132 meters below the sea level
The Karakiya depression is located in the Mangystau region and its depth is 132 meters below the sea level. The length of the depression is 85 kilometres, while its width reaches almost 25 kilometres. Karakia is the deepest depression in the country and the fifth deepest depression in the world.
Less than an hour by car (about 50 km) from the city of Aktau, makes this natural attraction one of the most attractive places to visit for both tourists and residents.
The name of the basin comes from the Turkic word "Karakiya", which means a black mouth or a black slope. The name perfectly conveys the character of this impressive natural and miraculous monument.
At the bottom of the depression, especially attentive tourists can find a unique lake. Unfortunately, today it is almost dry. It is impossible to reach it, but a walk to see it will be an enjoyable and adventure for experienced travellers. In the very centre of the basin, any person will feel part of the Great Steppe and inspired with the spirit of nature of the marvellous and so diverse Mangystau.
The basin in shape resembles an enormous bowl. White rocks, like walls, are coming down to the depression of saline to form a bottom trough.
Karakiya is a modern witness to the ancient history of Mangystau. Many thousands of years ago, the hollow was the bottom of the Caspian Sea, and to this day, tourists find fossils at the bottom of the depression and take them to remember the travel.
How to get to Karakiya
You can get to the Karakiya Depression from the city of Aktau by a rented car. The road will take 1 hour (50 km).
Travel companies organize tours for groups by bus or off-road transport.
Useful tips for the trip
We recommend you to hire a guide for the first trip to the Karakiya Depression, who will show you the most attractive and safe descent and passage to the centre of the depression.
If you are planning a long walk in the hollow, we advise you to stock up on water and grab a hat.
You will need sunglasses for a trip to the Karakiya Depression, and if you decide to continue you trip to the other monuments of the Mangystau steppe.