More than half of the territory of Uzbekistan, more precisely 75% of the land are the deserts. The hot continental climate makes them nearly uninhabited. They are not classy sand deserts you are expecting to see. The palette of colours and landscapes make them attractive to travellers.
Deserts in Uzbekistan: Kyzyl-Kum
Kyzyl-Kum is the largest desert on the territory of Uzbekistan and one of the largest of Eurasia. Stretching from the Amu Darya to the Syr Darya it occupies more than 300.00 sq.km. Sand massifs, sandstones, small ridges, and spiky rocks are the landscapes of Kyzyl-Kum. Due to the red sand, the desert got its name, which means Red Sands in Turkish. With a continental climate, summers are extremely hot here with an absolute absence of precipitation. Rains are possible in spring and winter. Groundwater sources are the only source of water for wildlife. In spite of the severe climate, the nature of Kyzyl-Kum is rich and diverse.
In the times of the Great Silk road, the caravans passed the great Kyzyl-Kum desert. Today they are only nomads that are breeding karakul sheep in the desert. Those who were born here say that the beauty of the desert cannot be compared with anything else in this world. Indeed, the colours and landscapes of Kyzyl-Kum are fascinating.
Deserts in Uzbekistan: Aralkum
Aralkum is the youngest of the deserts in Uzbekistan that has appeared on the place of the Aral Sea. It is more often called Akkum (white desert) due to white salt covering the soil. The natural disaster, the drying of the Aral Sea even today is getting smaller day by day. The area of Aralkum desert is now 38 thousand sq.km.
There is no wildlife in the desert; the flora is also poor. The abundance of toxic substances, salt, and pesticides turned the territory into a dead desert with regular dust storms. These storms are so severe that toxic substances are spread across the world and found in Antarctica and Greenland. According to scientists the Aral Sea dried out and appeared three times and there is still hope that one day the beautiful sea will appear in its original size.
Deserts in Uzbekistan: Ustyurt
Ustyurt plateau is located on the territory of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, between the Amu Darya delta and the Aral Sea in the east. This mysterious place was the crossroad of many ancient civilizations and you can still feel the flair of millennia. The territory is all about historical sites; cemeteries and mausoleums are spread on the road of caravans that crossed the desert for thousand years.
Ustyurt is a rocky plaster desert with unique flora and fauna that are included in the Red Book. The impressive landscape of the desert and unimaginable sunsets will remind you of a popular scene from Hollywood western movies.
Deserts in Uzbekistan: Mirzacho’l
Clay desert stretches to the north from the foothills of Nuratau ridge to Fergana valley. In the North-West, it borders with the Kyzyl-Kum desert. Mirzacho’l occupies 10 thousand sq.km. The desert is also called “Hungry Steppe” due to the lack of precipitation. Dry air and constant high temperature bring to high evaporation and dry soil. Such conditions badly influenced on the cotton cultivation.
Thanks to human resources and efforts, 500 thousand hectares of the desert was turned into a regularly irrigated agricultural territory and today it is considered to be one of the main cotton-producing regions in Uzbekistan.
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