Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Kyzyl Kum in Uzbekistan

The Kyzyl Kum is a desert in Uzbekistan. It is Uzbek and means red sand. The region is hot during summer, more than 51° C (125° F) have been recorded. There are oasis in beteween und outside there are the remnants of the rivers Amu Darya and Syr Darya, which seldom reach the Aral Sea as most water is used in agriculture outside the Kyzyl Kum before. The area isn't without economic interest because of natural gas, gold, silver, uranium, copper, and more. But I didn't visit any of these places. Rather I had a bus ride with a couple of stops. Airconditoned I listed to a passage from a book, how extremely dangerous it had been to cross the desert. Some only survived by chance. During Soviet times the seeds of the saxaul shrub were distributed throughout the desert, changing the appearance and making some parts usable as pastures for sheep and goats, also for cattle. Most important saxaul fixes sanddunes, of which I could only see some small ones along the road.

Indicating a rest area. but not a tree within 200 km along the road!

Saxaul shrubs

Don't stray too far from the road!

Sand dunes

A long road with heat, sand, and no water

An outpost with water from irrigation

Tamarinds appear as we were approaching the oasis of Buchara

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