Valley of Castles

The Peninsula of Mangystau

Kazakhstan

October 20, 2018

Hello from the Valley of Castles,

Here are excerpts for an official Mangystau publication:

The system of small remnant mountains is known among the local population under the name of Airakty-Shomanay.

In 1851, the great Ukrainian poet and artist T.G. Shevchenko was in exile here. These mountains so impressed him that he made a series of drawings under the poetic name "Valley of Castles."

The Airakty mountains really look like fairy-tale castles with spires, towers, colonnades and fortress walls.

A wild winding path, punched by semi-wild horses, leads to a small observation deck on one of the mountains, from which a panoramic view of the distant Aktau mountains and all the Airakty castles opens.

The valley is covered with small but gently fragrant Sogdian tulips in wet spring. If you are lucky, then you will see a couple of cautious mouflons - mountain sheep.

On the top of the large table mountain Airakty - Razdvoennaya on the south side is a small trail. One local shepherd told that in the mountain there is a deep cave, in which he is afraid to go.

Despite its visual attractiveness, "Valley of Castles" is waterless and practically devoid of any tree-like vegetation.

As they say about the peninsula of Mangyshlak (Mangystau),

“The Earth is exposed here to the bones!”

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