Amankutan in Samarkand
Forty kilometers south of Samarkand is the Amankutan tract. From time immemorial this beautiful terrain of valleys and high mountains has been attracting naturalists, nature lovers and travelers from all over the world. Through the tract the path trodden by centuries lies. It connects Samarkand and Kesh, as well as in the past it connected historical Bactria and Sogd. It was the shortest path at all times. Caravans went along this path.
The army of Alexander the Great was forwarded through this easily accessible passage. The Amankutan pass was also used by the Mongols, Arabs and Persians. On the way from Samarkand to Kesh there is a pass which was visited by the most famous travelers of the past. They were Ruy Gonzales de Clavijo from Spain, as well as Abdulkasym ibn Khaukal and Ibn Batuta. These persons were received with all the honors in the state capital of Amir Temur.
Territory of the Amankutan National Park
The supposed border of the Amankutan National Park is a watershed line of the Chakylkalyan Mountains, which extends to the south and encompasses the Shakhaksay, Maydansay, Bulbulzaysay and Yulsay basins. Further, it continues along the ridge Karatepe, closing in the west with the upper reaches of the Amankutansay. The northern border of Amankutan runs along the spur of Mount Gurmon, stretched to the east parallel to the thalweg of the valley.
The border in the eastern side passes along the meridional section of the Chakylkalyan mountains.
The Amankutan tract extends ten kilometers from the southwest, with a width of four kilometers. The last point in the west will be a new road pass. The area of the Amankutan National Park is 31.2 square kilometers.
Water resources of Amankutan
All water resources of Amankutan are formed at the expense of constantly operating sources and temporary streams, resulting from heavy rains, regardless of the season. The origins of the says (mountain rivers) are located at an altitude of 1400-1600 meters.
The main waterway is Amankutansay. A major role in the nutrition of the Amankutansay and its tributaries is played by groundwater.
Climate in the Amankutan area
The climate of Amankutan is sharply continental. The amplitudes of temperature fluctuations day and night, in winter and summer, are more pronounced than in the valley of Zarafshan. The air humidity here also varies more sharply than in the irrigated zone.
The climate of the tract Amankutan is determined, above all, by the absolute height above sea level. Amankutan is represented by a lowered part of the Chakylkalyan ridge, isolated within a mountainous country and communicating with the surrounding steppe spaces of a narrow valley. Such isolation of the tract leads to the formation of a climate that is different from other mountain ranges of the Zarafshan oasis. Clean air, a small amount of cloudy days contribute to the influx of a large amount of photosynthetic active radiation.
Natural sculptures of Amankutan
One of the amazing phenomena of nature, with all the confidence, can be attributed to the bizarre relief forms of Amankutan. They appear in the place where there is an object of impact - a rock that is free from soil cover.
Most of these stone sculptures are widely known. According to folk legends, their origin is associated with evil spirits. Though, these legends are already perceived and told as a beautiful and fascinating tale.
The pass is a historical and natural landmark of Amankutan. Here foreign caravans and hordes of conquerors of all eras passed. It did not disregard any traveler. In the area of the pass, iron ore was mined. Here it immediately turned into metal in special furnaces. Nearby is the underground power pool of almost all the springs of Amankutan - karst craters. The world of natural sculptures is amazingly fantastic. Shady and dense groves of walnut and acacia breathe in coolness.
No traveler will pass by the mountain spring Bulak. Here, at a steep slope, sprouted by cherry plum, acacia and dog rose, cold clear water is poured out. It is pleasant and even as if sweet; it has a high taste. This mountain drink right from the hands of nature pleasantly refreshes, quenches thirst and restores strength and energy. It's nice to sit at a talkative spring and listen to its melody.
A half-forgotten legend is connected with this spring, in which Hazrat Ali plays the main role in the popular script.
The legend tells that one hot day, Ali was returning home from Samarkand to Arabia. There was no drinking water on his way. Rivers and streams dried, springs dried up. The horse was already hard pulling the legs and the rider, starved with heat and thirst. When Ali reached the Amankutan mountains, he lay down to rest in the shadow of a cliff and heard how the water rumbled deep underground. With a sword, he pierced a layer of soil, and a spring was scored from a rock. And what is hidden behind the legend?
Amankutan Bulak is one of the so-called local excluders when water from under the ground reaches the surface of the day under pressure. Such an example of the outpouring of deep waters in Amankutan is the only one, and in general in our region this phenomenon is not very frequent.
The Amankutan cave due to the discovery in it in 1947 by Professor D. N. Lev of the site of an ancient man of the Paleolithic era became known to the whole world.
It is located in the middle part of Bulbulzarsay at an absolute height of 1240 meters. The entrance opening is 2 meters wide and 3.5 meters high.
This cave is also known as the “cave of the primitive man”, the “cave of Lev” or cave of Lion in Amankutan (after the name of its first explorer, the archaeologist D. N. Lev). Here not only unique archaeological objects were found, but also more than 16 thousand bones of ancient animals belonging to 28 species and subspecies.
Some of these animals have already become extinct: stone tools of hunters 60-100 thousand years old, the remains of fires of ancient man were found in the cave.
Forest Cottage in Amankutan
In the written sources of the second half of the XIX century there is information that the mudflow phenomena in Amankutan reached catastrophic proportions. Mud-stone flows washed away buildings, roads, fields, canals; people and livestock died. The movement from Samarkand to Shakhrisabz was interrupted for a long time because of the violence of the elements.
In 1878, the Department of the Turkestan land allocated 1,000 rubles to combat soil erosion and mudflow in the mountains. This amount was used by Samarkand foresters for forest reclamation in Amankutan. These works in Amankutan turned out to be the first experience in Central Asia.
The Amankutan forest cottage, created by the hands of many generations of people, is a unique example of the possibility of creating terraced forest plantations in the mountains in order to protect the soil from erosion, mudslides and landslides.
In 1887, the Zarafshan district was transformed into the Samarkand region, headed by the military governor. Given the cross-border nature of the area, the government concentrated a significant military contingent here.
The lower ranks and officers of the regiments and battalions stationed in the region suffered not only from the unusually hot climate, but also from a number of common diseases, primarily malaria.
In 1893, near Amankutan village, among young artificial forests, a sanitary-hygienic station was built for the treatment of malaria patients. The place for this health resort was chosen very well.
The Amankutan valley in which the station was located was surrounded by a mountain range, the slopes of which were covered with young forest, consisting mainly of acacia, walnut and aylantus. Above these forests mountains were covered with juniper bushes. This coniferous plant spread around a peculiar smell, pleasant and balsamic to malaria patients.
The mountain climate here was mild, but the heat was tempered by great dryness of air. The strong evaporation of moisture contributed to the constant movement of air in the Amankutan valley. The inhabitants of the station used spring water, soft, transparent and amazingly clear. In addition to malaria, the station doctors also successfully treated scurvy and anemia, pneumonia, chronic bronchitis and diseases of the digestive system.
According to the general opinion of specialists, the Kara-Tepinsk Sanitary and Hygienic Station was the best military mountain-climatic resort.
Amankutan is the original natural and historical monument. Along with amazing works of nature, there are numerous monuments of material culture of the past, which are invaluable for the history of our region. Amankutan is always beautiful, but spring and autumn is the most pleasant time for hiking here.
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