The Republic of Karakalpakstan, which is a part of Uzbekistan, is in the northwest of the country. The total area is 166.6 thousand square kilometers (37.1% of the total area of Uzbekistan) and consists of 15 administrative districts and one city – Nukus, which is the capital of Karakalpakstan, with a population of 312.1 thousand people. In total more than 1 million 800 thousand people of more than 60 nationalities live in the Republic.
Due to the increased attention of the President and the Government of the country to the development of tourism, the radical transformation of the tourist infrastructure, the intensification of measures for the restoration and preservation of ancient monuments of architecture and Holy places for pilgrimage tourism and many other initiatives to improve the rating of the tourist attractiveness of Uzbekistan, the interest of foreign citizens to the cultural and historical heritage of our country increases, which is evidenced by a significant increase in visits by tourists and foreign specialists to our attractions, filling ofhotels and restaurants with guests.
Along the world-famous monuments of architecture, concentrated in the oldest cities of the country, the world community and tourists are keenly attracted to the Aral Sea region of Karakalpakstan, as evidenced by the increase in the flow of people coming to this distinctive region both for research and as tourists. Therefore, the tourist infrastructure of Karakalpakstan in recent years is developing rapidly. More than 10 travel agencies serve tourists, around 30 restaurants and cafes provide catering services, 32 modern hotels, as well as Yurt camps for lovers of exotica at the bottom of the Aral Sea, near the “Cemetery of Ships” and on its shores offer accommodation for guests. Despite the adverse climatic conditions in this region caused by the environmental disaster of the twentieth century, which broke out as a result of the drying of the largest reservoir of the Republic-the Aral Sea, this region attracts scientists and specialists, historians and public figures from around the world, uniting everyone into a single team of associates to solve the problems of the Aral crisis. And, of course, every year Karakalpakstan is visited by thousands of tourists and curious travelers who want to see its natural beauty, touch the unique rich cultural, historical, architectural and archaeological heritage, become spectators and participants of the original national folk art of the Karakalpak people, to taste the features of its national cuisine, to live in a Yurt on a dried-up area of the seabed, inhaling the specific aroma of freshly planted sand bushes, to wander among the remaining iron skeletons of the dead ships, to touch the water surface of the Aral Sea, still preserved in some places in the most deep places of the bottom. Powerful, charismatic force of this region deeply impresses everyone who comes here, and once again beckons travelers with its magical spell. The one who at least once visits here as if bewitched, dreams to come here again because there is a feeling of not fulfilled perception and charm of this peculiar region.
Besides the traditional visits to the most famous ancient cities of Uzbekistan and their attractions, in recent years many other specific types of tourist routes are emerging. For example, archeology fans can not only visit the places of historical and archaeological excavations of the settlements on specially developed new routes and see the process of working on them, but even participate in it, and, extracting the artifacts of ancient culture from sands, feel the joy of the archaeologist, the discoverer of ancient treasures. The nature lovers are offered a variety of eco-tours of mountain and preserves, steppes and sands, the water expanses of our lakes, rivers and reservoirs. Connoisseurs of folklore and folk art can become spectators and participants of cultural, theatrical and entertainment events, festivals and concerts with participation of various national musical, dance and song bands of the country. Gastronomic tourism, extreme types of tourism, industrial, research, pilgrimage (ziyorat), as well as visits to unusual, mysterious and unknown places and many others are also beginning to gain popularity, which were not previously in the range of offered tourist services.
However, Karakalpakstan is the exception to the rule. Here it is impossible to divide the tours by interests, because all points of interest are so interconnected – smoothly and imperceptibly – transforming from one type into another, that they are perceived as a single, coherent system, in which historical, archaeological and architectural sights, the nature and habitats of rare animals and birds of Karakalpakstan, folklore-ethnographic and gastronomic features of the culture of the Karakalpak people are organically intertwined. Therefore, an essay about the culture, nature and attractions of the Karakalpak Republic is offered to the reader as a whole, a fascinating journey from the journal pages, which, we are sure, will inspire you to make a real journey through this country with a photo and video camera in your hands, which, we hope, you will never regret.