Nadezhda Dukhovny
Nadezhda Dukhovny

Ancient and unique Uzbekistan: Navoi region I

Welcome to Uzbekistan! Welcome to Navoi region!

Posted by Uzbekistan Embassy in Israel on Saturday, June 5, 2021

Uzbekistan has always been viewed as an ancient land with a long history stretching back centuries. And this is true. But in this amazing country, there are also new geographical formations, reflecting the deeds and aspirations of the people who inhabit it. This is the Navoi region – the youngest region of Uzbekistan.

Its administrative center, the city of Navoi, was founded in 1958. The site for the construction of the city was not chosen by chance. The mining and metallurgical industry is actively developing here.

The region has an ancient history. Valuable archaeological finds were made in the Sarmyshsay gorge, and ancient rock paintings were discovered on the southern slope of the Nurata ridge. One of the most beautiful places in the region is Aydarkul Lake – a place of primeval beauty.

Navoi region. This photo is courtesy of the Department of Tourism Development of the Navoi region.

Trade routes once passed through the territory of the region, which was of great importance for those years.

This land is home to the Chashma religious complex, as well as the remains of the once majestic fortress built in the 11th century by Rabati-Malik.

Chashma religious complex. This photo is courtesy of the Department of Tourism Development of the Navoi region.

The region was named after the Uzbek poet, philosopher, and statesman Alisher Navoi. In his works, the poet highly appreciated and glorified loyalty to the cause, friendship, brotherhood, modesty, truthfulness, conscientiousness, and dedication to enlightenment.

Today Navoi region is an industrial center, where the well-known Navoi mining and metallurgical complex is located, which produces gold of the highest standard, as well as other export products. It was in the Navoi region that the country’s first Navoi Free Economic Zone was founded.

I invite you to stroll through this unique land and appreciate its pristine beauty step by step.

Navoi region is located right in the heart of Uzbekistan. The northwest of the region borders on the Kyzylkum plateau, in the east the region is surrounded by the Nurata mountains. From the southern part, the region is washed by the Zarafshan River.

A worthy place in the list of routes in the Navoi region is occupied by Aydarkul Lake, located in the endless Kyzylkum desert.

For its beautiful watercolor and impressive size, the picturesque lake is often called the “turquoise sea in the sands”. No more than two thousand people live on the shores of Aydarkul, so the nature in the vicinity of the lake remains wild and untouched.

Aydarkul Lake. This photo is courtesy of the Department of Tourism Development of the Navoi region.

The shores of the lake stretch from the Nurata district of the Navoi region to the Farish and Mirzachul districts of the Jizzakh region.

Aydarkul Lake. This photo is courtesy of the Department of Tourism Development of the Navoi region.

There are no underwater currents on the lake and the salt content in the water is not quite high, which has a beneficial effect on the development of flora and fauna in the area.

Aydarkul Lake. This photo is courtesy of the Department of Tourism Development of the Navoi region.

There is a huge number of such fish as pike perch, sazan, asp, and sabrefish, which is favorable for the development of the fishing season and a successful catch.

Over the surface of the lake, you can often see soaring pink pelicans, graceful swans, white herons.

Here, birds listed in the Red Book – the Dalmatian pelican, the pygmy cormorant, the red-breasted goose, the lesser white-fronted goose, the ferruginous duck, the pallid harrier, the white-tailed eagle, and the cinereous vulture – have found shelter.

Aydarkul Lake. This photo is courtesy of the Department of Tourism Development of the Navoi region.

Many kilometers of beaches with amazingly soft and clean sand, the pristine purity of coastal thickets, as well as the peace and quiet of the coastal zone, will leave a lot of positive impressions and unforgettable sensations.

Yurt camping in Navoi region. This photo is courtesy of the Department of Tourism Development of the Navoi region.

Fans of outdoor activities and local history take pleasure in ethnographic trips to yurt camps on the banks of Aydarkul.

The yurt camp in the Navoi region. This photo is courtesy of the Department of Tourism Development of the Navoi region.

In the Kanimekh district of the Navoi region, there is a yurt camp Kyzylkum safari, in which everyone can find what they have been looking for a long time – trips on exotic camels, evening gatherings around the fire – the life of a nomad alone with nature!

Camel riding. This photo is courtesy of the Department of Tourism Development of the Navoi region.

Another lake – Tudaykul is located in the Kyzyltepa district of the Navoi region.

Tudakul Lake. This photo is courtesy of the Department of Tourism Development of the Navoi region.

It was built in 1968 in a natural ravine 26 km east of Bukhara, southwest of the Kuyimozor Reservoir.

Tudakul Lake. This photo is courtesy of the Department of Tourism Development of the Navoi region.

Currently, 34 plant species grow in the area of Lake Tudakul and the Kuyimozor reservoir, of which 8 species are listed in the Red Book of Uzbekistan, and 12 species are endemic to Central Asia.

Tudakul cottage. This photo is courtesy of the Department of Tourism Development of the Navoi region.

In total, there are 79 cultural heritage sites in the Kyzyltepa district. Of these, 54 are archaeological, 16 architectural, and 6 monuments of art.

At the Tudakul lake. This photo is courtesy of the Department of Tourism Development of the Navoi region.

On the coast of Lake Tudakul, there is a beach with awnings protecting from the sun.

At the Tudakul lake. This photo is courtesy of the Department of Tourism Development of the Navoi region.

There are also cottages, hotel rooms, cafes and a ship restaurant, a canteen, playgrounds, as well as water attractions and swimming pools.

Playground at the Tudakul. This photo is courtesy of the Department of Tourism Development of the Navoi region.

In terms of entertainment, it is planned to hold various shows and concerts in the open air.

Tudakul resort. This photo is courtesy of the Department of Tourism Development of the Navoi region.
Tudakul resort. This photo is courtesy of the Department of Tourism Development of the Navoi region.

For this purpose, several concert and dance floors have been built here.

Tudakul promenade. This photo is courtesy of the Department of Tourism Development of the Navoi region.

Navoi region is famous not only for its lakes but also for its ancient rock paintings.

The Sarmishsay gorge on the southern slope of Karatag in the Navoi region is a valley that has preserved the largest and most unique rock carvings in Uzbekistan. This gorge is located in a mountainous area of ​​5000 hectares.

To date, more than 10,000 rock paintings have been found in the Sarmishsay gorge and the rivers surrounding it.

The carvings on the rocks of the Sarmishsay gorge date back to the 4th-1st millennium BC and the 1st-7th centuries AD and were painted on the rocks in schematic, outline, shadow, and patterned styles using bronze, iron, and stone. More than 10,000 petroglyphs have been found in the Sarmishsay gorge and nearby rivers. Most of the paintings are carved into rocks 22.5 km long in the middle of the stream.

The carvings on the rocks of the Sarmishsay gorge. This photo is courtesy of the Department of Tourism Development of the Navoi region.

Interestingly, some of them appear when it is raining, while others can be seen when the sun is shining vertically. There are also images that catch your eye when the light is tilted or in shadow.

Sarmishsay drawings appear on the black or brown surface of the rocks. These petroglyphs contain 35 thematic images and plots. The rocks are engraved with human figures, their hunting and working tools, clothing, and household items.

Along with them, images of various animals are very vividly depicted, many of which have already become extinct and today are not found in the country.

In these places, you can also see drawings of animals such as wolves, lions, leopards, tigers, cheetahs, deer, pigs, foxes, jackals, gazelles, saigas, as well as compositions based on geometric shapes.

The rocks contain many images that provide information about the first discoveries associated with human civilization. For example, you can see weapons, bows, spears, swords, household utensils, bowls, barbecues, plows, and many geometric shapes used in ancient calculations.

Sarmishsay has preserved Stone Age sites and settlements remains of ancient tombs and irrigation networks, ruins of ancient villages dating from the Stone Age to the Middle Ages.

As a result of thousands of years of tectonic activity, layers of quartz and granite compressed shale rocks, which led to a distortion of the mountain structure of the belt.

In the Sarmishsay gorge, there is an extensive resort area, consisting of 27 rooms for 54 people, “Love Garden” for 100 people, and 6 cottages, 13 yurts, as well as the Sarmishsay recreation area for 50 people, which serve foreign tourists.

Sarmyshsay resort area. This photo is courtesy of the Department of Tourism Development of the Navoi region.

The Kyzylkum desert of the Navoi region is a storehouse of unique and valuable minerals, as well as hundreds of wonderful events and places. One of them is the Jarakuduk gorge in the Mingbulak basin, 130 km west of the Uchkuduk region.

Jaraquduq gorge. This photo is courtesy of the Department of Tourism Development of the Navoi region.

Specialists of the Research Institute of Geology and Mineralogy of the Republic of Uzbekistan and foreign scientists have been conducting research expositions and in-depth scientific research of the region for 8 years. Studies have shown that the Kyzylkum desert was formed on the site of the Tetiz Sea 100 million years ago.

Jaraquduq stones. This photo is courtesy of the Department of Tourism Development of the Navoi region.

The research also established a number of scientific foundations regarding marine underwater resources and the rich flora and fauna of riparian tugai forests. These include herbivorous and carnivorous dinosaurs, crocodiles, fish and other marine creatures, underwater coral reefs, as well as rare specimens of coastal conifers, fruit trees, saxauls, and tugai forests that have survived to this day.

Jaraquduq stones. This photo is courtesy of the Department of Tourism Development of the Navoi region.

Based on these valuable findings, the study provides an insight into the nature of the area.

Jaraquduq gorge. This photo is courtesy of the Department of Tourism Development of the Navoi region.

Tectonic changes have been taking place in this area for a long time simultaneously with the process of mountain building. All these rocks are mainly typical for the Paleozoic massifs of limestone and marble, the combination of which gives rise to extraordinary natural phenomena. One of such mysterious natural monuments is the Sangijumon swaying rock, Sangijumon is a Persian term meaning “vibrating stone”.

The Sangijumon swaying rock. This photo is courtesy of the Department of Tourism Development of the Navoi region.

This rock is a large piece of granite that covers the valley and is located at an altitude of 800-900 meters above sea level.

The rock is inclined at an angle of about 5-10 degrees to the western rock. Its circumference is 19 meters, its diameter is 9 meters, and its height is about 6 meters. The western side of the rock is heavily eroded and has a porous texture.

The Sangijumon swaying rock. This photo is courtesy of the Department of Tourism Development of the Navoi region.

In addition, on the territory of Sangijumon, there are more than 100 unique natural monuments of various types. Among them are Childirma Stone, Pigeon Stone, Red Saddle Stone, Elchiboy Shop, Mill Stone, Cobra, and others. Each of them has its own history associated with ancient legends.

The Sangijumon swaying rock. This photo is courtesy of the Department of Tourism Development of the Navoi region.

At a height of about 30-60 cm, the rock ledge exceeds 1 meter, and when viewed from the side, the rock looks like a mountain tulip. The northwest side of the cliff is also heavily eroded. Only on the eastern side, there are no large tracks. The approximate volume of this stone is 75-80 cubic meters, and the weight is about 250-270 tons. A distinctive feature of this stone is its vibration. It vibrates from strong winds.

The Sangijumon swaying rock. This photo is courtesy of the Department of Tourism Development of the Navoi region.
About the Author
Nadezhda Dukhovny was born and raised in Uzbekistan and made aliya in 2005. She holds an MA in Linguistics from Tel Aviv University and works in translation. She has a true interest about her motherland and would like to tell more about that fascinating country to make Israeli readers familiar with another culture from other part of the globe.
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