Paul Salopek on the threat to Bozjyra

DOCA JerSu Kazakhstan

Paul Salopek on the threat to Bozjyra

February 4, 2021

Mangystau, Kazakhstan

Bozjyra is one of Kazakhstan’s gems and one of the most beautiful and unusual places on Earth. For several months now, the landscapes of Bozjyra and its ecosystem have been under threat of destruction. Adamdar/CA asked Paul Salopek, a distinguished American writer and explorer, to comment on the situation surrounding Bozjyra.

Paul Salopek during his visit to Bozjyra in 2016. Image from Out of Eden Walk project's Instagram page.

“I had the privilege of hiking past Bozjyra, the remote, soaring white cliffs of western Kazakhstan, in 2016. It is truly one of the great remaining temples of natural beauty left on Earth. That it is being desecrated for quick profit by greedy commercial developers is a crime not just against the Kazakh people, who are the collective stewards of this unique natural heritage, but also a severe blow against the threatened species who inhabit the region, including shy and rare mountain sheep and antelope. This ill-conceived project represents an assault on an unspoiled landscape of global significance. We can’t look away.”


Paul Salopek is an American writer, journalist, documentarian and explorer. A two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and National Geographic Fellow, he created a unique project called Out of Eden Walk.

Background and other materials on this topic:

“Saving Bozjyra” — interview with Azhar Dzhandosova
“Bozjyra: On the border between the earthly and the otherworldly” — essay by cultural scientist Zira Naurzbayeva on the cultural and sacred meaning of the Bozjyra site
“Activists demand protection for Bozjyra”
“Breakthrough in Efforts to Protect Bozjyra”
“Bozjyra under threat again”

The editors of Adamdar/CA continue to follow the situation surrounding Bozjyra.

Published: February 4, 2021