Moynaq Ship Cemetery is an abandoned ship graveyard in the middle of the desert located in Uzbekistan, Moynaq. The town of Moynaq, once an active fishing port, fast became deserted when the waters of the Aral Sea disappeared. We prepared eerie photos of abandoned ships near town of Moynaq.
The rise of Moynaq started in the middle of the last century — in the 1950s, a huge fish processing plant on the shore of the Aral Sea supplied canned food to the entire Soviet Union. The water in the sea came from the Syr Darya and Amu Darya rivers. The waters traveled almost two and a half thousand kilometers from the foothills of Tajikistan through the arid lands of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. When reaching the riverbed, the Amu Darya river lost a significant part of the water — it went into the ground and was sorted out for irrigation.
But this did not seem enough to the leaders of the country, and in 1950 the construction of the Karakum Canal was started. The canal passing through the territory of almost the whole of Turkmenistan gave a huge impetus to the development of agriculture, in particular to the irrigation of cotton fields. Alas, the consequences of the construction of such a canal were not properly taken into account, and as a result, it began to take 45% of the waters of the Amu Darya River.
As a result, once one of the largest lakes in the world dried up rapidly, salts and various fertilizers from sewage remained on the surface. Fertilizers carried by the wind have caused chronic diseases in the local population. A new desert is being formed on a large part of the Aral Sea, it has already been given the name Aralkum. The fishing industry was closed, although they tried to save the plant by a rather extravagant method: they brought fish from Russia. The Aral Sea retreated from Moynaq, leaving only fishing trawlers and boats rotting in the sun in memory of itself. Moynaq is now a city with a population of about 18 thousand people, carried over by the sands of Aralkum. Moynaq, despite widespread mentions as a ghost town, lives its unpretentious life, confirming the validity of its name.
How To Get To the Moynaq Ship Graveyard?
- You can arrange a trip to Moynaq Ship Graveyard by arranging in advance with a hotel in the city of Nukus or directly on the spot with a taxi driver;
- The cost of such a trip has been stable for the 2022 year: $100 for the whole car round trip;
- The best hotel in Nukus is Zhypek Zholy, we recommend staying in Moynaq only in extreme cases;
- The distance from Nukus to Muynak is 220 kilometers, about 3 to 4 hours drive in one direction;
- Buses from Nukus to Muynak leave very early – before 9 am. The last bus from Muynak to Nukus is at 3 pm;
- You can get to Nukus from Tashkent by plane. Either by train or taxi from town of Khiva.