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The Aral Sea

The Aral Sea area is disappearing dramatically. Towns and villages-ails, standing on the seashore many years ago, now are in 100-150 km from the water. Local people leave the former seashore, and those, who have no place to go, make occasional money. There are many projects on rescuing the Aral Sea, but in reality almost nothing is going on. If the Aral Sea shrinking goes the same speed, in 2015 the sea vanishes from the face of the earth.

Former Aral seashore

A region center of Karakalpakstan autonomy republic - Muynak, started to be a town in 1963. The main object of the town was the sea port. Fish, delivered here by many fishermen ships, was processed in a big fish cannery. Now the distance from the port to seashore is around 140-150 km. This Uzbek ghost city is a symbol of Aral sea dying: empty streets, closed shops and cinemas. However not a long time ago Muynak was a rich town. Perfect sandy beaches and lots of fish were giving job and money to all town. Almost disappeared tracks of the old life are still visible. There’s the city emblem at the entrance to Muynak - a big fish. Huge concrete fish warehouse boxes are near the former port. Decades ago they were covered by dry reed and clay to preserve cool inside. Fish, placed to vats with water, stayed alive for a long time. There’s still fish smell exists, so it seems that the last fish yield from the Aral sea was just yesterday.


Itinerary to the Aral sea


Day 1. Nukus-Kungrad-Usturt Plateau- Sudochie lake-Aral sea
Departure from Nukus, at 8 o’clock, to do the Discovery of the Usturt Plateau and Aral sea life. First we pass Kungrad district, one of the Trading centers during the Silk Road period. Then we go up to the Usturt Plateau. On the way visit the Lake Sudochie, see the fishermen’s house, old fish factory, handmade fridge (to keep ice and fish). Continue the way and stop at the former Light House. Pass the base camp of the gas plant. On the way do stops to take wonderful pictures of beautiful landscape: Canyons, dried bottom of the sea, fabulous contrast of the colors, starting of the sea shore on the horizon and etc. Arrive to the Aral sea late in the afternoon. Drive down to the sea shore. Set up the tents. Taste the delicious Dinner, cooked by the professional drivers. Have a calm night under the thousands of stars and sounds of the sea waves.

Day 2. Aral-sea-Moinak-Mizdakhan XIVc-Gaur kala-Nukus
Early wake up to take picture of the sun rise. Have breakfast.
Transfer to Moinak.  Drive on the dried bottom of the sea, pass the gas towers and Gas Separators, arrive at Uchsai, the small settlement and the previous harbor for the ships, when the Aral sea was washing the shore of this village. Have a lunch (lunch box). Arrive in Moinak. Visit the Ships’ graveyard, local museum and walk around the town. Transfer to visit Mizdakhan, the architectural complex of the XIV c. and Gaur kala VI-IV cc. B.C., destroyed by Shingiz-khan, Mongolian conqueror. Back to Nukus city. Arrive the city at 17:00-18:00 p.m. Check in the hotel or transfer to Khiva according to the program.

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