The secret soul of Kazakhstan is a project by Italian photographer Simone Donati and journalist Emanuele Coen who recount their journey in Kazakhstan along the Silk Road and through the forests of Tekeli where the planet’s oldest apple tree Malus Sieversii still grows.
How did you get to know about the Tekeli forests?
I heard that the 27th edition of the Carlo Scarpa Prize for Gardens had been awarded by the Scientific Committee of the Benetton Foundation to the wild apple forests since for the significance they hold as a symbol of biodiversity.
Can you tell us about the Malus Sieversii? What is so special about the history of this apple tree?
This apple tree is named after Johann Sievers, the German botanist who first described it at the end of the 1700s. It was a discovery of great importance because up until then, apple trees had been considered plants that owed their existence exclusively to the work of man.