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Mangystau and Ustyurt Plateau


Shakpakatasay Mangystau

This is one of the largest canyons in Mangystau. It is located at the northern end of the peninsula and is an incredibly beautiful valley, locked between the steep chalk slopes. Entering the canyon from the south, you find yourself in a kingdom of fairy-tale forms: the rocky towers surrounding you resemble ancient fortresses. The canyon ends almost on the coast, near the famous underground Shakpak Ata mosque.

Shakpak Ata mosque

Shakpak Ata
An underground mosque, one of the most famous in Kazakhstan. According to various sources, the period from the 9th to the 12th century is called the start of its construction. Shakpak Ata is a whole memorial complex: there is a mosque carved in stone and a necropolis. To the west of the mosque there are also sites of ancient people of the Paleolithic and Neolithic times. According to legends, the founder of the Shakpak-Ata (Shah Mardan) mosque was the grandson of Shopan-Ata, one of the disciples and followers of Yassaui. Shakpak Ata was known for being able to strike fire with his hands (shakpak in Kazakh means flint). There are indeed deposits of silicon near the mosque, which can be collected here right on the surface.

Torysh - Valley of balls

Torysh - Valley of balls
This mysterious place is a plain strewn with perfectly round ball stones. The sizes of the stones vary from several tens of centimeters to several meters in diameter, and most contain an interesting "filling" of fossilized sea animals and shells. According to one theory, the stones were formed when clay, layer by layear, thousands of years wrapped the small volcanic fragments.


A small tract, which was a tropical forest about 200 million years ago. Thanks to the fire, the forest reached us in the form of hills of coal, fancifully washed out by rains and acquired interesting forms.

Sherkala mountain

The famous Mangystau mountain, resembling a huge yurt or bowl in outline. It has become a real visiting card of Western Kazakhstan, and its image can be seen on the 1,000-tenge banknote. The name, translated from Turkic, means "lion's fortress", and this corresponds to reality - during the Great Silk Road there was a fortress that guarded the caravan paths. 

Zhigylgan - Fallen Earth

Zhigylgan - Fallen Earth
This is the name of a huge karst hole on the coast of the Caspian Sea. There are many legends around this amazing place, because its view is truly breathtaking. This is an almost round "hole" in the ground with a diameter of about 10 km and a depth of at least 80 meters. According to science, the sinkhole was formed due to the erosion of the soil under the surface, but one simply does not want to believe in such scientific explanations, standing on the edge of this abyss. 

Airakty Shomanai

Airakty Shomanai
This is the local Valley of Castles, which lives up to its name. The tract in the Ayrakty mountains is famous for the fabulous landscapes of sharp ridges, resembling either palaces with temples, or fantastic animals. By the way, animals are also found here - if you are very lucky, you can meet the rarest mouflon (mountain wild ram). 


This is a beautiful endless valley with a dry salt lake. The mountains surrounding the ancient reservoir caress the eye with color and shapes, and if you ride on a perfectly smooth salt bottom, you can truly feel like a pilot of an American racing car rushing along the surface of the same dry lake in the United States. Even more original panoramas of the shores of multi-colored clay, whimsically cut by water and winds, open from the bottom. And the background for them is a dazzling white salty surface. 

Shopan Ata Mangystau

Shopan Ata
The underground mosque Shopan Ata is known far beyond the borders of Kazakhstan, and is one of the largest religious complexes in Mangystau. Those who wish to be healed strive here all year round - this place has remained sacred for almost a thousand years. The first buildings here date back to the 12th century. According to legend, Shopan-Ata was the teacher and mentor of the famous religious figure Beket Ata, so many people start their pilgrimage to the Beket Ata mosque here. 

Bokty mount Mount Bokty
This is a unique hill, standing alone in the middle of the surrounding salt marshes. The mountain is a long, geometric, even cone, made of multi-colored chalk layers, which makes it look like a layer cake. Its beauty is especially impressive against the backdrop of white wastelands. 
Boszhira Ustyurt plateau

Perhaps the most famous part of the Ustyurt platea -  mostly due to its pointed limestone peaks, also called Fangs. Bozzhirinskaya valley is huge - on three sides it is surrounded by white canyons, and in any direction there are breathtaking landscapes of rocks and mountains made of white-yellow-pink chalk. 

Becket Ata underground mosque

Beket Ata
Beket-Ata is one of the most revered religious leaders of Western Kazakhstan, who lived in the 18th century. Sufi, educator and batyr, builder of many famous mosques and madrasahs. He was buried in an underground mosque built by him in the Oglandy valley, thanks to which this place acquired the status of a sacred one. 


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