In the Land of Deep Canyons

Turkmenistan is the land of the most ancient civilisations, its centres of culture and agriculture of different time periods are an archaeological Klondike for the representatives of the scientific world. The very beautiful natural landscapes with a contrasting microclimate and unique nature, where ecosystems of mountains, deserts and the sea coexist, “breathe” with history. The Koytendag Mountains, a land of legends, unique natural monuments and distinctive traditions, attractive in the ecological, scientific, geological, historical, cognitive and aesthetic terms, have many notable natural attractions. The word “Koytendag” means “mountains of deep canyons”. There, the highest mountains in the country with deep lakes and long karst caves are located. The natural beauty of those places is mostly protected within the Koytendag State Natural Reserve of the Ministry of Agriculture and Environment Protection of Turkmenistan.

Saxaul Wood at Lake Zengi-Baba

In the north of Turkmenistan, there is a kind of green-blue oasis among the desert steppes with channels and collectors connecting the lakes, around which separate ecosystems, “islands of life”, surrounded by coastal shrub vegetation, have formed. The total area of the water basin of one of the largest lakes in the country, Zengi-Baba, is 2,470 hectares, it was formed as a result of filling the depression at the north-western side of the hill of the same name with collector-drainage waters coming from the agricultural areas of the Dashoguz velayat. The maximum depth in the eastern part of the reservoir reaches 16 metres. On the northern side, the Kangakyr upland adjoins the reservoir with a chink steep descent. The southern and eastern banks are gently sloping, on their sandy areas xerophytic vegetation, black saxaul woods and wormwood communities with the participation of saltworts, grows. Besides, in some places, there is the tamarisk and camel thorn, and reeds are well developed closer to the water. There is no permanently residing population in those places; distant-pasture animal husbandry is developed to a small extent.ö

Triumph of Peace and Good

From ancient times, many peoples have associated the arrival of spring with the beginning of a new life, permeated with joy from warm days and the blessed rays of the sun that awaken nature from winter sleep, when buds swell on the branches of trees, the first flowers bloom, and everything around is covered with a green carpet. The earth is entering a magical period of renewal of nature, and people celebrate this event with a big holiday, Nowruz, wishing good, warmth and prosperity to their neighbours. Living for centuries as a symbol of peace, friendship and good neighbourliness, colourful Nowruz was awarded international status as a phenomenon strengthening relations among states and popularising the historical and cultural traditions of the peoples of the East. Every year, on the eve of spring celebrations, themed exhibitions devoted to the national holiday of Nowruz are opened at the temples of art of our country.

Koytendag – the Land of the unique beauty and sound Health

Turkmenistan is a country extremely rich in historical, cultural and natural monuments. One of the most beautiful places in our country is the Koytendag region, which attracts travelers and leisure lovers with its magnificent sites and extraordinary natural beauty. This fabulously beautiful corner of our country is known all over the world for its mysterious grottoes and caves, majestic gorges, water cascades sparkling in the sun, amazing waterfalls and healing mountain lakes, as well as unique fauna and flora. Getting into any of the gorges, lakes and caves, one can find himself in the fantastic world filled with unique beauty peculiar only to the Koytendag mountains. The caves of the Koytendag mountains, also known as Garlyk caves, including Khashimoyuk, Gulshirin, Aralik, Kepderkhana, Kapkotan, Dashyurek are very popular among tourists. These caves are famous all over the world and a visit to them leaves an unforgettable experience. As invaluable natural attractions, the Garlyk Caves are considered worthy of being included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The underground caves of the Koytendag literally resemble the magnificent and unique palaces of the underworld. The beautiful halls, beautifully decorated with stalactites and stalagmites, are rich in beautiful forms, like in fairy tales. When light falls on magical halls covered with eternal darkness, amazing beauty aris

A Precious Gift of Nature

The complex of ecosystems of the Karakum and Kyzylkum Deserts with the exotic landscape of the arid zone and the change of unrepeatable areas of overgrown and mobile dunes, expanses of brackish, rocky, gravelly and clay-loamy soils of arid landscapes leaves an unforgettable impression. For all its seemingly unfriendliness towards travellers, this land is full of original and charming beauty. Anyone who has been there at least once, spent a night under the dome of bright stars in the steppe without electric lighting accompanying the highways and villages, will fall in love with that land forever. Such a person will be attracted by the memories of loose ridges of dunes, pink sunrise, the scorching sun of noon and a long fading sunset, brisk lizards and cheerful birdies of a bright and laced saxaul forest, fragrant herbs, night chirping sounds and a pile of saxaul coals smouldering in the night for a tea tuncha and long stories at the dastarkhan in the expedition bivouac.

Black Spots on Long Ears

We happened to see these charming animals before – in vicinity of Lake Sarykamysh and Zengi-baba, where a hare has where to hide. All it has to do is to dive into thicket of reeds or get lost amidst the trunks and branches of saxaul. However, this time we were lucky to see a tolai hare in the mountains in the territory of the Kopetdag Nature Reserve. The hare that had met few people, not frightened by them, was in no hurry to get away. It ran past us, amongst the tall bushes of blackberries and barberries, stopped and looked around. We froze – the hare was so close that we could see it. Black spots on its ears and paws became clearly visible in scarce grass when it jumped to the side. It turned out that hares live not only in tugay, near rivers, lakes and in the Karakum Desert, but also in the middle mountain belt. Scientists find the tolai hare in the mountains at an altitude of up to 2,500 metres above sea level, and they say that it is larger than the sandy hare.

Resources of the Zengibaba Lake

We can see the Akjagaya Basin, the Mergenashan Ravine, including Zengibaba area near the Gaplanggyr Reserve in the territory of the Dashoghuz Province. They are located in the desert area in 180 km. distance from the centre of the Dashoghuz Province and in 60 km. of south-west from the Ruhubelent township, at the foot of the Shasenem State Nature Reserve. These beautiful places of nature are remarkable for their geographic location, by their unique flora and fauna. According to the legend among the people once upon a time the saint person by the name Zengibaba lived in this part of the country. He was the god of cows. Sitting on top of the hill on the bank of the lake with fresh water, around which there was abundance of green grass Zengibaba pastured cows. The seven metre long grave of Zengibaba has preserved to our times on the top of the mentioned hill. The lake situated near it is called the Zengibaba Lake. The total area of the Zengibaba Lake is equal to 2470 hectares and the volume of water is equal to 140 cubic metres. It borders on the Shasenem State Reserve. This lake was formed as a result of flow of drains in the north-west of the Zengibaba Elevation. The deepest point of it reaching 16 metres of depth is situated in the eastern part of the lake. Large and small drains joining together form the 15 km. long lake. The bushes of tamarisk and ca

A Legend of the Great Balkhan

The Great Balkhan is a mountain range in the west of Turkmenistan, in the Balkan velayat, near the south-eastern coast of the Caspian Sea. The dry river bed separates it from the Small Balkhan and the western end of the Kopetdag ridge. The highest point of the Great Balkhan is Mount Arlan. The mountains are famous in all the surroundings, and the ridge itself looks like a fortress, towering over the surrounding plains. Many legends are associated with the mountain system of the Great Balkhan. Thus, there are widespread legends about the valour of people living in the mountains, who experienced many ordeals. One of the legends says that once the Great Balkhan abounded in mountain springs, but during one of the enemy raids, the locals clogged them with felt mats. When the enemies left, people failed to make the precious water come back. There is a hope in this legend that the water will return, and the surroundings of Balkhan will again turn into a blooming oasis.

On Useful Properties of Plants

The history of the development of therapeutic and daily nutrition, based on herbal ingredients, goes back to time immemorial. Since ancient times, the inhabitants of the oases at the foothills of the Kopetdag Mountains have cultivated the land and grown cereals, legumes, vegetables, fruit, melons and gourds, besides, they have traditionally collected edible wild plants. Such a food is of energy value in the form of fibre, starch, sugars, proteins and fats, it enriches the diet with vitamins, microelements and biologically active substances. 

A Mystery of the Coloured Mountains

Long time ago I heard about the “colour canyon”, the beauty of which I saw only in photographs. Finally, I got an opportunity to see it with my own eyes. We left Balkanabat with a group of like-minded people and headed to the north along the Oglanly road in the hope that we would arrive at the place before sunset. The route was complicated and the road was long, but the desire to see the canyon, which I believed hid some kind of mystery, was irresistible. For some reason, subconsciously, I expected something fantastic from the trip that I had never seen before, although I often go hiking in the mountains. On the way, we came across the chains of camels gravely wandering along the side of the road. The picturesque hills with flocks of sheep darted past. Here we are! We drove straight to the top of the mountain, from where a breath-taking view of the colourful splendour of Yangi-Kala opened up. Below, at a depth of several hundred metres, we saw an incredibly beautiful heap of bizarre limestone deposits that look like frozen lava. We arrived right before sunset, and we had enough time to adjust the camera to capture the unusual colours of Yangi-Kala in the sunset rays. We walked down and examined the bottom of the canyon. What I saw made me forget about fatigue from the long journey; I wanted to use every minute of my stay in that spectacular place, to contemplate the natural