Cape of the Fallen land
Cape Zhigylgan is one of the central natural attractions of the Tyub-Karagan peninsula. Zhigylgan means "Fallen land" from the Kazakh language.
Zhigylgan is an enormous mountain range with a broad basin, almost perfectly spherical. It littered with rocks. Cape Zhigylgan is located nearly on the coast of the Caspian Sea. Not like other sloping capes, the cliffs and the slopes covered with sharp stones. The biggest rock at the bottom of Cape Zhigylgan can be the size of a little cottage.
An old legend tells us that once upon a time, one of the ancient prophets travelled thought this land. When he made a stop at the cape for prayer, the steppe nomads stole a horse from him during his sacred act. Immediately, the ground under the robbers opened up, and they fell there forever.
Scientists propose two fundamental theories about the origin of Cape Zhigylgan. According to the first one, a powerful earthquake caused the collapse of the soil. According to the second theory, the depression formed due to the karst cavities underground, which the sea gradually washed away, which subsequently led to the collapse of the rock. Also, one of the causes could be the shift of tectonic plates. One of the most unusual versions is the theory of the fall of an enormous meteorite. But researchers have not yet found a single confirmation of the presence of space rock in this territory. Scientists find it difficult to name the exact cause of the formation of the cavity.
Most tourists make a short stop at the very top of the cape. That allows them to admire the stone chaos in the depths of the hollow. The incredible landscape is breathtaking. Picturesque views are a favourite place for photoshoots.
At the foot of the cliffs, you can find a small lake that is called Kuzdakary. Travellers very often make a tent here. The water is salty in the lake, and it is so dense that it can easily keep a person afloat. Near the lake, you can discover a little spring with refreshingly cooling water. Besides, you can go down to a tiny beach, and enjoy the gorgeous views of the Caspian. Near the water, you can sometimes find snakes and vipers, and you need to make your trip in closed shoes, and carefully walk along the coast.
At the depths of the depression itself, one can discover many fascinating features. On some rocks, you can spot traces of prehistoric dinosaurs. Also quite often on the rocks, you can observe traces of prehistoric ungulates (ancestors of the modern horse) and even mahairod cats. Such a large number of footprints explained by the fact that in ancient times there was a sandbank, which remained covered with thick silt. Thick and smooth silt was able to preserve the pristine footprints that ancient animals left here ten to fifteen million years ago. At the end of time, silt stayed petrified and forever saved history in stone.
How to get to the Cape Zhigylgan
You can get to Cape Zhigylgan from Aktau by driving a rented car, the road will take you approximately 170 km, and in time it will take about 4 - 5 hours. By the Aktau-Fort-Shevchenko highway, which leads to the sights, you can also reach the village of Bautino.
Travel companies organize tours for groups by bus or off-road transport.
Useful tips for a trip to Cape Zhigylgan
• We advise you to stay overnight at Cape Zhigylgan. Sunset and sunrise over the Caspian Sea is an unforgettable experience and you can make great photos that will be unique and not like one another.
• Also, the starry night sky over the Caspian Sea and in the steppe is a unique overview that will definitely leave you breathless.
• A hat and a supply of water (from 3 litres per person) is a must-have kit for a day trip. Warm clothes are needed if you want to stay watching the stars and not stay cold in the steppe.