Nurata & Aydarkul Lake

The capital of Navoi province, Nurata is an ancient city in the north west of Uzbekistan. It is surrounded by diverse and dramatic natural beauty from the the red sands of the Kyzyl Kum desert to the wild and barren expanse of the Uzbek steppe and the rugged peaks of the Nuratau mountains. The city is of historical and spiritual significance: founded by Alexander the Great in 327 BC, it's still possible to visit the ruins of the mighty fortress he built here; meanwhile, pilgrims visit its holy graves, Djuma mosque and natural spring.

Around 30 miles from the city lie the crystal blue waters of Lake Aydarkul, a miracle of nature that occurred in the flood of 1969 when the Syr Darya River burst its banks. Its 1,864 square miles is a haven to countless species of fish and birds and plant life. Visitors flock to the banks of the Aydarkul for a myriad of activities and pleasant days spent in stunning natural surroundings.

Experiences

A handpicked selection of experiences endorsed by our experts. If you can’t see what you’re looking for, let us know, as our extensive network of local contacts can open many doors.

Chasma Complex

Within the city is a religious ensemble of buildings deeply significant to Islam and popular with Muslim pilgrims. It’s arranged around the Chashma - a spring said to have appeared when Caliph Hazrat Ali struck the ground with his staff; the natural waters are considered holy and cleansing. The complex comprises a Djuma - a mosque, a well and a Khanom - a bath house.

Bird Watching

The rich flora and fauna that cover the banks of Lake Aydarkul have become home to hundreds of species of wildlife and birds. Keen birdwatchers come with their binoculars and cameras to catch a glimpse of the Dalmatian pelican with its orange bill and scruffy plumage, the squat pygmy cormorant or red-breasted goose. Commonly seen circling the skies above the lake are majestic white-tailed eagles and ominous black vultures.

Fishing

The waters of Aydarkul Lake are hugely popular with fishermen from all over the world who visit in droves to spend a day or more angling for a catch in the huge turquoise mirror. The lake is teeming with all kinds of species of underwater life including carp and barbel carp, white bream, perch and catfish, as well as the indigenous central Asian samarkan waddler. Fishermen are welcome to bring their own gear, or hire all their gear on arrival.

Fort of Alexander the Great

Within the historical city of Nurata lie the ruins of the fortress built by Alexander the Great, who took advantage of its strategic geographical position on the edge of the steppe. Imposing walls punctuated by watch towers surround the eight million-square-feet of inner-fortress. Today, visitors come to clamber over the walls and explore the ruins which once fortified the Alexandrian Empire.

Horse riding

The rugged and winding mountain passes surrounding Lake Aydarkul are extremely popular with explorers, many of whom choose to see the area on horseback. Astride a hardy mountain steed, climb the foothills of the Naratau range to enjoy sweeping vistas of the azure waters, framed by jutting peaks, and at the end of the day, head back down to cool off with a swim in the lake.

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