Thursday,18 Julys
безоблачное небо
Ayrakty and Shomanay Valley of castles
  • The system of small remnant mountains is known among the local population under the name of Airakty-Shomanay. In 1851, the great Ukrainian poet and artist T.G. Shevchenko was in exile here. These mountains so impressed him that he made here a series of drawings under the poetic name "Valley of Castles". The Airakty mountains really look like fairy-tale castles with spiers, towers, colonnades and fortress walls. A wild winding path, punched by semi-wild horses, leads to a small observation deck on one of the mountains, from which a panoramic view of the distant Aktau mountains and all the Airakty castles opens. At the time, I brought here a whole team to shoot one story clip of the famous Kazakh singer Batyrkhan Shukenov. The valley is covered with small, but gently fragrant Sogdian tulips in wet spring. If you are lucky, then you will see a couple of cautious muflons - mountain sheep. On the eastern side, to the ridge of the Shomanai Mountains, there is a site of outcrops of small globular nodules. You can see here the spheroids of ideal forms, like bowling balls. Along the sides of Mount Airakty on layers of chalky rock you can see scratched drawings, called by one of the researchers "Steppe Symphonies". They are not very ancient, but they reflect the vision of the surrounding world by Kazakh hunters and shepherds. There are images of camels, horses, dogs, but always the main imprinted animal is the moufflon-stag beetles, which has gained respect and holiness among the local population. Often, there is a scene of the muflon hitting by hunter's bullet, which captures either a magical action before hunting, or joyful emotions of successful hunting. On the top of the large table mountain Airakty (Razdvoennaya) on the south side is a small trail. One local shepherd told that in the mountain there is a deep cave, in which he is afraid to go. Despite its visual attractiveness, "Valley of Castles" is waterless and practically devoid of vegetation of any tree-like vegetation. As they say about the peninsula of Mangyshlak, the Earth is exposed here to the bones!