Amazing place that is nearby
The majestic Mount Sherkala is located on the endless
steppes of Mangystau and it is notable for its unusual shape. Locals say that
from a certain angle, the mountain resembles a huge yurt(nomads’ portable tent).
People joke that this natural object in the middle of the plain stepe was set
by nomad giants to celebrate the toy(in kazakh - any type of celebration).
The height of
Sherkala is 308 meters. The mountain is a large remnant of unusual shapes that
arose during the formation of the mountainous near-Karatau valleys as a result
of raising land from the depths of the sea.
It is a favorite destination for tourists and
residents of the region. Next to this unique object, a person feels the
greatness of nature, its unpredictability and beauty.
The top of the mountain is convenient for walking.
Tourists climb to the very top to enjoy the view; get in touch with the nature,
and, of course, to make a lot of successful photos on their gadgets and
Connoisseurs advise to walk around the mountain. It
takes about two hours. During this time, the tourist will receive a lot of
interesting impressions - after each subsequent bend a new panorama opens, that
is different from the previous one.
To explore the caves located at the foot of the
mountain, it will take at least two more hours. In addition to the wonderful
views, you can get acquainted with wild animals. Camels, horses and small
turtles live at the foot of the mountain.
The view of Sherkala in the afternoon is very
different from the view in the evening. Therefore, for people who have extra time,
we advise to stay at this monument with an overnight tour. In the afternoon,
limestone, reflecting the sun's rays, dazzles, and the mountain looks creamy
white. In the sunset rays of the deserted sun, Sherkala resembles a red-hot
stove. An incredibly beautiful sight makes professional photographers and video
operators from all over the world to visit the mountain.
History of Sherkala
The fortified city
was cut down in Mount Sherkala in the VIII – IX centuries. The Turkmen city of
Mankashlak (translated as “Big Settlement”) was located here. When the Arab
conquerors came to this land, they captured the fortress and created their
settlement nearby. After the conquest, the city became a transit point for
caravans traveling along the Great Silk Road. According to the found artifacts,
it is known that huge caravans (up to 3,000 camels with luggage and 5,000
eastern merchants) from Baghdad stopped on the way to the city of Bulgar on the
Kama River. First, a Turkmen settlement, then a caravanserai, a living settlement,
exited for about 800 years. But with the development of the sea route, this place
lost its strategic importance and eventually turned into a memory.
Now you can find only a few man-made caves with cave
paintings. From the ancient caravanserai were preserved several guard niches,
the part of the secret passage leading to the top of the mountain, and the traces
of rope ladders.
Mount Sherkala in 2018 was included in the state list
of historical and cultural monuments of local importance. Also, the monument
was included in the list of sacred objects under the project of regional
significance “Sacred Geography of Kazakhstan”.
Legends and tales
There are many
legends about Sherkala. According to the one of them, in ancient times, valiant
warriors defended themselves from invaders at the foot of Sherkala Mountain. In
terms of quantity, they were clearly inferior to the enemy, but fought like heroes.
The last defenders hid in the underground passages inside Sherkala and remained
there forever. So the name of this stronghold of heroism and independence
appeared as Sherkala (Mountain of Lions).
Place to visit that is nearby
Near the mountain, there are a numerous of various
attractions that will be interesting for an inquisitive tourist. At the foot of
the mountain you can see spherical boulders. Some of them cracked over time and
“revealed” secrets. Inside the stone balls are ancient fossils: prehistoric
fish and shells.
Literally two hundred meters away from the foot of the
Sherkaly mountain, there is an ancient cemetery where you can see petroglyphs
on tombstones of different eras.
Not far from the “huge yurt” (two kilometers) is an
abandoned ancient city built of clay. Kyzyl Kala - has more than 600 buildings.
Tourists still find ancient shards and coins, while wandering around the “city”
and imagining how our ancestors lived here. Among the local population there is
a belief that somewhere near the city a treasure is buried.
Another noteworthy place is the Akmysh oasis. It is
located a few kilometers from Sherkala. Unusual for the general view, a green
plot of land with trees and shrubs will be a pleasant place for a walk. Plus,
there is a spring and Akmysh river nearby.
How to get to Sherkala?
The village of Shetpe is located literally 18 km from
Sherkala. This is the nearest village. To Aktau, the center of the region - 170
km. The road will take at least two and a half hours.