Ustyurt plateau

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Ustyurt plateau. The historic reserve.

Ustyurt plateauA place - mystery – the plateau of Ustyurt is situated between the Mangyshlyk peninsula and the Cora Bagaza Gol Gulf in the West, the Aral Sea and the Amu Darya delta in the East. This huge lofty plain has an area of about 200,000 square kilometers. But although the highest point of the plateau does not exceed 350meters, however, Ustyurt looks like sharply outlined object in the surrounding countryside, thanks to steep slopes - escarpment, that rise like steep walls to a height of 200-300meters. Escarpments cover the whole territory of Ustyurt with a broken line, emphasizing boldly its geographical boundaries.

The nature of the plateau is quite distinctive and unique. Such "space" landscapes like these can not be found anywhere else. Within a few days a traveler sees all around him only a flat horizon, as smooth as a table surface. And only occasionally the plain is furrowed by small round depressions, which are recognizable by a change in vegetation than by sight. The origin of the soil and vegetation on Ustyurt plateau shows that the plain is considered to be desert, partly rocky, because of Sarmatian limestones, partly clayish because of the suspension and loams which form the surface. Groundwater and desert weathering have an enormous influence into shaping the modern topography. Groundwater used to come out to the surface as springs and to form the famous chinks, and as a rule, contribute the slipping down of huge boulders and capturing more and more new territory from plateau.

But not only natural beauty attracts intrepid travelers to come here. Ustyurt is surprising and offensively scantily place, although for centuries this plateau was considered to be the crossroad of civilizations. Although nowadays the plateau is practically deserted, in ancient times people used it very intensively, and its history remembers and cherishes the traces of the Scythians, the Mongols, and even earlier nations.

The main attractions of the Ustyurt plateau are archaeological sites of antiquity. More than sixty Neolithic parkings are found on the plain. In the Middle Ages through the Ustyurt numerous caravan routes held the way, such as the road of Khorezm Shahs, connecting Khiva with downstream of Volga and Emba. It was the namely caravan route where the ancient city of Sharh-i-Wazir, a caravanserai of Beleuli and also a fortress of Allan located.

A great number of ancient necropolis and places of worship are scattered here all around the plateau. There are antique Sarmatian burial of ancient nomads, majestic mausoleums of Mazar-i-Islamic period and standing apart so-called "arrows". These "Arrows" of Ustyurt are poorly studied ancient structures. Almost all of them are very similar and represent the foundation in the form of a bag, from which two arrows (about 500-800 meters each) with strong tips drop off. Arrows are limited by low curbs along the entire length on both sides in the direction towards the tips which represent pits up to 2 meters in depth. It is very similar to the symbols of maps of hostilities since the Great Patriotic War. Scientists still do not have an unified opinion about the use of such facilities. Hypotheses say that the arrows were used for seasonable mass-hunting for ungulates or for collecting water. While ufologists, relying on the fact that the "arrows" are clearly visible from above and at the same time are almost unnoticeable on the ground, argue that these structures are complex and represent an ancient spaceport, the same as in the Peruvian desert of Nazca.