State Museum of History and Culture of the Republic of Karakalpakstan is one of the oldest museums in Central Asia. Its history began in 1929 when the local historical society of Karakalpakstan organized a local historical exhibition in Turtkul City. The museum is located in Nukus and numbers more than 65,000 exhibits grouped into three departments: Nature, Archaeology and Ethnography, and Modern History.
Exhibited items include ancient plant and animal fossils, as well as stuffed rare and extinct birds and animals that inhabited the Aral Sea region. A unique exhibit, “Last Turan Tiger” is also represented in its collection. These tigers commonly inhabited the area from Altai to the Black Sea region. Unfortunately, they were hunted for their beautiful pelt. The last tiger was killed in the Amudarya Delta by local residents in 1949. Upon learning this, the director of the museum took all measures to bring the tiger to the museum so it could at least be displayed as a mounted animal.
The archaeological exposition contains unparalleled artifacts and models of Ancient Khorezm settlements, including a small pillar cap in the form of an animal with ram horns and human face that was carved more than 2,500 years ago from Sultan Uvays Dag mountain range stone. Another unique item is a bronze cauldron of the VI–V centuries B.C. with a horse-like decorated handle. It stands on three animal-like legs.
Ethnographic expositions include ancient folk costume, jewellery, yurta decorations, rugs, traditional musical instruments, steel weaponry, armour and riding equipment.
The museum’s historical collection includes manuscripts, early printed books, coins, paintings of epic heroes and historical figures, as well as photographs that demonstrate the region’s development since the beginning of the XX century.