In the south-west of Kazakhstan there is a fantastic "laboratory" of nature. The landscapes are breathtaking. Here you can feel like a child, a guest of these stone yurts and palaces. We invite you on a virtual journey with a view of 360º to this magical place
The Mangistau region is located in the south-west of Kazakhstan, its territory is over 170 thousand square kilometers, which is approximately equal to the area of all the Baltic countries. The climate is sharply continental, extremely dry. However, once a year in May for 7-10 days, the abysses of heaven open up, which makes any dirt road almost impassable.
The scenery here is breathtaking. Bizarre forms of weathering... Soothing "sculptures"... Real magic! We will go to this fantastic place today.
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For 30 million years, on the site of Mangistau there were successive water spaces: the Paratethys Ocean, the Sarmatian Sea, the Pontic Sea, the Akchagyl Sea, the Apsheron Sea... The last time the earth rose 1,5 million years ago. Selective weathering began to occur. All the diverse traces in the paleontological record were exposed, and for landscape painters, forms pleasing to the eye were opened.
In the first millennium BC, the great silk road from Khorezm and Khiva to Europe and the Middle East passed through the lands of Mangistau. Along this route there were fortresses caravanserai settlements of artisans, herdsmen and hunters. Archaeological finds show that these settlements had a fairly high standard of living. The great migration of peoples and the countless wars associated with it interrupted the great silk road through Ustyurt.
First, let's look at the Aktolagay plateau. This chalk plateau stretches for 90 kilometers away from cities and good roads. This place abounds not only with breathtaking panoramas, but also with fossilized belemnites shells, teeth of ancient sharks...
Another majestic creation of natural elements – Sor Tuzbair. In this place, the chink, that is, the cliff of the plateau, abruptly breaks off with a cascade of clayey limestone chalk steps, at the base of which lies an extensive salt marsh. In this area, even the air is saturated with the centuries-old work of winds, salt and water. The plumb lines of the chalk cliffs are cut by numerous gullies and deep channels, forming endless rows of fabulous columns.
In these places it is necessary to come by all means with an overnight stay. It is here that the whole sky is in full view: everything is so close that it is enough to reach out and you will reach the sky. The moon and stars here shine so that they are completely reflected in the salt lake and the feeling of up and down is lost. Waiting for the sunrise on Tuzbair is also indescribable, it reflects the morning dawn like a mirror.
Mount Sherkala is another amazing natural monument. The lonely standing mountain resembles, on the one hand, a giant yurt, on the other, a lion that lay down. From the canyons in the mountain, it is noticeable that there used to be mountain rivers and waterfalls here, some of them are up to 100 meters deep.
Further, Mangistau opens its treasury to us – Airakty. And there – either bizarre remnants, then hieroglyphs, then stone nodules.
Airakty Shomonai is a chain of small remnant mountains. These mountains are better known as the Valley of Airakty Castles. The name was attached to the area thanks to a series of drawings by the famous Ukrainian artist and poet Taras Shevchenko, who was in exile here in 1851 for participating in the anti-serf organization. These mountains made such an impression on him that, although he was forbidden to draw, he made a series of drawings here under the poetic name "Valley of Castles". He even took several photographs of these places, which, unfortunately, have not been preserved.
The Airakty mountains really look like fairy-tale castles with spiers, towers, colonnades and fortress walls. A winding path pierced by semi-wild horses leads to a small observation deck from which a panoramic view of the distant Aktau mountains and all Airakta castles opens. On the eastern side, the range of small spherical concretions adjoins the range of the Shomanai mountains. There are spheroids here that are just perfectly shaped, like bowling balls.
The Boszhira tract is one of the most beautiful places in Kazakhstan, which is a whole range of rock formations of different sizes and shapes. Everything here is dazzling white. Limestone remains stretch to the sky, resembling the fangs of a prehistoric giant. Rocks change their appearance depending on the lighting. Beige prevails, but layers of brown, pink, gray, white, yellow can be seen... All of them correspond to deposits of different geological epochs, which keep the memory of climate change, changes in the flora and fauna.
The rainbow hills of Kyzylkup are located 30 kilometers from Boszhira. They stretch more than 10 kilometers from east to west and 8 kilometers from north to south. Formed by sedimentary rocks of different colors: orange, red, cherry, white. This very picturesque place has the appearance of Tiramisu dessert. Each hill or canyon is interesting in its own way, but the most expressive was the "Jinn's Residence" (bizarrely resembling a stone idol).
Now it's time to visit this fantastic "laboratory" of nature with the help of AirPano's high-quality virtual panoramas, to feel like a child, a guest of these stone yurts and palaces.
Mangyshlak, Kazakhstan. Tuzbair and Airakty