The port city with magnificent background, beautiful Caspian landscape and many mysterious stories

Aktau is the administrative center of Mangistau region in the West of Kazakhstan, located on peninsula Mangyshlak. Tourists come to Aktau for a tour around famous landscapes of Mangyshlak peninsula and Ustyurt plateau, to see ancient settlement and architectural monuments, to get closer with the nature world of this land, to see rare birds, to go fishing and swimming in Caspian sea. There are beaches provided in Aktau and its suburbs (southern part). Many hotels and rest houses are open for tourists, they form the cottage settlements. Beach season is from May to September, water temperature at this time is within +22 +24°C. One of the most favorable beach place is the bay Kendirli, located 250 km to the south from Aktau. In perspective, the advanced resort area will be built here. Mangistau region attracts many fishermen. Caspian sea breeds sturgeons (beluga, sturgeon, starry sturgeon), salmon, common kilka, roach, gray mullet, European carp, pike perch and pigfish. Aktau offers tours around the region. First of all, these are the trips to natural sights of the region. One of the deepest world depressions Karagiye is located 50 away from Aktau, in eastern part of Mangyshlak plateau.

Besides natural region sights, tourists are offered the educational trips to the history monuments. In Mangistau region, on Ustyurt plateau, there is one of the most respected by Muslims religious place of Kazakhstan – the underground mosque Beket-Ata.

Aktau Highlights



Underground mosque Beket-Ata takes the special place in the Muslim world. It is a holy place, which significance equals to burials of Magomet and Kozhakhmet. The year around, the pilgrims flow into here to open their souls. They say that even mentioning about Beket-Ata can keep off bad luck, and a pray in the mosque can do miracles. Beket-Ata was born in 1750. He was famous as a prophet, healer, he knew laws of physics, mathematics, astronomy. He was educated, studied in Bukhara by Pier. After return from studies, he built four mosques, three of which are underground, located in Mangistau. The first one is in Kulsary, it is Ak-Mechet, the second is in chalk cliffs 20 km away from the village Beineu, the third one is in Tobykty, and the fourth is cut in the cliff in Oglandy gorge. Once he became the Sufi, he founded the Sufi school under the underground mosque in Oglandy. Later, this mosque became the outdoor observatory scientific center. Beket-Ata died at the age of 63 and was buried in the underground mosque in Oglandy. For almost two hundred years, the pilgrims keep coming here to give a bow to the holy spirit, to search for healing and peace, luck in their mundane affairs. One of the underground mosques Beket Ata is at the foot of Ustyurt plateau, in the small chalk mountain, and includes 4 small rooms. The graves of Beket-Ata and his daughter are in this mosque. The special path leads down to the mosque. A spring with salty water appears not far from it.



Mangyshlak peninsula from two sides borders with two other peninsulas. The first is Buzachi, located on the shore of Mangyshlak bay, and the bays Kaidak and Dead Kuituk. From the west, Mangyshlak is adjoined by the peninsula Tyub-Karagan. To the left, Mangistau is washed with Kazakh bay. Wind, heat and temperature difference have affected the climate of the peninsula for thousands years. Formerly rich vegetation and waters of the rivers changed for droughty deserts and large lifeless stones. However, every year, dried-up Mangyshlak attracts even more travelers inspired by secrets and puzzles of this natural reserve. Mangyshlak is a favorite place for studies among historians. Mangyshlak peninsula will touch feelings of every history and travelling lover. Karagiye depression that is still the subject of hot disputes between geologists, concerning its origin, Ustyurt plateau full of mysterious signs-pictures, and ancient settlements and temples on the peninsula – this all refer to interesting and mysterious nature puzzles. In spite of the dry climate, the peninsula is rich with various flora and fauna representatives. Here you can see rare animals, like the jungle cat manul, cheetah, flamingo and even the Caspian seal.

Shopan Ata


Necropolis Shopan-Ata is the architectural monument of the IХ – early ХХ century. It is situated 25 km to the north-east from the aul Senek, Mangistau region. Its area and number of monuments (around 2 thousand) assign it to one of the largest ancient funeral and religious complexes of West Kazakhstan. It’s divided into two parts: Kazakh (adayev) and Turkmenian. In West Kazakhstan, well-known are the necropolis and the underground mosque Shopan-Ata – cut in the cliff on the old caravan track to Khoresm. There is the legend. Once, Akhmet Yassawi, after the lesson to his followers, gathered them in the yurta and said that they would release an arrow through the Shanyrak (opening in yurta ceiling). The place where they find it will be the place where they teach the Sufi ideas. Shopan-Ata found his arrow on the mountain next to the aul of the rich cattle-breeder Bayan, and started working for him as the shepherd-Shopan. However, Bayan figured out soon that he was not a simple man and married him with his daughter. Later Shopan-Ata built the underground mosque on top of the mountain where his arrow fell down. Religious center Shopan-Ata is the mosque with several facilities, cut around in the lime rock. On the east of the cemetery, there are many saganatams, domed mausoleums, kulpytases with koitases, tomb-chests -sandyktas, grave-stones Ushtas and etc.



One of the deepest internal-drainage cavity in the CIS and the fifth largest is Karakiya cavity (Karakiye). Every student knows its depth – 132 m. Length is around 50 km. Karakiya is the part of Ustyurt plateau, the steeps consist of Neogene deposits. Upper part of the cavity consists of Sarmatian ragstones, central part – of soft powdery clay. Mud stream, wind, rivers with deformed beds form the cavity relief. From the height, it is interesting to watch surrounding area: far away - a fog covers the horizon, and next is an enormous abyss. It’s no coincidence that Karakiya from Turkic means the “Black mouth”. Velvet hillrocks please the eye of the travelers passing by. In past, Karakiya was the part of Caspian sea, filled with depths of the sea, included in the bay Karagiye. Karagiye bay was depicted like this on the map, created by the research scientist of East Caspian Alexandr Bekovich-Cherkassky. On the north-eastern cliffs of Karakiya, the history monuments, ancient settlement sites were preserved. Some time ago, the salt lake Batyr (brave warrior) was located in the cavity.