Muynak – the story of dried up lives

Muynak

Muynak, once a bustling fishermen community and the only port city in Uzbekistan with a population of tens of thousands, is now miles away from the shore of the rapidly retreating Aral Sea, almost like a shadow of its former self. Fishing has always been part of the region's economy, and Muynak has become a fishing and canning centre.

Pollution from the regional agricultural monoculture and excess of agrochemicals dominated by cotton production by separating water from the river tributaries feeding the lake for irrigation caused the lake to evaporate, and the remaining water was highly saline and toxic, destroying the inhabitants of the towns in the region including the lake and Muynak caused environmental disaster.

Muynak's biggest tourist attraction is the rusted ships that formed the once proud fishing fleet during the Soviet era, and a one-room museum dedicated to Muynak's legacy as a centre of the fishing industry. Toxic dust storms triggered by strong winds along the dry and polluted lake bed are increasing the number of chronic and acute illnesses among the few citizens, many of whom are ethnic Karakalpakstan, who choose to stay there, and the air not softened by the lake is causing the city to have hotter summers and colder winters.

The Aral Sea faced absolute drying up, especially due to incorrect engineering projects in the 1960s, and by the 1980s the Aral Sea had lost half of its water availability in the 1960s. Basically, the drinkable feature of the lake and the diversity of fish began to be affected, and the famous species of the lake, such as carp, sturgeon, and tabby, disappeared. Today, industrial fishing is almost finished in the Aral Sea, this has led to the gradual depopulation of some villages near the lake shore, as not only fishing but also drying of the lake water has already caused the semi-arid climate to turn into a harsh desert climate. Famous for its islands, there are more than 1000 islands with a total surface area of 1 hectare, large and small, in the Aral Sea, today these islands are united with the mainland.

Muynak
Muynak

Ashgabat tours

LAND OF ANCIENT CIVILIZATION

8 days
Small Group
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LAND OF ANCIENT CIVILIZATION

8 days
Small Group
Any time
Half board
More details

LAND OF ANCIENT CIVILIZATION

8 days
Small Group
Any time
Half board
More details