Oasis around Mounts Syunt and Hasar

17 September 2021

Protected by two ridges of Mounts Syunt and Hasar, the valley of the Sumbar river is a wonderful corner of nature. The endlessly long Aydere gorge, partly included in the Syunt-Hasardag State Nature Reserve of the Ministry of Agriculture and Environment Protection of Turkmenistan, stretches there. The river of the same name, repeating the bends of the canyon’s sides, has a fast and stormy current, many small waterfalls – the most beautiful one can be found in the side gorge of the Sumbar valley called Gochdemir, and also rapids, rifts, chutes and shallow areas where moisture-loving and aquatic plants cling to the walls. Walking along this wide corridor, you can imagine yourself in a botanical garden, looking at the tall elm trees, which in the East are called karagach. These fast-growing light-loving deciduous giants are able to withstand cold and heat equally well. The tree adorns both the south and the north of the country, thus attracting the attention of gardeners and ecologists.

There, low trees of Acer turcomanicum coexist with thickets of barberry and wild rose, rare wild-growing trees of Malus turkmenorum and Pyrus boissieriana are hidden in the thick of the forest. The place near the water is occupied by walnut trees and white-trunked plane trees, wild grapes and lush blackberry bushes “cling” to smooth rocks, and fig and cherry plum trees have chosen the dry sides of the gorge. Plants form a dense mixed thicket growing together – there is enough space for every plant at the river that gives life. At the entrance to the township of Parhay with famous healing springs, including hydrogen sulphide ones, there is the estate of the Syunt-Hasardag Nature Reserve, whose workers protect natural landscapes and habitats of rare species and are engaged in reforestation in the buffer part of the territory of strict nature protection. Not far from the main estate, there is a section of the cordon of the Galalyhoz reserve, which repeats the name of the former fortress at the foot of Mount Syunt. Inspectors of nature protection Begench Saparmammedov and Maksat Taganamanov and a supply manager Bayram Jumanazarov work there. For the last two months they have been putting in order the green forestry sowing forage grasses, looking after the autumn crops of seedlings of woody plants such as almond trees, pomegranates, walnut and pistachio trees, cherry and other fruit trees. Each bed gave a hundred seedlings. In three years, the seedlings grown with pure mountain water will replenish natural forests.