Karakalpakstan is a land of ancient culture. There you can find a number of monuments dating back to ancient and medieval times. The Karakalpak, Uzbek, Kazakh and Turkmen nations that inhabit the Southern Aral Sea region have a rich cultural heritage, including archaeological and architectural monuments, traditional crafts, rich folklore, vibrant folk festivals, and rituals and traditions. Along with the number of ancient and medieval monuments, there are also unique natural sites. They include various landscapes – Ustyurt Plateau, Kizilkum Desert, Amudarya Delta – as well as natural objects – Lower Amudarya State Biosphere Reserve, famous for the Bukhara deer (tugai deer) called khangulu (“king’s flower”); the Petrified Forest of the coal period located in the Kokcha elevation, and other natural objects. Karakalpakstan museums, in particular the State Museum of Art named after I.V. Savitsky, also attracts international visitors.
Today, in order to preserve this cultural heritage, traditional crafts are being revived. In addition, substantial measures on the preservation and promotion of archaeological monuments are being taken. National ritual holidays are organized for the public, including festivals with equestrian plays, Kurash wrestling, and ram and rooster fights.
The tourist route “The Golden Ring of Ancient Khorezm˝ has become very popular. It includes the main centres of Ancient Khorezm civilization: the Toprak-kala Settlement, a residence for Khorezm shahs in the II–III centuries A.D.; Kyat Settlement, currently known as Beruni City and the early medieval capital of Khorezm; Gurgandj City, located in Kunya-Urgench City, Turkmenistan, the medieval capital of Khorezm; and Khiva in the Khorezm Region, the late medieval capital.
Environmental disaster in the Aral Sea region that began in the 1960s has significantly worsened the situation of people living in the region. Ironically, consequences of the environmental disaster have increased the interest of eco-tourists in the region.
Due to the ethnographic features of the Aral Sea region, Karakalpakstan also has great potential for the development of ethno-tourism.
The heritage of Karakalpakstan is a unique and distinctive feature of the world culture and has become increasingly popular among researchers and tourists.
Karakalpakstan is located in the northwest of Uzbekistan in the lower reaches of the Amudarya River along the southwestern coast of the Aral Sea. It is bordered by the Republic of Kazakhstan to the north and west, Navoi region to the east, Khorezm and Bukhara regions to the southeast and the Republic of Turkmenistan to the south.
- Total area – 166,600 square kilometres.
- Population – more than 1.7 million people. Karakalpaks, Uzbeks and Kazakhs comprise a majority of the total population. More than 90 other ethnic groups live in the territory of the Republic.
- Official languages – Karakalpak and Uzbek; the majority of the population also speak Russian.
- Karakalpakstan is a sovereign republic with a parliamentary government within the Republic of Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan and Karakalpakstan Constitutions both have full force and effect.
- National symbols – state emblem, flag and anthem.
- Administrative divisions – 14 districts.
- National currency – Uzbekistan som (UZS).
- The main economy sector is agriculture (cotton, cereals, animal breeding).
- Karakalpakstan is connected to other regions of Uzbekistan by road, rail and air.
- Karakalpakstan has an extreme continental climate with dry, hot summers and cold winters. Precipitation rate is very low. Average temperature in January is –5° to –8° C and in June is +26° to +28° C. The minimum temperature in winter is – 38° C, while the maximum temperature in summer is +50° C. The average annual rainfall is 100 millimetres.
- Largest city – Nukus, the capital of Karakalpakstan (266,400 people).
- Other cities include Khodjeyli, Takhiatash, Chimbay, Beruniy, Turtkul and Kungrad.