Nuratau Mountains, Uzbekistan
Nurata: the small town with holy spring
Uzbekistan is not only the country of ancient cities, studded with magnificent madrassah, minarets and mosques. Uzbekistan is the great variety of climatic zones: arid deserts Kyzylkum and Karakum, snow-capped peaks of Tien Shan Mountains, rivers and lakes, dense forests, steppes, blossomed in spring, charming desert Aralkum, located on the site of dried Aral Sea, being in ecological danger. Nuratau Mountains are one of such unique natural sights. It stretched out between Kyzylkum Desrt on the west and Barren Steppe on the east.
This massif includes three ranges – Karatau, Aktau, Nuratau. This mountain chain is not very high. The highest peak – Khayatbakshi Mount – is located on the height of 2169 meters above sea level. In spite of this site is not very interesting for mountain climbers, Nuratau Mountains are attractive for many tourists due to the rich history, unusual monuments, mild climate and healing springs.
One of the most attractive sights is “Gate of Tamerlane”. It is small gorge on Sanzar River, running on the east of Nuratau Mountains close to Jizzakh. The gorge has 120-130 meters of width. In one place it is blocked by two huge rocks, making the narrow passage of 40 meters wide. This passage is called in honor of the great commander – Amir Temur (Tamerlane). On the right rock of “Gate” you will find inscriptions on Persian language, made by rulers Ulugbek Gurugan and Abdulla-khan, when they went through this passage.
Another interesting sight is located on the west of Nuratau Mountains. It is the gorge Sarmish-Say, famous for numerous petroglyphs, inscribed on the whole territory around the river Sarmish-Say. This place is considered one of anomalous zones, though researchers refer it to the presence of rare chemical elements, peculiar climate and composite landscape. This mysterious and little-studied place attract a lot of scientists, researchers, ufologists as well as tourists.
Nuratau Mountains is the perfect place for long-lasting tour as well as for weekend tour. Nurata lies some remote from large cities as Samarkand, Bukhara, Tashkent, and you can get it by car for a few hours, a little bit deviating from the tour around ancient cities of Uzbekistan. In addition to the natural beauty, the life style of local people is not less interesting and charming. By the way, close to Nuratau Mountains, on the lake Aydakul the yurt camp is located. It is very popular among tourists. Also you can stay in guest houses, where you will have the opportunity to participate in the process of manufacturing various carpets and other things.
During the early spring and the harvest period local population arranges broad festivities, attended by performances of local singers and dancers as well as public games. The most popular game is “Kup-Kari” which is literally translated as “work of many people”. The target of the game is to catch the goat carcass and keep it till the finish. This game attracts many spectators as well as a lot of participants.
Nuratau Mountains is the entire palette of sights, history and impressions, which will always remain in your memory.