10-06 Nuratu mountains

under the 1000 year old cedar tree

6th.October 2019, Nuratau Mountains

Again our programme promised a walk in the morning but there was in any case not much time for this since we had a long drive to Samarkand ahead of us in the afternoon. A walk in a neighbouring valley was proposed for which we had 3 hours available, but the drive there took an hour each way leaving only one hour for walking. The chosen valley also with a small stream was greener and more picturesque than the valley of Sentob with more trees. Some of these were ancient mulberry trees which reminded of the sweet chestnut trees in parts of Ticino. The furthest point we reached was marked by a huge cedar tree which supposedly dates back to the time of Alexander the Great. On the return journey we stopped by a small mosque and also saw a large heard of cattle, sheep and goats being driven by two horsemen.

The Nuratau Mountains are an interesting natural region stretched out between Kysyl Kum Desrt on the west and Barren Steppe on the east. This massif includes three ranges – Karatau, Aktau and Nuratau. This mountain chain is not very high, the highest peak – Khayatbakshi Mount – being 2169 meters above sea level. In spite of this area is not very interesting for mountain climbers, because of the soft rock. However the Nuratau Mountains are attractive for many tourists due to their rich history, unusual monuments, mild climate and healing springs.

The relief of the reserve mostly consists of mountains with an abundance of mountain streams. Close to the largest stream Madjerum one can find the thousand-year cedar tree . Its hollow has room for five people and the girth of this tree is over 8 meters. By the legend, it was planted by Alexander the Great over the grave of one of his commanders. Local people say that the tree has healing properties and even is capable of realising cherished wishes. Close to the tree there is an ancient ruined mosque, which is also considered as a magic place, and the fortress Madjerum-Kala, where archaeologists found pottery of 3-4th centuries.

Hiking in Switzerland and around the world