The Sarmish Gorge, also known as Sarmishsay, is located on the southern slopes of the Karatau Mountain range, 30-40km far from the city of Navoi. To the south of the range lies the Zarafshan Valley, which borders the Kyzylkum desert. Since ancient times the Karatau mountainous area served as an intersection of seasonal migration routes for people and animals.
Sarmish-Say is the largest gorge in the area among many other picturesque ones in the Karatau range. However, this place is famous for its petroglyphs made by early man, which have a global significance. The prehistoric picture gallery includes over 4000 petroglyphs scattered around the gorge for over 2 km distance. The majority of the petroglyphs are considered to be from the Bronze Age (3000-900 B.C.). But there are also motives dating back to eneolith (4000-3000 B.C.), neolith (6000-4000 B.C.) and even late mesolithic (15000-6000 B.C.).
The petroglyphs usually present prehistoric images of hunters with wild animals or predators, rituals or domestic scenes from the life of ancient people, series of images of domestic animals, including dogs, sheep and camel. The latest of the rock paintings also include armed men and rulers.
The unique petroglyphs and pictographs, which are not copied elsewhere, make this gorge attractive not only for tourists but also for scholars from all around the world. This rock gallery still can tell so much about prehistoric human life, which still is somehow unknown for us.
Sarmish-Say is in the tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage status.
You can visit this site with our Yurts and deserts tour to Uzbekistan.