National Geographic Qazaqstan Explores Treasures of Mangystau Region

ASTANA — National Geographic Qazaqstan, a popular scientific, geographic magazine, published an article, Man Dala, Mangaz Meken, (Endless Steppe, the Place of Pride), which describes the natural treasures of the Mangystau Region.

Tuzbair, a huge salt marsh that lies at the foot of the western part of the Ustyurt plateau. Photo credit: Farkhat Kabdykaiyrov. Click to see the map in full size. The map is designed by The Astana Times.

National Geographic Qazaqstan is the official publication of the Kazakh National Geography Society. The article about Mangystau illustrates the spectacular scenery of Tuzbair, a huge salt marsh that lies at the foot of the western part of the Ustyurt plateau. It’s located 250 kilometers from the city of Aktau.

“The heart of Mangystau is full of wonders, a place where pilgrims stayed and cultivated gardens, and was the homeland of priests and saints. Not to mention the holy places that are revered by Kazakhs, its wonderful appearance like a mystical world unlike anywhere else in the world, its unique landscape full of mysterious secrets gives a special impression to the beholder, leads one’s imagination to the edge, amazes and makes one think. No matter where you go, it is attractive for domestic and foreign tourists,” reads the article. 

The magazine plans to publish additional featured locations in the region in its special column. 

Photo credit: Farkhat Kabdykaiyrov.

“According to scientists, 250 million years ago, the Mangystau Region was the bottom of the Tethys Ocean, between the supercontinents Laurasia and Gondwana. This is evidenced by shark skeletons and their teeth, which are sometimes found in this valley. Over time, as the water receded, the combination of wind and rain shaped the landscape, creating beautiful sculptural chalk rocks, cliffs and cavities. It is believed that Tuzbair, along with the plateau, gorges and gullies, formed as a result of erosion of softer rocks,” wrote the authors. 

In the summer, the temperature in Tuzbair can rise above 45 degrees Celsius. Flora and fauna typical to the desert area can be found here. 

The article outlines how to get to Tuzbair. 

Photo credit: Farkhat Kabdykaiyrov.

“If you don’t plan to go down to the mountain but just want to enjoy the scenic views of Tuzbair from above, you can choose any crossover as a vehicle. At the 243rd kilometer, you need to get off the Aktau-Beineu highway and reach the western ridge of Ustyurt on the far side of the cliff on a leveled dirt road. If you stand on the rocks and look into the distance, you will witness the combination of three colors perfectly harmonized by nature – dark clouds and white gray with blue sky and yellow soil. Cracks, rocks and ravines all around,” reads the article.

Maulen Gabdulkaliev, head of the tourism department of the Mangystau Region, said the material in three languages about 30 unique places of Mangystau, filled with mysteries and attractions for tourists, will be published by the end of the year. 

“The magazine staff traveled around the peninsula for this purpose in June. They will visit our region again in September,” he added. 

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