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 a large population of marsh turtles, which are found nowhere else in Mangystau.
Upstream of the lake is the Bronze Age Saurin Fortress (Сауринской репости), however its exact location remains a bit of a mystery. According to Mangystau’s Department of Culture, which also has 360-degree videos of Saura Canyon, all that remains of the fortress is a 30 m long stone wall built across a tributary canyon. Excavations revealed several finds, such as flint objects, copper ore, the remains of an Iron Age skeleton, an iron knife, clay vessels, beads, and a red-coloured geometric figure painted on a rock slab.
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