Arys River is one of the most important rivers in southern Kazakhstan. It comes to the region from the mountains of Aksu Zhabagly Nature Reserve, passes 30 km north of Shymkent, then ends up in Syr Daria River.
Arys River (Арыс өзені in Kazakh) starts in the mountain range of Talas Alatau, Western Tian Shan, in the district of Zhambul. Then it comes in the district of Turkestan, crossing valleys then steppes.
Arys River has an important role in regional fields and ricefields irrigation since medieval times, making its basin a prosperous agricultural oasis. Its valley was crossed by the northern branch of the Silk Road and many ancient cities were built there, including the famous city of Otyrar.
Photo: Gaëlle Bal