The Aral Sea

The Aral Sea

If fifty years ago the shores of the Aral Sea could appeal with its huge water reserve agitated creating high waves today those playful banks have sunk into white, mute desert…

In the 1950’s the sea was 68 thousand km sq. with 426 km length, the deepest place was 68 m. The Aral Sea started to dry up in the 60’s of last century since the water of the rivers used in irrigational purposes stopped to flow into the sea.

In the last decade of the XX century the Aral Sea had divided into two parts : the northern small part was in the territory of Kazakhstan; the southern part in the territories of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Till 2009 it has lost about 80% of its water.It is supposed to be dry up fully by 2020.

Over half a century ago it used to be the forth largest sea in the world. Surrounding with land by four sides, it was called Aral Sea (“aral” means an island), now the white salt area appeared after drying up the water storage is called Aral Karakum Desert. It contains about 40 where extereme sandstorms pick up and spread approximately 150 tonns of salt to the neighboring places causing many health problems among local people, affecting badly the climate change in the region.

In order to refine the situation several programs have been put in practice, such as planting vegetation on the seabed dried up to lessen the salt pick-up.

The Ustyurt Plateau

Including about 200 000 km sq. territory, the Ustyurt (means ‘plateau’) is located in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, bordered with Mangishlak and Gulf of Kara-Bogaz-Gol in the west; the Amu Darya and Aral Sea in the east. It is a stony, clay and in some parts sandy desert separating Asia and Europe, occupying a large area between the Caspian Sea and Aral Sea.
Scientists state the fact that in the early and middle of Cenozoic Era – 21 million years ago there used to be some sea or maybe ocean. It could be proven by the traces of the shells left on the limestone, and ferromanganese spread on the surface of the whole desert.
The scene of the plateau reminds the landscapes of Mars depicted in pictures and the Grand Canyon in Hollywood films, which makes the visitor think as if he or she were wandering in another planet.
During sunrise and sunset the environment glitters in purple colour, bestowing unforgettable impressions to the observers!


Situated on the bank of the Aral Sea Muynak used to be one of the developing towns of Central Asia. The noisy shores of that magnificent lake could make the entire city vibrant welcoming with its striking waves. However, today retreat of Aral resulted in appearing cemetery… for ships in Muynak.
In the early 1970’s Aral Sea Shipping stopped as the lake began losing its fertility, and now it is impossible even to imagine that this white desert used to be a lovely place for fishermen.
Between Muynak and Aral over a hundred km territory lies today, consisting of white salty-sand, under which hopes of people about returning Aral were buried.
Admitting reality, the locals left their homes, began adapting new conditions of the city. In the region the government tries to refine the economy within other sectors of social life of people.

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