Caspian Sea

The vast Caspian sea, though sometimes classed as a lake, is the largest landlocked body of water in the world. The gateway between Europe and Asia, it is bordered by Iran to the south, Azerbaijan and Russia to the west and Turkmenistan to the east, while Kazakhstan's Mangystau region lies to the northeast.

Nature abounds here and many visitors flock to explore the habitat for rare and interesting species. Home to Caspian Bream and Caspian Salmon and historically a haven for sturgeon, the Caspian Sea has long been a big producer of sturgeon eggs which are made into caviar. Meanwhile, many native species of birds have been named after the area, including Caspian Gulls and Caspian Tern. It's also famous for its Caspian Seals, one of a very few species of seals who live in an inland body of water. On its banks lies the city of Aktau, the administrative capital of the Mangystau region, a bustling center for tourism, originally built for oil industry workers.


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The capital of the Mangystau region, Aktau is a busy, bustling hub of activity, from its beaches to the city center. Visitors can stroll through the city, taking in the concert hall, ancient feats of architecture, leafy avenues and the pleasant park.


Fishing is a popular pastime and important industry throughout the waters of the Caspian Sea. From the shores of Mangystau in Kazakhstan, it is possible to rent or charter fishing boats or join fishing tours to spend a day angling on the water.

Fort Shevchenko

Historically a military stronghold, this fort city was given its current name in 1939 for the exiled Ukrainian poet who carried out military service here. Today it is used primarily as a Kazakh naval base. There is a monument and a memorial museum to the poet and a national history museum.


The Caspian Sea is teeming with boats, ferries and ships. It is a popular way to travel from other major port cities such as Baku in Azerbaijan to Aktau, or down the mighty Volga Canal. Meanwhile, on a smaller scale, catamarans can be chartered from Aktau for a day on the water.


The beaches of Mangystau, lapped by the waters of the Caspian Sea, are the jumping off points for many popular water sports. In the summer months especially, visitors enjoy sunbathing and taking a refreshing dip, while more active holidaymakers can windsurf and parasail to their hearts’ delight.

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