Magic tour to the unique Baysun, lost among the mountains and located in the heart of southern Uzbekistan. Surrounded on all sides by mountains and canyons, this region has managed to keep its secrets, traditions, and rituals. On this tour, you will see one of the most beautiful and distant mountain wilderness area of Baysun, its deep canyons, amazing grottoes, and caves. You will visit the famous Iron Gate and Derbent Gorge, which had played an important role in the history of Central Asia. You can also see the sacred places, where stormy streams of crystal clear water flow out of the rocks, one of the most invaluable gifts in this southern region of Uzbekistan.
There, in Baysun, you will plunge into the culture and traditions of local people by visiting mountain villages that have been here mostly since the Middle Ages and even more ancient times. Together with our guide, you will make an interesting climb on the famous Teshik-Tash grotto, where Neanderthal’s remains were found.
You will also see one of the wonders of Uzbekistan – the Kyzyl canyon. Its mazes stretch for tens of kilometers with some canyon's parts resembling alien landscapes. Only the bravest of us will be able to descend into the canyon and hit the trail of many kilometers through it in order to fully admire the grandeur of Kyzyl.
Baysun is full of wonders and surprises: you will visit the gravitational anomaly, where, contrary to physical laws, everything moves upwards. You can make an ascent along the ancient ovring (a hanging narrow mountain path) onto the wall more than 100-meter-high. All this and much more are waiting its explorers on this tour.
The Kyzyl Canyon - is essentially a unique ecosystem of a closed type. The length of the canyon is 30 km. The highest point of the area is Mount Buritath, 1300 meters high. The name of the canyon translates literally, as the 'Red Canyon'. Canyon's landscape is full of mountain gorges.
Kurganzol fortress - one of the fortresses founded in ancient Bactria during the conquest of Alexander the Great. Impressive fortification – castle which had six round towers. Constructed in 329 BC. Surprising finds in this castle show that it is very likely that castle was used by Alexander the Great himself.
A walk along Ovrings - which are one of the oldest constructions, in fact they are handmade hanging wooden bridges of the highlands (a narrow mountain path in Tajik). Their structure consists from wooden wedges fixed in the holes and splits of rocks that braided with branches of bushes or wooden poles and flat stones on the top. A man and even a donkey can walk on such a trail but not always a horse.
The world-famous Teshik Tash (Leaky stone) cave - where in 1938-39 archaeologist Alexey Okladnikov made a sensational discovery of camp of prehistoric Mousterian culture and burial with remains of the skeleton (skull and some bones) of Neanderthal child 8-9 years. Burial was surrounded by the horns of mountain goats, dug into the ground, which may indicate the existence of the religious-ritual worship in Neanderthals.
19:40 – Departure by train Tashkent - Baysun (10 hour trip, can be substituted by Tashkent-Termez flight)
Meeting at the train station, transfer to the guest house, where you can take a shower and get a rest after the train. You will be offered a delicious and eco-friendly breakfast in traditional style. All products are grown by local people in their own fields and gardens with care and love. Honey, nuts and some seasonal fruits are also gathered in the local mountains and slopes of Baysuntau. All meat and dairy products here are also ecologically clean and natural.
Start of the tour:
- Karyshotto deep high narrow ravine. Karyshotto narrow ravine in the cliffs are one of the highest ravine of Uzbekistan, its wall's height exceeds 300 m in some places. A distinctive feature of Karyshotto are its karst waterfalls. There are seven of them in total; their height varies from 1 to 8 meters. After 2 and 2.5 kilometers, the narrow ravine is blocked by 10- and 5- meter high waterfalls. If you conquer them, you can see that the narrow ravine continues in two directions. Karyshotto is situated in a very dry and hot location but due to the presence of the non-drying water source, it is one of the most beautiful and extraordinary places in Surkhandarya region, especially in spring.
- Lunch. You can enjoy traditional meat dishes, one of them is unique to Baysun - «Cholponcha» (lamb fillet, roasted on the fire in a special manner).
- Visit to Kyzyl Canyon and its remarkable sights, including 'The Ship' Rock.
The creative nature has made the landscape radically different from any other that you can see outside the canyon. At times it seems that you are on another planet - the image of the canyon is so dissonant with the rest of the world. For most of the year it looks like a stone desert. But in the spring everything here is covered with a bright carpet of herbs and flowering poppies. By summer the terrain completely dries up, and the canyon takes on its former, stern look.
By the way, in the spring there are many different types of medicinal herbs. The animal world of the canyon is also very unordinary.
The landscape of the canyon is full of mountain gorges. Descending without a guide is not recommended - you can get lost in the insidious labyrinths of the dungeon. By the way, local residents use carefully prepared grottoes as auxiliary rooms for various needs.
When traveling here, it is recommended to communicate with the locals - their life keeps a lot of interesting. And they look very colorful.
Ruins of Kurganzol - Greco-Macedonian (Hellenistic) fortress founded up during the time of Alexander the Great in northern Bactria in the end of the 4th century BC. The place for the erection of this structure was chosen by Alexander the Great himself. It is not surprising that the building itself is almost impregnable, because it is located on a steep cliff. The only side of the fortress, access to which is relatively uncomplicated, is protected by 6 towers. Presumably, there were about fifty soldiers stationed there. Throughout its existence, the fortress was systematically attacked by northern nomadic tribes, which caused more or less significant damage to it. Therefore, the construction was constantly being repaired and reconstructed.
Some time after the completion of the construction, the fortress was burned. Then it was restored, but soon the incident was repeated. And this time the structure was destroyed almost to the ground, after which it fell into decay.
The fortress is relatively small. In addition to defensive structures (towers and embrasures), there are also several rooms for living and household needs. Inside the fortress there is a eservoir for water. So that it does not overflow during the rains, it is equipped with a drain.
It is built of raw brick. The average thickness of the walls is more than 2.5 m. So, despite the relatively modest size, this structure looks very massive and impressive.
- Dinner and overnightstay
- You will visit the famous grotto of Teshik-Tash, where the skeleton of an 8 to 11-year-old Neanderthal girl was discovered in 1938-1939 by a Soviet archaeologist A. P. Okladnikov. Teshik-tash Cave is a place of pilgrimage for Uzbek people, and not only them. Rock paintings made in the Mousterian era, and the primitive people sites were also found there.
It should be noted that the local people are attracted here not because of the rich historical past of the cave, but because of a white stone with a hole for which it got its name “Teshik-tash”. Tt translates as a "holey stone". What is so interesting about it?
According to the stories, if you carry a child through a hole in the stone, the next day he will be healed of any decease. Therefore, there is nothing surprising in that the stone always attracts the attention of hundreds of pilgrims from all corners of the country, and not only Uzbekistan.
As for the cave, it looks pretty impressive. If you look closely at the vaults of the cave, you can see the water that has formed them gradually drips. This very unique source of this water is still a mystery for modern scientists.
- Lunch (Lunch boxes).
- On the way back you will visit:
- Kaptarhona (Dovecote) Canyon (2 km, ~ 30 min). Once it was a wild and little-visited canyon, named after wild pigeons nested there many years ago. This short canyon consists of wondrous turns among cliffs and boulders scattered in the middle of a narrow path. It is very beautiful place, especially in springtime.
- Hojimoy-Ota – sacred place for Surkhandarya inhabitants, located in the depths of the Derbent gorge and surrounded from every quarter by huge vertical cliffs. Hojimoy-Ota represents the burial place of the saint and is situated on one of the gorge's wall terraces. Nearby, you will see a cave and stormy streams of crystal clear water flowing out of the gorge. The streams flow from an underground lake inside the mountain.
- Dinner and overnightstay.
Any lucky person who visited the edge of the wall of the Khodja Gur Gur Ota massif (more details at bottom) of the Baysuntau mountain range (the southwestern spurs of the Hissar Range) saw a totally different world separated from us by a giant wall. Due to its isolation, this land has been able to preserve its secrets, customs and amazing nature.
This land has the deepest caves of Uzbekistan, giant springs flowing from the depths of massive vertical rocks, dense forests fed by hundreds of springs, and unique mountain villages, isolated from the world, with an old way of life and traditions.
You can make an ascent along the ovring (hanging narrow mountain path) onto the wall more than 100-meter-high and see some stone slabs with depict traces of the first ungulate dinosaurs. All this and much more are waiting for its explorers.
Today you will visit:
- Zaur Boshi mountain area - a giant canyon covered with an ancient juniper forest.
- Kairak village. Here, a panorama of the entire Baysuntau range will open to you from an observation deck. With the help of binoculars, you will be able to see caves placed on vertical rocks.
- Gumatak village, known for its unique traces of ungulate dinosaurs in the lime stones of the Cretaceous. Excursion.
- Transfer to Jurgaty pass (2170 m): you will seea beautiful panorama to the villages of Dubolo, Luchak, Kurgancha and Chulbair massif. Excursion.
- Transfer to the Holtan Chashma source.
- The village of Dubolo. Overnight in a local house. Acquaintance with the lifestyle of one of the most isolated villages.
Khoja Gur Gur Ata is a mountain range located not far from Baysun. According to the legend, the inhabitants of the mountain village cried to God at a difficult moment. The next night the righteous Humajoi-ota saw a dream in which a place was opened to him, hiding a wonderful spring. The next morning the Sufi ascended to the gorge and struck his stick to the place he had seen in his sleep. And then at the place of impact a source was formed, full of fish. Until his death, Humajoi-ota protected him. Later he was buried nearby.
Tourists who do not have the proper skills of mountain climbing and rock climbing, can get here through the villages of Machay, Kentala and others. For the more hardy, there is another, interesting, short, but difficult way. It lies through Alachapan and Dubulo villages. However, only professional climebers use it.
If your path lies through the gorge nearby, do not miss the opportunity to visit a place that locals consider sacred. Many come here just to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. Tourists can learn the specified location of the mass pilgrimage following the source flowing directly from the cave. Emerging, the water enters a stone pool, carefully created by nature itself. By the way, there is even fish here - the so-called marinka. Opposite to the cave the grave of the saint himself is located.
Another interesting place located nearby – the Kaptarhona - a canyon, where thousands of wild pigeons live. Old people say that earlier their flock was dozens of times bigger than today. The name of the canyon translates literally as "Dovecot".
Of course, the described terrain and its surroundings are a real paradise for mountaineers and nature lovers. Fans of mysticism come here for various anomalies as well. After all, there are plenty of legends about this place.
- Climbing to the top by ovring. Ovrings are one of the oldest constructions, in fact they are handmade hanging wooden bridges of the highlands (a narrow mountain path in Tajik). Their structure consists from wooden wedges fixed in the holes and splits of rocks that braided with branches of bushes or wooden poles and flat stones on the top. A man and even a donkey can walk on such a trail but not always a horse.-
- Return to Baysun:
- Visiting the Khujakishkor Ota tract (gravitational anomaly). The area is located in the middle of Baysun district and conventionally separates the foothills and mountainous parts of the region. There are many sights, waterfalls, spurs of the Hissar Range as well as a gravity anomaly located here. Here, contrary to physical laws, everything moves upwards. The ball thrown from a mountain rolls up, pouring water will also flow upward. Same with the car: in neutral gear it will also be moving uphill.
- Transfer to the guest house.
- Festive dinner.
- Transfer to the train station. Departure to Tashkent.
- Arrival in Tashkent (or another city).
Price per person
- Transport by private vehicle,
- Train tickets Tashkent-Baysun-Tashkent,
- Escorting guide,
- Accommodation on shared basis (2 nights in the guesthouse, 1 night – homestay)
- Cook services,
- Porter services,
- Camping gear (tents, kitchen utensils, sleeping pads)
- Meals (breakfast, dinner, lunch, lunch boxes, water)
- Alcoholic beverages
- Operate daily
- Best time: April – early June
- Need to book in advance
- Trains can be substituted by flights (extra fee)