The Legends of Nurata

To Kyzyk Kum through the mysterious settlements of Nurata Mountains.

The names of some villages in Nurata come out of the old legends. People who live here all know that Alexander the Great, Arab conquerors, Genghis Khan and many others spent their time here during the winter. Tamerlane's and Bukhara emir's hunting zones had been in this area long time before. Here is one of the legends. Genghis Kahn decided to go towards Samarkand after taking Khorezm under the empire's control. And he sent the best cavalry corps with Djebe and Subutay on the top to explore and find out about the city. But there was a place between two mountain passes nearby Samarkand that is named "Shaytan Jiga" ("Devil's Helmet"). And Tamerlane's army faced a defeat right at the place. In fact this place has seen many defeats such as of Alexander the Great, Persian, Chinese and Genghis Khan's armies. This place does not even look nice nowadays. The land is mostly covered with stones, so no plants grow there. Just time to time you can catch a turf. However lots of little water fountains come out in the spring. Local citizens graze its goats and sheep here. Still this place is used to be called "wicked" though people do not remember where this name came from. Huge granite boulders, scattered on the valley, indeed, resemble the fantastic figures of demons. Someone finds them as a faces of ancient gods, and the features of animals - bears, tigers, giant frogs, lizard, and bird of prey. And one of the "sculptures" recalls the severed head of a giant person. Towering cliffs, similar to castles, labyrinths and frozen in stone fancy stage cluster in some places. Sometimes it seems that the soldiers are indeed hardened in battle. One legend says that once it made sacrifices to their gods, some pagan tribes. Another says that occurred heroes struggled in the mountains, and the heavens tremble, so that it fell down to the ground. The mountains have broken down and transformed into weird fragments. Perhaps those are petrified creatures for real? What if somebody will be able to wake the ancient forces up and revive them? After the defeat Djebe and Subutay decided to run with the remaining soldiers and arrived to the area of the Lake Fazilman. After two days of walking they had got here and began to set up their Gera (yurt), waiting for the leader. Genghis Khan rushed to the location of Djebe and Subutay when he had heard about the defeat. Bishop has decided to take the residents in his hands in order to take revenge of Samarkand, and invited them to perform the dirtiest work in his army for exchange for their lives. But one of the local commanders recognized Genghis Khan and run during the night away. The next morning the Lord was informed that the local commander had disappeared. It was said that he was taken by demons or he just fell into the lake. A few days later it was discovered that he was hiding in one of the villages at the foothills of the mountains. Angry Genghis Khan gave an order saying the commander to be found and burned on the spot .... Djebe went to accomplish the order with a few other soldiers. They went to Uhum village but could not find the commander. Despite, they got back with 10 jars of gold. And that is why this village became to be named Ohum which is composed of two words: "On- ten" and "Hum- jar". After they went up to Hayat village… Our tour guides can tell the continuation of this amazing legend.

Option 1. "Uhum-Hayat-Mojrumsay-Sentop-Kyzylkum" route

Our tour will introduce you to a unique flora and fauna, lifestyle, traditions, values of local mountain villages which are at the western part of Djizzak state, around the Lake Aydarkul. On the north side of Nuratau which are not that high is Nurata reserve. Fuit and nut forests, mountain complexes, and a unique population of mountain sheep Severtzov are protected by arrays.The top point of the Nurata mountains is Hayat-Bashi (2169m). In Nurata reserve walnuts, wild fruit, mulberry, poplar, willow, maple, elm, pistachio, almond, cotoneaster, wild rose, honeysuckle, hawthorn, prangos, ferule, zizifora, eremurus, tulips, astragalus, cereals cousin, luke, ungernia and everlasting are grown. The reserve is mixed of the mountains fauna and deserts. Here you can see the fox, wolf, sheep Severtsov, wild boar, porcupine, hare tolai, stone marten, weasel, coney, a lot of reptiles and about 150 sorts of birds.

At these country side areas villages are compact and built very tightly. Streets are not that straight and have number of impasses with basically walls and fences – doovals. Houses are mostly adobe (at the mountain area is appeared by settlements of the stones), with a flat roofs, and terrace (ayvan) could be seen time to time. As in eastern country the house is spited into two parts: for men and women. Unknown people are not allowed in the women's part. Moreover there is a special room for the guests called mehmonhona. The floor is covered with felts, cotton and woolen carpets. And then all around the place you can see long but tight sort of soft blankets for the sitting purposes named kurpacha, and a tablecloth in the middle named dastarhan. Walls are usually decorated with embroidery (Suzanne) carpets.

Best time to visit: from the Mid March - Mid June; and Mid September - Mid November
Complexity: upper medium
Total length of trekking part: 34km

Day 1. Tashkent – Uhum – Hayat (You can add Samarkand and Bukhara up on your route)

Leaving for Uhum. Lunch at Bakhrom's place in there. Little trek towards Hayat village. And viewing rock paintings (petroglyhps), seeing flora and fauna of the Nurata mountain region. This remote corner of the country was intensively used by a man since ancient times. The old hunting petroglyhps and remnants of ancient settlements were found on this territory, and it serves as a proof of human usage. The oldest archaeological monuments in the region belong to the Neolithic. The Climate is continental, a bit dry and warm. The fact of Kyzyl Kum's closeness makes a great influence of the region's climate.

You overnight at the traditional for this place house. You wil be introduced to a local culture and lifestyle. A dinner will be provided.

Day 2. Hayat – Mojrumsay –Sentop.

Trek to Mojrumsay. Visit to the thousand year old pie tree (juniper) in the valley of Majerumsay.
The diameter of the tree is more than 24m, and a circumference of the central branch of 12 m. The branches of the tree are so heavy that they are almost lying on the ground. On each of the side branches several people can fit in, and of a 5 - 6 people in the hollow. The age of the tree is more than 1500 years old. According to the saying of the local people it is believed that the tree was planted by soldiers of Alexander the Great. Then you have a lunch at the shade of the huge juniper. Leaving for Sentop. Dinner and overnight at the local guesthouse.

Day 3. Sentop – Kyzyl Kum Desert

Leaving for Kyzyl Kum area around the Lake Aydarkul after having a breakfast. A stop is at the lake with swimming and fishing available. Yurt camp is coming after. A short walk across the desert (on he foots or camels). Dinner with Akin's songs is in the evening. Overnight in yurts.

Day 4. Kyzyl Kum - Tashkent

Breakfast. Leaving for Tashkent.

Tour package includes:

  • transportation during the whole trip
  • living in a local guesthouse in Hayat, yurts in Kyzyl Kum
  • a local tour guide
  • a translator guide
  • all trip food (except last day lunch and dinner in Tashkent)

Tour package does not include:

  • first aid kit
  • insurance
  • personal expenses
  • service tips

Option 2. "Hayat - Lake Fazilman – Sentop – Kyzyl Kum desert" route

Best time to visit: from the Mid March - Mid June; and Mid September - Mid November
Complexity: medium
Total length of trekking part: 16km

Day 1. Tashkent – Uhum – Hayat

Leaving Tashkent for Uhum. Lunch at Bakhrom's place in there. Little trek towards Hayat village. And viewing rock paintings (petroglyhps), seeing flora and fauna of the Nurata mountain region. This remote corner of the country was intensively used by a man since ancient times. The old hunting petroglyhps and remnants of ancient settlements were found on this territory, and it serves as a proof of human usage. The oldest archaeological monuments in the region belong to the Neolithic. The Climate is continental, a bit dry and warm. The fact of Kyzyl Kum's closeness makes a great influence of the region's climate.

You overnight at the traditional for this place house. You wil be introduced to a local culture and lifestyle. A dinner will be provided.

Day 2. Hayat – Yamonkechi passage – Lake Fazilman

Leaving the village in the early morning and walk towards Yamonkechi passage (1500m). Visiting Severcov sheep's Valier on the way. As far as you go you can observe the entire panorama of the Hayat, the gorge of Hayatbashi, biological reservoir, the top of the mountain ridge Nurata and the Lake Aydarkul in distance. You can take the best pictures of Nurata mountains and Kyzyl Kum desert from the passage. Going down of the extensive slopes of the ridge Nurata (it looks like alpine meadows in the spring). Camping on a large meadow of 1600 m. Overnight. (6-7 walking)

Day 3. Lake Fazilman – Sentop – Kyzyl Kum desert

Trek to the lake (1645m) after having a breakfast. Getting around the Fazilmankul. At the request we can make a simple undulating ascent to the top of Kichik Fazilman (1840 m). Going to the Sentyabsay river through Marziya passage (1560km; 3-4 hrs). Lunch at Shodiboy'splace.

Leaving for Kyzyl Kum area around the Lake Aydarkul after having a breakfast. Yurt camp is coming after. A short walk across the desert (on feet or camels). Dinner with Akin's songs is in the evening. Overnight in yurts.

Day 4. Kyzyl Kum – Tashkent

 Breakfast. Leaving for Tashkent.

Tour package includes:

  • transportation during the whole trip
  • living in a local guesthouse in Hayat, yurts in Kyzyl Kum
  • living in tents of two people each
  • a local tour guide
  • cooker
  • rent of gear (tents, dining stuff)
  • all trip food (except last day lunch and dinner in Tashkent)

Tour package does not include:

  • a translator guide
  • first aid kit
  • insurance
  • personal expenses
  • service tips
.