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Nukus

Nukus is the capital of the autonomous republic of Karakalpakstan that is considered to be a part of Uzbekistan. It is surrounded by three deserts: Karakum (Black Sand), Kyzylkum (Red Sand), and Akkum (White Sand). The Akkum or Aralkum desert appeared on the site of the famous Aral Sea. It is called “Akkum” because the salt made the sand white. Despite its position, Nukus is a real oasis: a modern city with friendly residents and developed infrastructure for tourists.

According to researchers, the first settlements on the site of Nukus appeared about 2500 years ago and they had great strategic importance.  The Amu Darya was the border of the ancient Khorezm. The city controlled the water of the rivers, which led to a great irrigation system and a safe journey on the boats. When the raids of nomadic tribes began, the city looked like the fortress. As a rule, tourists begin their journey along the Ustyurt plateau or to the shores of the Aral Sea from Nukus.

It is worth mentioning that Nukus is a place where the Savitsky State Museum of Art is located. It is one of the largest museums in the republic. It was founded by Igor Vitalievich Savitsky, an artist, ethnographer, art critic, and researcher. His fate was truly amazing, he devoted his whole life to the study and collection of the traditional art of the Karakalpaks. All his findings are now kept in the museum. In addition, Savitsky collected in Nukus the paintings by Russian and Soviet avant-garde. Savitsky is burred in Nukus. He left a whole museum, a monument to his colossal work, which now contains about 90,000 exhibits. He remained in the memory as the “Brilliant Savior of Beauty” of a small people on the shore of the missing sea.

The Local History Museum of Karakalpakstan which has 21 rooms with expositions on various topics is also situated in Nukus. It is worth visiting, especially the archaeological findings hall where you can see the models of the ancient fortresses surrounding Nukus, as well as the arts and crafts hall. Continuing the theme of museums, you should definitely visit the relatively new museum named after the philosopher and poet Berdakh. This museum keeps the famous cultural heritage of the Karakalpak people. Berdakh is very famous for his monumental work “Shezhire” (Family Tree), for which he was recognized as a historian not only of the Karakalpaks but also of other nations of Asia. Without his works, many folk heroes would have been forgotten among descendants.

Nukus is of great interest to those who are interested in outdoor activities, ecotourism, and for those who like antiquity since within a few kilometers from the city there are curious constructions for the travelers. For example, Shylpyk is a circular building on a hilltop, erected in ancient times, resembling a crown on a mountain, Ayaz-Kala (Wind Fortress), or the ancient Mizdahan necropolis, with which many legends are connected.