The Ustyurt Plateau

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The Ustyurt Plateau or Ust-Urt Plateau is an extensive, desert to steppe-like plateau in Central Asia. in the territories of Kazakhstan , Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and , covering 200,000 km². It is bordered by the Aral Sea to the east and the Caspian Sea to the west.

Traditionally, the human population of the region is nomadic and dedicated to pastoral activities mainly goats, sheep and camels, without definitively settling in a region.
The richest deposits of fossils, containing almost the entire periodic table. The oldest on the territory of Kazakhstan and the CIS, and if you search well, then, perhaps, all over the world, the sites of primitive man, almost imperishable fortifications, the mounds of Sarmatian and Scythian burials still untouched by a human hand.

The remains of the caravanserais of one of the branches of the Great Silk Road, through which gigantic caravans once went, composed not even of hundreds, but of thousands of camels. Wells, up to 50 meters deep, manually hammered by ancestors-kudukshi in limestone, several pieces at once in one bunch.

Access : Coordinates: / Aktau a city in Kazakhstan, located on the Eastern shore of the Caspian Sea : 43.65, 51.15
/ A good SUV is a must to get around the area.You can also rent a UAZ “tablet”- “loaf” for 8-9 seats. It will come out much cheaper, but there will be little comfort.
/ Expedition route: Aktau-Torysh (valley of globular nodules) -Sherkala-Tuzbair  -Beket-ata-Bozzhira  -Valley Karagiye-Aktau.

Highlights :

  •  An important protected area on the southern edge of the plateau is the Kaplankyr Nature Reserve in Turkmenistan. A part of the Ustyurt plateau in Kazakhstan is also a state nature reserve.
  •  Lake Saura. The depth of the lake is unknown, but it is impressive and allows the relict species of freshwater marsh turtle to live here.
  •  the Fallen Land of Cape Zhygylgan on the shore of the Caspian Sea. Around you there is a plateau as flat as a table, and suddenly there is a giant dip, the edges of which have a circle with a diameter of at least 10 kilometers.
  •  Field of stone balls Torysh. Valley of balls Torysh is one of the most entertaining sights of Mangystau. For over 250 years, scientists have been puzzling over the origin of these stone balls. So far, they have not come to a consensus.
  •  Mount Sherkala : the legendary Mount Sherkala, where in the Middle Ages a fortress was built to guard the caravan trails of the Great Silk Road. Translated from the Turkic “Sherkala” means “Lion Mountain or Lion Fortress”.
  •  What is most surprising is the presence of wild horses on the Ustyurt plateau. They say that earlier there were farms of Kazakh nomads, but the horses ran wild and took root on the plateau, where they still live.
  •  oasis among the deserts and steppes of Mangystau – ethnoaul Kogez. Here you can taste national cuisine and use the shower, bar and Internet services
  •  The Tuzbair tract is a magnificent creation of natural elements. In this place, the Ustyurt plateau abruptly ends with a cascade of limestone steps, at the base of which lies a vast salt marsh, in the local area called “sor”.
  •  Boszhira’s trademark is two limestone peaks, nicknamed for their shape by fangs. Their height from the base reaches more than 200 meters.,On the way to the tract, we will visit the most famous and largest Sufi mosque Bekket-Ata.
  •  The eastern edge of the Ust-Ourt plateau dominating the ancient bottom of the Aral Sea. / The Mangistau Peninsula is a territorial tributary of the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea. The central part – Mangystau – is a small mountain plateau consisting of a single anticline; its right wing, which extends from east to north-west, is complicated by additional folds.
  •  Shakpak-ata mosque :the amazing underground Shakpak-ata mosque and after 1000 years the mosque remains a working cult object.
  •  Shark Teeth from Ocean Tethys : Well, the fabulous Fata Morgana attracts artists and photographers. Which can not only be sketched, but also photographed. And even touch it with your hands.

Activities : sightseeing / photo opportunities / trekking / Jeep tour to Kazakhstan- Jeep tour of the Ustyurt plateau and the Mangystau peninsula / Accommodation in national Kazakh yurts.

Go next : the city of Aktau , a city in Kazakhstan, located on the Eastern shore of the Caspian Sea / Samal-Sherkala, 150 km from Aktau, is an area formed by extreme geological instability / travel further east to the Silk Road cities in Uzbekistan.

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