Buzachi Peninsula Deserts

The Buzachi Peninsula has five small ‘sands’ (пески), which is a Russian term for a small desert: the Kyzylkum (Кызылкум), Uvahkum (Увахкум), Shulshagylkum (Шулшагылкум), Zhilimshik (Жилимшик) and Egizlak (Эгизлак). The Kyzylkum Sands start on the outskirts of Shebir village and extend 30 km west to Kiyakty where it merges with the Uvahkum Sands. The Uvahkum […]

Saura Canyon

Steep cliffs beside a small, green lake in Saura Canyon.

Ninety kilometres north of Aktau is Saura Canyon. It starts 2.5 km inland, runs southwest towards the Caspian Sea and ends in front of the abandoned Soviet-era fishing village of Saura. Half a kilometre to the west is Karakul, an oasis-like lake in a smaller side canyon of the same name. It’s also home to […]

New Alexander Fort

Satellite view of New Alexander Fort, showing the outline of the old walls.

Overlooking Dead Kultuk Bay is New Alexander Fort. It’s located on the cliff edge of the Western Chink Ustyurt (Западный Чинк Устюрт) and was in use from 1834-1846. Russian General Vasily Perovsky, who oversaw two attempts to conquer Central Asia in the Khiva and Kokand campaigns, ordered the fort to be built. His reason for […]

Aktau-Buzachinskiy Nature Reserve

Photo from space of the Dolgiy Peninsula.

Established in 1982, the Aktau-Buzachinskiy Nature Reserve (Актау-Бузачинский Заповедник) covers an area larger than Greater London. Animals living in the area include the Ustyurt mouflon, Brandt’s hedgehog, Persian gazelle, foxes, caracal, steppe polecat, Pallas’ cat, whooper swans, occasional saiga herds, wolves, Caspian seals, and Dalmatian and eastern white pelicans. Map Data: Google, © 2021 Landsat […]

Kaydak Bay

High shot from space showing Kaydak Bay, Dead Kultuk and Buzachi Peninsula.

Kaydak Bay is a 15 km wide salt marsh extending for over 100 km along the Buzachi Peninsula’s east coast. A 1–2 metre high depositional bar separates the bay from the Caspian Sea, both of which lie 30 m below sea level. From time to time the sea breaches the bar and floods the bay […]

Dead Kultuk and Durnev Islands

Satellite image of Dead Kultuk and Durnev Islands.

From the 17th to 20th century, Dead Kultuk has had a three different names: Blue Bay, Tsesarevich Bay and Komsomolets Bay. At the entrance of the 70 km-wide bay are the Durnev Islands. For unknown reasons many online reports make it sound like there’s only one island off of Buzachi’s northern coastline. However, if you […]