Aktau – this is a small, washed by the Caspian Sea, a warm town, which is situated in south-western part of Kazakhstan, on the Mangyshlak Peninsula. Today, it is the regional center of Mangistau region, expanded in an area of 166 square kilometers and has a population of 173 thousand people.
Its birth city owes to the found here in the 60 years of XX century considerable deposits of uranium and oil. Therefore, in 1963 year, namely here in the salty desert, that was seemingly committed uninhabitable place for living, people started to build a city. First of all, on the shore of the Caspian port appeared for transportation of various dry cargos, oil and products of uranium production. The port town grew quickly and a year later became a city, which was named as Shevchenko after the Ukrainian rebel poet, who served time of references in these places. Much later, the port played a crucial role in building of a nuclear power plant BN-350 on the site, as well as refineries and chemical uranium industry, which gave impetus to the growth of the city.
The city got its present name in 1991 year, after the Republic of Kazakhstan gained the independence. And nowadays, it is considered to be the only seaport of the country, intended for international traffic, an indispensable element of the Europe-Asia trade, which passes through the Caspian and Black Sea, the Volga-Don and the White Sea-Baltic canals.
The climate of the region, despite the proximity of the sea is sharply continental and dry with very hot summers and cold windy winters. Conditions are complicated by the fact that there is no fresh water in the area for hundreds of miles.
However, for a man, nothing is impossible, and fresh drinking water is delivered now to Aktau thanks to desalination plant of nuclear power complex (MAEC), which prepares and blends the distillate produced from sea water with water from an artesian deposit of «Kuylyus.»
Everything here depends on the enterprise, because even for watering multiple green areas the recycled seawater is used.
Modern Aktau – it is a real paradise for holidaymakers, beach season in the city lasts from May to September, during which the average water temperature is +21 ° C. That is why the authorities decided to build here Aktau-City — the largest entertainment and tourist center of Kazakhstan.
These days, for the work on the project the architects of the U.S., Europe, Australia and UAE are involved. In the nearest future audacious plan will be brought to life in an area of 4 hectares. It will be a modern metropolis — a city in the city. The plans provide all the opportunities to its residents, without leaving their neighborhood, can solve all the domestic and social issues, ranging from dry cleaners and pharmacies to large purchases. The construction of health care and education objects, framed, according to the a design plan with modern equipment, are also in the development stage.
All this will be for the foreseeable future, however, nowadays tourists do not get bored in this great city either.
In the Actau itself, as well as in the surrounding area, there is a well organized beach and recreational areas. Thus, accommodations for the tourist adapt numerous hotels and resorts, which are today beautiful villa communities.
History lovers will be interested to know that there is quite a plenty museums with exhibits in Mangystau that reflect the ancient history of the region, and in the region remained 11 thousand historical and natural sites that deserve close attention.
Attractions in Aktau.
Underground mosque of Becket-ata.
On the famous Ustyurt plateau, in Mangistau region of Kazakhstan there is one of the most revered Muslim shrines of the country — an underground mosque of «Becket-ata.» It was founded by the famous theologian and prophetic — Becket-Ata at the end of the XVIII century. Elder, who was given a brilliant education in Bukhara, gained a popular fame at home as a prophet, healer and preacher. Rumors about the discovery of the school resounded throughout Central Asia, and soon made it one of the most important centers of education.
The mosque consists of four rooms, which were cut into the sandstone where a year-round temperature is maintained. There are also the holy tombs here — the tomb of the Becket-ata and his daughter.
Underground mosque of Shakpak-ata.
There is another one Muslim shrine near the mosque of Beckett-ata, which is sacred much — an underground mosque of Shakpak-Ata. There is reason to believe that it was carved in the rocks in the IX-X centuries on a plan Shakpak-ata, who was the grandson of the great prophet Shopan-ata. The mosque is situated near the mountainside of Cape Ungazy. That is a carved in the rock building in the form of a Latin cross. Inside the mosque consists of several rooms, the walls of which and niches for graves are covered with cryptic inscriptions and images of riders, horses, as well as floral pattern. The vault of the main room is supported by massive columns.
Depression of Karagiye.
That is a Natural landmark, located 50 kilometers from the city of Aktau in the eastern part of the Mangyshlak Plateau. Karagiye is one of the deepest basins in the world, its depth is 132 meters above the ocean. There is speculation that this trough is the bottom of an ancient salt lake of Batyr, as it is evidenced by outcrops, which were found here geological strata with numerous bones of fossil fish.
Mount of Sherkala.
In total, just 170 kilometers to the north from Aktau, in the desolate desert terrain there is famous mountain-Sherkala, which was formed by centuries of erosion destruction of the local breed. Some argue that it is like a bowl, which was turned down by the traveler, who quenched the thirst. Others claim that the mountain looks like the tent on one side and on the other — the beast lurking in ambush. Is it such a way or not – that is for you to judge, maybe your fantasy will tell that something entirely different. At the base of the mountain there are the remains of the fortified settlement belonged to the XII-XIII centuries. In addition, there is the mysterious valley of Sharov not far away, where more than a dozen rounded boulders were gathered in a small area, the origin and destination of which still remain a mystery.
Ustyurt State Nature Reserve.
In the south-east of Mangistau region, in a very curious place called «The Sands of Tuyesu», where the dunes reach a height of 10 meters, the Ustyurt State Nature Reserve is situated. It was established in 1984 year in an area of 223 hectares and was designed for the protection of flora and fauna of the area of deserts. There are more than 263 species of plants, as well as 45 species of mammals, 22 species of reptiles and 111 species of birds can be found here. Of the rarest birds flamingos, balaban, peregrine falcon, vulture, steppe eagles, golden eagles, owls and many others permanently resident in the reserve. Among the rare animals, which can be met here are: Ustyurt mouflon, gazelle, karakaly, manul, dressings, dunes cats, honey badger and cheetahs.