The Konyr-Aulie Cave, or the Cave of St. Konyr, is the largest cave in East Kazakhstan.
This cave, going deep into the limestone Aktas Mountain, is worth visiting for by itself. However, the main center of attraction in the cave is the lake and its supposedly healing waters. It turned out to be saturated with useful minerals, among which is silicon. Legend has it that in ancient times people were recovering there from diseases and injuries between battles when they took a dip in this lake. Some even say that the water and the energy of the place can heal women from infertility.
In the 18th century, during the Kazakh-Dzungar war, the cave was used by both the Dzungars and the Kazakhs as a refuge and a military stronghold. The cave is also believed to have been once visited by Abai Qunanbaiuly, an outstanding Kazakh poet, composer, and philosopher. The cave is mentioned described in the novel “The Path of Abai” by Mukhtar Auezov.
Konyr-Aulie Cave is about 150 meters (164 yd) deep, however, it’s not yet explored fully. Three lakes are hidden in its depth. The average air temperature in the cave is +10oC (50oF), and the water temperature in the lake is +4oC (39oF). The underground reservoir, where the pilgrims dive, reaches 5 m (16.4 ft) in depth.
Konyr-Aulie Cave owes its name to the legend of three brothers - Konyr, Kyran, and Kulan. During the ancient Fflood, they allegedly didn’t manage to get on Noah's ark. So the brothers tied themselves to the logs, which they fastened over the side of the ark. But a strong waves broke off the logs and scattered them in different directions. Konyr's log had stopped at the entrance to a cave. In memory of the hero, people named called the cave after him.
Useful tips for 2021–2022
How to get there
Konyr-Aulie is located in the Aktas Mountain Gorge, 20 km (12.4 mi) away from the village of Toktamys and 80 km (50 mi) away from the village of Karaul in the East Kazakhstan Province. Konyr-Aulie Cave in the East Kazakhstan Province is not to be confused with the eponymous cave located near Bayanaul in the Pavlodar Province.
The closest nearest city to the cave is Semey. If you start off your trip from this citythis city is the starting point of your trip, first you’ll have to drive 200 km (124 mi) to the village of Karaul along the R-138 highway. Then drive another 80 km (50 mi) along the dirt roads of the Shyngyz Mountains. We recommend that you contact one of the travel agencies of the city of Semey and book a tour that can also take you to the Museum of Abai Qunanbaiuly in Jidebay, the monument to Enlik-Kebek, and many more attractions.
Food and accommodation
You can stay for the night in a guest house near the cave or go to the nearest village of Toktamys, where you will find a hotel and a cafe. There are also hotels in the village of Karaul, the most popular being “Er-Nur” and “Enlik-Dimash.” Karaul is also home to several cafes and grocery stores. After exploring the sights and attractions of the region, you can also return to the city of Semey for the night.