Nurata Travel Guide

  • Nurata
    by toonsarah
  • Camel in the desert
    Camel in the desert
    by toonsarah
  • Off The Beaten Path
    by silkroadsters

Nurata Things to Do

  • Nurata Market

    The market in Nurata is on the southern side of the town near the mosques and the path to the hill fortress of Alexander the Great. It isn’t very large but it’s a good place to observe daily Uzbek life and, as everywhere in this friendly country, to meet some of the locals. I got talking to the lady on the right in my photo, an Uzbek tourist from...

  • Chasma Spring & fish pools

    The Chasma Spring is the source of Nurata’s reputation as a holy city and place of pilgrimage. It is said to have been formed through a miracle, when Hazrat Ali, the son-in-law of Mohammed, struck the ground here with his staff. The waters rise nowadays into a rectangular tank near the two mosques, and flow down into the town along a narrow canal...

  • Nurata's mosques

    At the foot of the hill on which perches the fortress of Alexander the Great are a pair of mosques, the town’s Friday mosque and “everyday” mosque facing onto the same small square near the sacred Chasma Spring. It is common for Uzbek towns to have two or even three mosques – one for everyday prayer, for those who are able to come from their work...


Nurata Restaurants

  • Dinner in the desert

    The overnight stay at the desert camp was naturally on a full-board basis, and the meal we were served in the evening was one of the nicest we had on the trip, in my view. We ate at a long table set up under an awning near the caravan where the Kazaks who run the camp live and cook. First, bottles of water, vodka and port were placed along its...

  • Lunch in Nurata

    We had lunch in Nurata in a house in a residential area not far from the main road. This was a real family home, and we ate in what was obviously their main sitting and dining room, with shelves of ornaments and family photos for decoration. We sat on cushions on the floor, as is the Uzbek way, either side of a long low table. As elsewhere in the...

  • Nurata Hotels

    0 Hotels in Nurata

Nurata Transportation

  • Camel ride in the desert

    This was offered as an option at the desert camp – an option that only six of our number took up, which surprised me. I personally rather like camels, despite their (probably deserved) reputation for surliness. Without doubt this was a great experience. We were led out into the dunes and took a circular route at some distance from the camp, so that...

  • Getting to the desert camp

    To visit one of these yurt camps I think you need to be on a tour – either exploring Uzbekistan in a group as we were, or you could maybe book a short tour yourself which could be incorporated in longer independent trip (I saw one such trip on the internet at main tour bus was unsuitable for the rough...

  • Don't Forget Insurance

    If your current health insurance doesn't cover you while your abroad, you should consider getting international travel insurance just in case something should go wrong.

Nurata What to Pack

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo

    by toonsarah Updated Aug 28, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Luggage and bags: As I’ve described elsewhere, our journey to the yurt camp was in a small soviet bus, so we had to restrict ourselves to one small day-sac or similar. You need to think carefully about what are the essentials – here are my suggestions:

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear:
    ~ The only time I felt a little chilly in Uzbekistan was first thing in the morning in the desert. I quite enjoyed this after all the heat, but you may want to put a thin cardigan or at least a long-sleeved shirt in your bag. Alternatively a pashmina would be great as it would double as an extra cover on the bed.
    ~ Take a swim suit if you want to bathe at Aidurkal Lake, and a sarong and/or towel.
    ~ You’ll need comfortable trainers or similar for walks on the dunes and the camel ride, but try to fit in a pair of flip-flops too – these will be useful at the lake and also around the camp perhaps.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies:
    ~ Think carefully about what toiletries you can’t live without for a night (remembering that the bathroom facilities here are pretty basic so you won’t want to spend hours at your ablutions!) and make sure you bring those in fairly small containers.
    ~ Particular items you mustn’t forget include suntan lotion (waterproof if you plan to swim), bite cream (just in case, though I didn’t get bitten) and the Imodium – unless you like climbing sand dunes in the dark several times in the night ;(

    ~ A torch is a must for the camp as there’s no electricity.
    ~ You might also consider bringing a sleeping sheet, though we didn’t think it was necessary.
    ~ Good binoculars would be a bonus if you’re interested in a close-up view of the stars – we were indebted to our travelling companion Lawrence who not only let us borrow his but also explained what we were looking at!

    The view from our yurt
    Related to:
    • Desert

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Nurata Off The Beaten Path

  • Sarmish-Say petroglyphs

    Sarmish-say is a river gorge on the south slope of the Karatau mountain ridge belonging to the Zarafshan mountain range. It is situated about 30 km northeast of the city of Navoi, which is about 170 km southwest of Samarkand.Took a trip after getting info on the following site coordinates:...

  • Aidarkul Lake

    On the morning after our night in the camp we headed to Lake Aidarkul, which seems to be standard practice on all these tours. Opinions in our group about this were rather mixed, with some of us enjoying the interlude in the intensive sightseeing, and others regretting that it gave us less time in Samarkand. I think it depended on whether you found...

  • Desert sunrise

    Despite being only 7 km from the nearby village of Yangigazgan, our desert camp felt very much “Off the beaten path” and never more so than first thing in the morning …I slept well at the desert camp at first, until the cool wind coming through the lattice frame of our yurt at about 4.30 woke me. I opened my eyes to see a thin but incredibly bright...


Nurata Sports & Outdoors

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo

    by toonsarah Written Aug 28, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    For me, the highlight of our visit to Aidurkal Lake was the opportunity it afforded for a swim. After several days travelling, and some involving long bus journeys through the hot desert, I was glad of the chance to relax in its cooling waters.

    If you want to do the same, come prepared. There are no bushes for privacy behind which to change, but you’ll probably be able to do as we did and change in your tour bus. The edge of the lake is a little stony (so I kept my flip-flops on) but you don’t have to wade too far to be deep enough to swim, though the odd sand bank beneath the surface means that you can find your toes scraping the ground again at intervals. There is also no shade at all, so do be careful to wear waterproof sun-tan lotion and don’t be tempted to stay in the water too long, however lovely and cooling it is.

    By the way, when I suggested to Chris that he might take a photo of us swimming I didn't know he planned to climb a hill before pointing the camera ;) Look very closely and you may see three dots in the water - that's me, Sandra and Sue enjoying ourselves!

    Equipment: Bring flip-flops, or better still shoes you can swim in, a sarong or similar to cover you before and after your swim, and a towel to dry off before lunch.

    Aidurkal Lake (by Chris)
    Related to:
    • Water Sports
    • Desert

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Off The Beaten Path
Looking for petroglyphs
Off The Beaten Path
Off The Beaten Path
Alexander the Great’s Fortress
Things to Do
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