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Sherkala mount.

Tours 2019 on Mangyshlak.

“All nature wears one universal grin” 

Henry Fielding.

Trip to Sherkala mount on Mangyshlak.

Those, who really want to get to know the Mangystau region, have to visit the magnificent mountain canyons of the beautiful Sherkala mountain. Some say that its shape re­sembles a piala, turned upside down by a satiated traveler.
Other people state that it looks like a yurt on one side, and like hiding a beast on the other. The majestic Sherkala mountain towers over the desert area, like the proud sphinx, intolerant to curious idlers. It is dif­ficult to climb it, and even more dif­ficult to climb down. Its caves are to be avoided, as they are rumoured to be haunted.
At least, that is what the local old people say. Sherkala is considered to be one of the sacred places of Mangystau. "A life, that we call happy, lies at the top, and a steep thorny path leads to it, - said an ancient philoso­pher Saadi.
Whether it was Sherkala or some other mountain he had in mind, but having overcome the obstacles and reached the top of Sherkala, one can experience the real joy, called happiness.
The historians state that there was a fortress on the top ofthe mountain. For many years, the fortress had served as a stone bastion, resisting the foreign inva­sions. At the beginning of the 13th century, Sherkala was the residence of the son of Genghis Khan, Jochi.
Now it is the favourite spot of tour­ists and visiting guests. Stretching itself for several hun­dred meters, the Sherkala mountain resembles a resting animal with its head slightly raised. Sherkala is the "lion mountain". 
A narrow trench links itself to the cliff of the moun­tain on the left, and there is a mass of boulders that leads to blacken hole, a cave, higher. There used to be the Turkmen town of Mankashlak near the mountain. 
In 1138, according to an Arab scientist Al-Khoresmi, the town was conquered by the Sheikh of Khoresm Astsyz.The invaders built their administrative center Kyzylkala nearby. It existed till the Mongol in­vasion.
As per the legend, the invad­ers from Khoresm made an attempt to take the settlement of Sherkala, the last outpost of the Turkmen tribes, without much preparation. But they failed to so, the mountain appeared to be inaccessible.
Then the conquerors besieged the for­tress. They had waited for 4 months, but the Turkmen had no intention to surrender. It is not clear as to what they survived on and if they had any water.
Did they manage to dig up a deep well? The invaders realized that if they did not deprive them of water, they would not win the battle. They decide to dig underways, hoping to find water.
And they succeeded. When the besieged threw a vessel inside the well, the rope was cut off. They found themselves in a desper­ate situation. The town surrendered. A mausoleum, 3 baking ovens and several dwellings were found in the settlement of Kyzylkala.
One of them was, apparently, a public building, a caravanserai as it featured many rooms and a kitchen. Archeologists discovered her the local Oguz pottery, Khoresm ceramic ware and fragments of vessels, used for water­ing the plants, and stone talc ves­sels, manufactured near the Sultan- Uizdag mountain.
It is interesting to mention that not a single coin was found at excavation sites of Sherkala and Kzylkala, although those an­cient towns were located along the trade routes. It seems that it was barter trade.
The trade route passed through the southern side of the Mangyshlak bay. Archeologists found the ruins ofthe Oguz settlement on the Ayirakty mountain. As the legend has it, it was also conquered by de­ceit.
The invaders tied up their spears into a long ladder, and ascended the mountain at night. 

Sherkala mountain on Mangyshlak.Sherkala mountain on Mangyshlak.Sherkala mountain on Mangyshlak.Chirkala-Tau. A water color. (VII.1851 - 13. V.1857). Taras Grigoryevitsh Shevchenko.Alone costing mountain, the unusual form, in 170 kilometers from the city of Aktau.Alone costing mountain, the unusual form, in 170 kilometers from the city of Aktau.Alone costing mountain, the unusual form, in 170 kilometers from the city of Aktau.Alone costing mountain, the unusual form, in 170 kilometers from the city of Aktau.Alone costing mountain, the unusual form, in 170 kilometers from the city of Aktau.Alone costing mountain, the unusual form, in 170 kilometers from the city of Aktau.Alone costing mountain, the unusual form, in 170 kilometers from the city of Aktau.Alone costing mountain, the unusual form, in 170 kilometers from the city of Aktau.Alone costing mountain, the unusual form, in 170 kilometers from the city of Aktau.Chirkala-Tau. A water color. (VII.1851 - 13. V.1857). Taras Grigoryevitsh Shevchenko.Alone costing mountain, the unusual form, in 170 kilometers from the city of Aktau.Alone costing mountain, the unusual form, in 170 kilometers from the city of Aktau.Alone costing mountain, the unusual form, in 170 kilometers from the city of Aktau.Alone costing mountain, the unusual form, in 170 kilometers from the city of Aktau.Alone costing mountain, the unusual form, in 170 kilometers from the city of Aktau.Alone costing mountain, the unusual form, in 170 kilometers from the city of Aktau.

Authority:
Andrey Astafeyv. "At the bottom of the Sarmatian Sea. Western Kazakhstan".

Photos
Alexander Petrov.