Avalon Historico-Geographical Society
Avalon Historico-Geographical Society public association is a non-profit NGO which was founded on July 22, 2004 with the aim of popularizing and promoting knowledge in the field of geography and history, promoting Kazakhstan in particular and Central Asia in general as travel destinations, preserving of the region’s natural, historical and cultural heritage, elaborating of environmental decisions and combating climate change, including development of ecotourism and alternative means of transport. In the spring of 2007 "Avalon" public foundation was founded in order to provide additional support of the Society’s projects. At the present moment "Avalon" HGS" PA and "Avalon" PF work in close collaboration and, in fact, act as a unified structure with common aims and subject of activities, as well as common personnel and office.
Publishing activity, concerned with the travels and tourism in Central Asia, is one of the key branches of Avalon's activities. It is performed in the framework of numerous projects both independently and in cooperation with numerous partners, including "Silk Road Media" publishing company (www.centralasia.travel). In this connection a number of titles has been published so far, namely four editions of electronic guidebook "Avalon Kazakhstan eBook" (in English), four editions of magazine-guide "Discovery Kazakhstan" (in English and German), two editions of "Discovery Tajikistan" (in English and Russian), Map-scheme of tourist objects of Central Kazakhstan (in English, Russian and Kazakh). Also "Avalon" prepared materials for the "Wanaway" virtual travels system (www.wanaway.com).
In the framework of its activities on biodiversity protection and ecological tourism development, "Avalon" operates in Central Kazakhstan and in the Northern Tien Shan region (Kazakhstan-Kyrgyzstan). Since 2008 in cooperation with Karaganda Ecomuseum (www.ecomuseum.kz) and Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union of Germany (NABU) (www.nabu.de) a network of guesthouses has been established in Central Kazakhstan (mountain oases of Kyzylarai, Ulytau and Kent), more than ten tourist routes, which are now used by "Nomadic Travel Kazakhstan" company (www.nomadic.kz), have been elaborated. Since 2013 "Avalon" in cooperation with NABU, RDF (www.rdf.in.kg) and ACBK (www.acbk.kz) has been engaged in the realization of a transboundary project on biodiversity protection in the Northern Tien Shan region. The project will result in creation of an integrated management system of 4 specially protected natural areas, located in the territory of the region in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
We are also engaged into activities concerning climate change, including consulting and analytics in the area, awareness raising, educational programs implementation, renewable energy sources promotion, introduction of environmentally friendly approaches and projects implementation in climatic adaptation and limitation of climate change.
"Avalon" organizes and holds expeditions of various kinds (bicycle, mountain etc.), some of which have ethnographic aims or are held with the aim of reconstruction of the journeys which had taken place in the past. A special branch of activities is dedicated to holding of the expeditions aiming at organization of independent archaeological investigations. "Avalon" provides complex support of third-party expeditions in the territory of Kazakhstan, as well as holds regular meetings of the Travellers’ club in Karaganda city.
Since 2007 "Avalon" has been engaged in the activities dedicated to development of cycling culture and infrastructure, which later came to be known as "Cycling Karaganda" civic initiative (www.velocity.kz). These activities are aimed at promotion of a bicycle as an ecologically friendly alternative to motor vehicles in Central Kazakhstan. In this connection bicycle-related events of various kinds are held regularly, namely "Karaganda-VeloCity" annual bicycle festival (since 2008) and "Avalon-Trophy" bicycle race (since 2011), Karkaraly bicycle cross (since 2011), as well as numerous bicycle marches. "Avalon" supports the work of Central-Kazakhstani bicycle forum (www.veloforum.guide.kz, which has more than 400 users), mounts bicycle stands, works out suggestions for the authorities regarding establishment of the first elements of bicycle infrastructure in the city.
"Avalon" holds Survival courses, as well as English courses for travelers "Travel English" on the regular basis. We are also engaged in educational and consulting activities in the field of ecological tourism development and travel destinations promotion.
"Avalon" HGS is a member organization (membership fee makes 2400 tenge per person annually) and it always welcomes those who wish to join. Full and associate members of "Avalon", as well as "young Avalonians" have right to take part in the activities and management of the organization. They are also granted some particular privileges, defined in the Charter and at the "Avalon"'s website.