World’s first apple trees originated in mountains of Kazakhstan, researchers say

The earliest apple trees on the planet appeared on the territory of Kazakhstan. Nowadays, this theory has a lot of evidence from scientists from all over the world. In the meantime, German film director Antje Majewski decided to make the film about the wild Sievers apples from Kazakhstan. She has travelled to almost every continent to implement her vision. Most of the film was shot in the mountainous area of Almaty. Researchers believe that the Garden of Eden of Adam and Eve was located there.

“My film is about apples, where they come from, which is your country, Kazakhstan. And I’m trying to find out about the genetic source of our cultured apples that we eat today and found in the mountains was the wild Sievers apple forests that still grow in Kazakhstan. I’m following the development of the apple into a fruit, into a cultured fruit that is today to be found all over the world,” said the film director.

The author of the film not only tells the story of the origin of the foremother of all apple trees and its domestication, but also tries to explore the problems caused today by mass industrial production. For millions of years, apple trees have thrived in the mountains, but today, because of breeding work, the amazing and ancient plant, whose fruits, as researchers joke, were eaten by dinosaurs, is in danger of disappearing forever.

“If during the expedition of Nikolai Vavilov, we had about 50,000 hectares of apple forests, to date we have no more than 10 percent of that, probably 5,000 hectares. It’s a big problem that we have to address. It’s not only a problem of our institute, it is a global problem,” explained Serik Sadykov, Chairperson of the Kazakh Fruit and Vegetable Research Institute.

To date, there are 12 reserves of the wild Sievers apple trees in Kazakhstan. After visiting the apple orchards, the German film director notes that it is a completely unique tree, each of them is special and differs both in appearance and in taste. And it has a distinctive flavour.

“I would say I filmed really a lot, and editing process took me more than 1 year to be able to say what is more important, what not. And I kept also scenes from Kazakhstan because for me this was the core of my film, the parts that personally touched me the most, I would say. Because this journey to Kazakhstan had for me something miraculous. If you find out about the origin of a fruit that you have eaten your whole life and you didn’t know where it was coming from, it’s almost like going to the source of a river to find out where it started, then it becomes a big river and finally it becomes the sea. This was the case with Sievers apples and our apples globally,” Majewski added.

The premiere of Majewski’s film ‘The Freedom of Apples’ took place in Almaty. The screening of a documentary ‘The Father of Apples - Aimak Dzhangaliyev’ was also held there. It’s about a legendary Kazakh scientist who devoted his life to studying the mother of all apples on Earth.


Translation by Assem Zhanmukhanova

Editing by Galiya Khassenkhanova