Torysh Valley

Yet another astonishing tourist destination within Mangystau, embraced by the enchantment of nature, unveils itself as the Torysh Valley. Scattered across the expanse are myriads of spheres, ranging in size from the grand to the diminutive. While similar stones can indeed be encountered in other corners of this region, it is here, within the Torysh Valley, that they form their most luxurious cluster.

Geological formations, ranging in diameter from a few centimeters to a meter, predominantly assume spherical contours, although occasional discoveries of mushroom and egg-shaped stones also grace the landscape.

Pebbles and cobblestones, presenting an array of hues—brown, gray, and beige —bestrew the terrain, enhancing the scenic tapestry of this valley.

However, despite its distinctive allure and enigma, the Torysh valley has been studied very little. That is why scientists have not yet come to a single conclusion about the history of stones and how they were formed. Notwithstanding, various hypotheses abound.

Фото: Ерболат Шадрахов

The formations consist of sedimentary rock layers, a blend of clay and sand, sculpted into spherical forms over countless eons through the relentless dance of erosion and geological forces. Within this realm, one encounters not solely intact stones, but also fractured and cleaved specimens. Upon closer inspection, the stones reveal a distinct differentiation in composition between the ‘core’ nestled within and the surrounding strata.

Some scientists associate these stones with bodies that fell from the sky, and posit that these stones, long after their celestial descent, morphed into spheres under the persistent caress of wind and water—a silent evolution played out over aeons.

According to an alternative theory, tectonic shifts in the earth’s crust generated powerful electrical charges, causing molten rock to crystallize into granules. These particles subsequently attracted deposits of clay and sand, and through the alchemy of weathering, the stones that adorn our vision today were carefully forged. In another geological interpretation, these stones appeared about 20 million years ago. In that era, the ancestral ocean Tethys, abundant in plankton, adorned the very land that this valley now occupies. It is hypothesized that these marine organisms may be the basis of these spherical nodules. With the passage of time and the retreat of the water, the stones remained on the earth’s shores, shrouded in clay and sand, and eventually acquired their spherical appearance.

Фото: Александр Кузнецов

In addition to these scientific reflections, the mystery of the Torysh stones is shrouded in many legends. Some whisper tales of these mystical formations as prehistoric dinosaur eggs, but the limits of science refute such notions due to the varying sizes of the spheres. Another legend whispers that the indigenous people of this valley, owning the power of prayer, turned their opponents into these same stones.

The natural beauty and mystery of the Valley of the Balls, which served as the basis for various hypotheses and legends, attract the attention of many naturalists, as well as domestic and foreign tourists. This region is an indispensable place for hiking and special photo shoots. To see the unique landscape and geological wonders of Mangistau with your own eyes, it is worth visiting the Torysh Valley.