s really simple, but very interesting. For the most part barkhan consists of pure quartz sand. When crumbling, the sand starts the friction process while electrifying. Then the vibration of the rolling sand transforms into a hum that distantly resembles the sound of the organ. The more sand involved in this peculiar orchestra, the louder the sound of the barkhan becomes. Many tourists, in order to amplify the sound, slide down a steep slope on a sliding surface. At first, they are accompanied by a kind of buzz, which gradually turns into a powerful howl.

Local people believe that there is an evil spirit inside the mountain, which was put there by Allah, and it makes the sand sound.

Due to constant winds, there is no flora or fauna on the surface of the Barkhan. The wind just does not allow seeds to be taken hold, Which isn’t suitable for growth. However, at the foot of the slope, the life of sand-loving plants begins, just like sandy deserts with their inherent fauna. If you do not leave after another concert of barkhan, you will probably be able to come across some representatives of the fauna of these places.