Take a group tour to the interesting region of Aral Sea which once use to be a prosperous lake filled with variety of fish species but a range of events following that turned it into a dying lake which is now reduced to 10% of its former size.
About Aral Sea
Aral Sea was one of the four largest lakes in the world with an area covering 68,000 Sq Km straddling between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Because of its gigantic size, it is called as sea even though it is a lake. During its peak days, it used to be home to thriving fishing towns and industries. But later the two rivers that fed it, Syr Darya and Amu Darya, were diverted by the Soviet Government in an effort to increase cotton production in the area which was considered “white gold” due to its economic value.
Once the lake was stripped off of its sources, it gradually started drying up. Dubbed as one of the worst manmade ecological disaster, in less than three decades, it was reduced to a mere 10% of its former size. Part of this was also attributed to the poor construction of the canals which caused leakage and evaporation of water as a result of which 30 to 75% of water went wasted.
Lately because of large scale restoration projects undertaken by Uzbekistan and various other states, the northern part of Aral Sea which lies in Kazakhstan has seen an uptick in the number of fish. These positive signs indicate that Aral Sea may get restored back to its glorious days sooner rather than later.
A group tour to the reduced Aral Sea and its vicinities will give you a different experience altogether. Visit the following places in this group tour:
It is the capital of the only autonomous region in Uzbekistan, Karakalpakstan Region. It is best known for Nukus Museum of Art which exhibits world-class Russian and Uzbek art and artifacts.
A small town part of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, historically it was the gateway of ancient Khorezm Empire and is currently a major archaeological site.
The scenic plateau of Ustyurt extends 200,000 sq Km and has a maximum elevation of 1,200 feet. It is ideally situated between the Aral Sea and Amu Darya river delta.
Located in the western part of Amu Darya delta, it is the largest inland water reservoir of the Amu Darya with immense ornithological interest. Close to 218 bird species are found in this region including the flamingos.
The protagonist of this tour, Aral Sea is a dying inland lake which used to among the four largest lakes in the world.
Adversely affected by the drying up on Aral Sea, the town of Muynak is famous for the Cemetery of Ships where you’ll find a collection of rusting fishing boats amidst barren desert that once served a thriving fishing town.
It is an ancient necropolis and one of the prominent pilgrimage sites in Uzbekistan situated in Karakalpakstan region.
Next to Mizdakhan lies the ruined fortress of Gyuar-Kala. It was built approximately in the 4th Century BC. It was named “The Fortress of Infidels” by the Arabs because the inhabitants of this fortress, Zoroastrians, worshipped the fire.
An Aral Sea tour is unlike anything else you’ve been to before and completely different from any sea or lake tour. Thanks to the restoration projects supported by World Bank and UNESCO, the dying Aral Sea might once again be brought back to its former glorious days which will support the local economy and serve as an excellent tourism spot.