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Nurata, a small town flattened by the desert Kizilkum against the range Nuratau, has an ancient history. It is the administrative, economic and cultural center of the most mountainous area in Navoi province. The town lies at the foot of the Nurata Mountains, occupying 170 sq. km, from Djizak town in the east to Navoi town in the west on the border with the Kizilkum desert.
The highest peak of the whole mountain range is Hayatbashi (2169 m). Nurata is the land of acclaimed masters of stock - breeding, the land of folklore, the land of affable welcoming and diligent people.
The holy places are still inplaced here, which attract travelers from all over Central Asia. Already in the antique times here was a large settlement. Khusan`s mosque and the holy mineral spring "Chashma" has special significance among Muslim holy places. According to the legend the history of the spring’s origin is as follows: prophet Mohamed’s son-in-law Hazret Ali hit the ground with his stick and drove in a spring to give the people to drink.
Hundreds of holy fish "marinkas" inhabit in Chashma spring, which ensure the purity of the spring. It is a great pleasure to feed and observe the fish.
We can also see the ruins of walls of ancient Nurata citadel, which has been depleted by time. An ancient bazaar sits nearby the spring, which is unique with its eastern style. A special interest is taken in Namozgokh mosque (X century) which was reconstructed by Emir Abdullah in 1582. The roof of the mosque is adorned by 25 domes.
Nurata is the only place in Uzbekistan where the system of water wells and underground galleries are still in place. The system of an ancient water line kyariz operating from early centuries till now also attracts the attention of guests. They were constructed for the use of underground water and water was pumped by gravity onto the surface.
In Sarmysh gorge, located 40 km away from Nurata, you can see more than 3 thousands ancient petroglyphs (rock drawings) which date back to the Bronze Age. The majority bears pictures of animals that inhabited here in ancient times: bulls, mountain goats, Siberian mountain goats - teke, wild rams, wild boars and others.
Camel farms, located in the north of Nurata, can provide for a ride anyone willing to take a look at life in the desert with Silk Road’s habitual style. A greater number of Kazakh families live in Kizilkum. Kazak yurts (traditional dwellings) sit nearby modern huts and preferable for summer use. Two parts of desert life that have been preserved for centuries are the Yurt(round tents) and the Camel (the "ship of the desert"). Despite their drab appearance, the yurts are decorated with colorful blankets and jewelry pieces inside. So Just as in ancient times, today you can experience a night in the yurt and camel ride on two - humped Bactrian camel. A trip to the desert is the perfect complement to sightseeing, as it is quite a different experience from sightseeing. You are able to be both active while also having an opportunity to rest and enjoy the natural environment.
The guests are always welcomed and treated with fresh jugs of Kumis (a traditional drink made out of horse milk).
Sarmish - Say Petroglyphs.
Sarmish - say is a river gorge on the south slope of the Karatau mountain ridge belonging to the Zarafshan mountain range. It is situated about 30 km northeast of the city of Navoi, which is about 170 km southwest of Samarkand.
The petroglyphs (the carved drawings of primitive people) from the Bronze Age (ca 6000 - 4000 BC), with a total number of more than 4000 thousands, constitute the most important part of the archaeological landscape of Sarmish - say. They are spread all over the territory of the site - at the first sight rather spontaneously, wherever the suitable rock material is found, but in fact their location is determined by certain natural conditions of the landscape, and also by the cultural and functional contents of its particular elements.
The best examples of petroglyphs of all epochs are concentrated in the picturesque canyon, that has rather limited conditions for the building of settlements, but is most suitable for the rock art activity and, probably, for the collective rituals. Also, there are single petroglyphs and simple compositions of the common contents (depictions of animals and scenes of hunting) found on separate stones near the sources of water, along the transit mountain routes and on the tops of hills or mountainous stones dominating there. Nevertheless, despite of the high concentration of petroglyphs and other monuments within the complex, the landscape to a considerable degree keept its desert virgin character.
In addition to the petroglyphs, there is a cave used by primitive people. Many complicated paths connect rooms located under ground, which was an ideal place to stay cool during the hot summer days and warm during cold winter nights.
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