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Nukus, city in western Uzbekistan, capital of the Karakalpakstan Autonomous Republic, in the delta of the Amu Darya River. Nukus is about 1255 km west of Tashkent, and about 230 km south of Muynaq and the former shoreline of the Aral Sea. An increase in upstream irrigation needs reduced the downstream flow of the Amu Darya, contributing to the shrinking of the Aral and the disappearance of its plentiful fish stock. Nukus is a center for the growing and processing of cotton and rice. The local climate has changed with the disappearance of the sea, and Nukus now experiences an average of ten dust and sand storms a year. The 1989 census indicated that Nukus was the fastest growing city in Uzbekistan as a consequence of the deteriorating environmental conditions in the surrounding countryside. Nukus also has a large museum with an art collection from the Russian avant-garde, a bold group of artists who ushered in modernism at the beginning of the 20th century. Many of those artists fell victim to the purges of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin in the early 1930’s, but the late director of the Nukus Museum collected their work and brought it to Nukus. Nukus became a city in 1932 and succeeded Turtkul as capital of Karakalpakstan in 1939.

Historical and architectural monuments of Nukus

  • nukus-museumNukus is the capital of Karakalpakstan Autonomous republic. It has population about 200 000 people. 20-30 years ago it was flourishing city with new buildings and developing industry. These days city represents itself like a center of Karakalpak Autonomous republic. As most of cultivated lands around Nukus became deserted, because of Aral Sea problem city is facing serious environmental problems like dust storms and not clean salty water.  There are only a few visiting objects in and around Nukus:
  • Karakalpak State Museum – is worth visiting. It has interesting section with models of Toprak Kala Koy Kirilan Kala dedicated to the history of the region, wide section representing fauna and flora. Represented in this section Turan Tiger is a very last one, caught in 1972. Museum also has wide section dedicated to the problem of Aral Sea including satellite maps of Aral Sea from 1957-1988.
  • Art Gallery – on the same building with Karakalpak State museum, there is an Art Gallery of Igor Savitskiy – finest collection of Soviet avant-garde from 1920s 1930s and others are different works of local masters. Totally museum has 80 000 exhibits ranging from ancient Khorezmian art of Toprak Kala, to national Karakalpak Cubism.
  • Mizdar Khan & Yusup Ishan – 15km West from Nukus 2 holy sites: Mizdarkhan & Yusup Ishan – 2 enormous cemeteries with several thousands graves – each like mini-Jerusalem in the desert. Mirdarkhan once was an important center for handicrafts and trade.