In A Vast Desert Hundreds Of Miles Inland Lie The Decaying Remains Of Aralkum’s Eerie Ship Graveyards

ADVERTISEMENT

Image: Staecker

Straddling the former Soviet Union countries of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in Central Asia, the vast arid aspect of the Aralkum Desert stretches out as far as the eye can see. But against this inhospitable landscape, bizarre memorials to a distant past present an eerie sight. Visitors to the remote region can witness the rusting carcasses of once-great ships slowly rotting away – many miles from the nearest shore – and wonder what went wrong…

Image: Google

Decades ago, the area was home to one of the largest lakes in the entire world. Known as the Aral Sea – which translates as the Sea of Islands – the huge body of water covered some 26,300 square miles from Uzbekistan in the south to Kazakhstan in the north. And the lake provided a vital lifeline for the local population in a remote and unforgiving part of the world.

ADVERTISEMENT

Image: Zhanat Kulenov

In fact, a thriving fishing industry once centered on the Aral Sea, providing a great source of sustenance and income for thousands of Uzbekistani and Kazakhstani people. And, in the towns and cities surrounding the lake, everything from canning factories to restaurants were built to further the region’s bustling trade.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT