Moynaq a 200 km, 2½ hour drive from Nukus, Moynaq is now a ghost town, a historical relic of its former role then on the southern shore of the Aral Seaas the center of Karakalpakstan’s fishing industry and a resort to which Soviet tourists came for vacation.  With what's left of the Sea now well over 60 kms away, there remain three places of interest to visit on a one day road trip Moynaq:  first, its small museum with beautiful black and white images of what has now become iconic for the region ships in the sand;  second, its so-called ‘ship cemetery’ just outside of Moynaq, where rusting, visually striking  skeletons of ships bear silent witness to a formerly prosperous era; and third, its cannery once one of the largest in the Soviet Union and part of the Soviet Union’s industrial heritage.

Getting to the Aral Sea itself from Moynaq takes approximately four hours and requires a four wheel drive jeep-type vehicle.  Since the route is largely unmarked, an experienced local guide is highly  recommended. 

A small number of paintings in the Nukus Museum’s Savitsky Collection are dedicated to the Aral Sea disaster.  Created at a time when the Soviet Union’s glasnost policy allowed some criticism of the system, they illustrate contemporary artists’ reactions to the enfolding environmental and human tragedy.


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