The slopes of Alatau, located in southern Kazakhstan, host the blossoming of apple trees between the end of April and the beginning of May. A spectacle of this region considered the “historical homeland” of the apple, since its land sprouted the tree ‘Sievers’, ancestor of all the apple trees on Earth, which is between 60 and 150 million years old.
Along with the Sievers wild apple trees, named in honour of Johann Sievers, the German botanist who discovered them in 1796, Kazakhstan is currently working for the recovery of the apple as a identity symbol of the country, which was a key element in the origin and expansion of one of the most popular fruits.
The apples expanded through the ancient silk routes that crossed the Kazakh territory to the Mediterranean, and later they came to everyone.
The fruit of Almaty
Among the objectives of this work is the recovery of the Aport, the typical apple variety of Almaty, -city whose old name “Alma-Ata” means ‘ father of apples ‘, and whose production, together with the Sievers, is in danger after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1990, when dozens of hectares of plantation were torn down to build chalets.
“We have neglected the Aport, so we are trying to correct that mistake,” said the researcher of the Kazakhstan Scientific Research Institute of Fruit and Vegetables, Svetlana Alexeenko, who indicates that currently they have “five hectares” of cloned variety of Aport.
Almaty, the most populous city in the country, was the capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan until the year 1997, when capital came to Astana, located in the north of the country.
The importance of climate
This variety was introduced in Kazakhstan in the nineteenth century by the merchant Redkó, who revealed “their best qualities” in an environment at 1,100 meters above sea level in which it grows.
“Here the nights are cold, which gives greater color to apples, while the sun gives them more flavor, the variety felt very comfortable here and showed all its qualities, so everyone misses these fruits”, added Alexeenko.
Decades ago, Almaty’s apples, characterized by their large size and reddish colour, were sent every autumn to Moscow, the capital of the Soviet empire, since its particular taste between acid and sweet made them one of the fruits obliged in the feasts of the Kremlin.
In this way, the head of the selection department of the Kazakhstan Institute for Scientific Research in fruit and vegetables, Saule Kazibáeva, coincides that the apples of Almaty are distinguished from others by the “propitious” climatic conditions of the domains in which they mature.
“Kazakhs selectors began to work seriously with apples in 1933, bringing varieties of apples from around the world, choosing the best and adapting to our conditions”, has nuanced Kazibáeva.
To the rescue
For his part, the head of the biotechnology Laboratory of Kazakhstan’s Institute for Scientific Research in Fruit and Vegetables, Svetlana Dolguij, said that today the habitat of apple trees “is reduced” for anthropogenic reasons, for which UNESCO “has taken under its tutelage the gardens of Alatau”.
The former president Kazakh Nursultan Nazarbáyev catalogued last year in his article “The seven facets of the great steppe” the cradle of the modern apple as one of the seven features that unite the many ethnic groups that have shared Kazakhstan’s territory for thousands of years (Kazakhs, Russians, and to a lesser extent Uzbeks, Ukrainians and people of other nationalities). (May 2019, EFE/Practica Español).
Related news (17/09/2018)
Lee la noticia y responde las preguntas. (Read this piece of news and answer these questions)
Principalmente, en el texto se habla de… (Mainly in the text, it talks about…)
La religión y las etnias en Kazajistán.
Las manzanas y su relación con la región de Kazajistán.
La producción de manzanas en el mundo.
Según el texto, ¿en qué periodo se produce el florecimiento de los manzanos? (According to the text, in what period is the apple blossoming?)
De finales de abril a principios de mayo.
En el mes de mayo.
En el mes de abril.
Según el texto, ¿desde cuándo se encuentra en peligro la producción de manzanas en esta zona? (According to the text, since when is the production of apples in this area in jeopardy?)
Desde el siglo XIX.
Desde la ruptura de la Unión Soviética en 1990.
Desde el paso de la capital a Astaná en 1997.
Según Alexeenko, ¿qué es lo que da más sabor a las manzanas? (According to Alexeenko, what gives apples more flavor?)
¿Cómo cataloga la manzana el expresidente kazajo Nursultán Nazarbáyev? (How is the apple catalogued by the former president Kazakh Nursultan Nazarbáyev?)
Un bien escaso y pobre.
Uno de los bienes más importantes para el país.
Una de las características que unen a los numerosos grupos étnicos del territorio de Kazajistán.
La palabra florecimiento es un… (The word florecimiento is a…)
Un sinónimo del adjetivo propicio es… (A synonym of the adjective propicio is…)
El adjetivo ácido se refiere a… (The adjective ácido refers to…)
El sustantivo hábitat significa… (The noun hábitat means…)
Un lugar de condiciones inapropiadas para que viva un organismo.
Un lugar de condiciones apropiadas para que viva un organismo.
Un estilo de vida.
El artículo determinado para el sustantivo expansión es… (The determinated article of the noun expansión is…)