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Wed, 15/03/2023 - 07:45

Uzboy - a thousand kilometers along the sleeping river

A constant and long-acting river flow, which once made its way from Sarakamysh to the Caspian Sea, formed a river valley in the desert with canyons and waterfalls, which still amaze travelers with their power and beauty. Rapid sections of the riverbed, drops from several meters to several tens of meters with traces of waterfalls, terraces with numerous remnants of freshwater mollusk shells and organic remnants of former flora — everything leaves no doubt that a full-flowing river flowed through these places.

"I will probably never forget this amazing picture: the earth scorched by the sun, gray-yellow dunes all the way to the horizon — and suddenly in the middle a riverbed appears just out of nowhere. There is no water in it but there is a dead — gray bottom and a steep bend of the river with a high outer and gentle bank in front of the eyes of an astonished traveler. The famous and mysterious Uzboy River, "the shadow of a bygone river", the ancient bed of the great Amu Darya, which once flowed into the Caspian Sea, and only then turned into the Aral Sea...", - this is how the scientist Nurany describes his first impressions of acquaintance with this ancient river valley.

Our close acquaintance with Uzboy began with its so-called "middle course", where even nowadays it gives an impression of a living river with banks in thickets of tamarisk and reeds. The riverbed here is filled with bright blue lakes of salty brine. The valley of Uzboy collects groundwater from the entire surrounding area, and the salt lakes of Uzboy have long been known for the healing power of their clay and salt water: it was used for drinking and bathing.


The Uzboy expedition did not need to prove, as scientists once did, that a full-flowing river once flowed here. We had to lay out and describe such tourist routes that could tell people that there are few waterways in the world, along the shores of which nature would be so diverse, and history would contain so many turbulent and dramatic events. Therefore, the plans of the participants of this fascinating journey, organized within the framework of the project of the Global Environment Facility, the United Nations Development Programme and the Ministry of Nature Protection of Turkmenistan included a visit to numerous historical and natural monuments of this harsh and at the same time amazingly beautiful and mysterious region. The expedition was attended by archaeologist H. Yusupov, paleontologist A. Nigerov, specialists of the Khazar State Reserve, members of the "Agama" climbing club and a film crew of the Turkmen television.

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