Mangistau region (in translation from Kazakh “thousand winters”) is located on the territory of western Kazakhstan. Several times, this area passed from Turkmens to Kazakhs and vice versa. This explains why there are many cemeteries with Kazakh and Turkmen burial places mixed up. In Turkmen this region is called Mangyshlak (thousand settlements). Administratively, this big region belongs to Aktau city on the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea.
Through the entire territory of Mangistau from the south to the north and farther to the northwest, through the Ustyurt plateau, the Shetpinsky Gates to the Caspian coast 2000 years ago the Great Silk Road passed here, and now this is the most interesting route tourists.
The presence of attractive landscapes in combination with different fauna in the Ustyurt nature reserve, unique monuments of the nature and many historical and cultural monuments that are located in Mangistau and picturesque places of Caspian shore are the main point of interest in here.
You can find here Caravanserais and cities like: Sartash, Alta, Ketyk. Legendary holy mountain Sherkala, and near it you can find the ruins of the fortress of Genghis Khan's son Juchi. These places have many historical and architectural monuments like: the underground mosques Beket-Ata, Shakpak-Ata, Masat-ata, and carved into rocks monuments like: necropolises of Sultan-epe, Kenty-baba and memorial complex of Eset-Batyr and others.
For tourists Mangystau is interesting for its natural formations:
- The hollow of Karagiye (132 m. Below sea level) is the lowest place in the former USSR;
- Aktau Mountains – snowy mountains and hollows.
- The majestic Shergala (Sherkala) is a lonely standing mountain, of unusual shape located 170 kilometers from the city of Aktau, not far from Shetpe. If you look at it on the one hand, the mountain resembles a huge white yurt, but on the other, Shergala resembles a sleeping lion, who laid his huge head on his paws. Therefore, they called the mountain Shergala, which in Turkmen means “Leo Mountain” or “Lion Mountain”;
Next to Shergala is the "Valley of Stone Balls" - a scattering of huge spherical boulders of various sizes. Many cracked by the wind. Other small are broken. Inside is a trace of a shell or fish. The biggest balls reach four meters in diameter.