The Altay Mountains, 430 mi/700 km northeast of Almaty, present some of the most unspoiled beauty in Central Asia—waterfalls, forests and meadows rather than the stark flatlands that you'll see in the rest of the country. Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and Russia meet at the 14,800-ft-/4,500-m-high pinnacle of Mount Belukha, which is part of the range. According to ancient Buddhists, Belukha is a pole of spiritual energy connected to Tibet and the Pamir Mountains; anyone who climbs Belukha will be blessed with longevity and health.
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