Day Trip to Nokhur Village and Kow Ata Cave
Nokhur Village, Kow Ata Cave
Shrouded in darkness more than 60 meters below the earth is Kow Ata Lake, a natural pool of sulfuric waters that’s purported to have healing powers. Buried at the base of Turkmenistan’s Kopet Dag Mountains, Kow Ata has been popular among Turkmen for decades and now attracts visitors from around the world. Nestled in the heights of these same mountains is a cluster of villages known as Nokhur, home to Turkmen people whose remote habitation has allowed them to preserve their distinct dialect and traditional ways of life over the course of centuries.
The Underground Cave and Village Day Trip is a journey to several of Turkmenistan’s truly unique cultural destinations, a daylong trek that’s as enlightening as it is diverse. Dip your feet in the Kow Ata underground lake before continuing to the mountain villages of Nokhur to catch a glimpse of their secluded ways of life. Along the way you’ll also see a popular mosque and the training ground of the Akhalteke horses, the pride of the Turkmen nation. Anyone privileged to visit Turkmenistan will not want to miss this extraordinary experience.
Your guide and driver will meet you in the morning at your Ashgabat hotel. Drive to Nokhur mountain settlement in the Kopet Dag Mountains (150km, 3-4hrs). On the way, stop to see two significant sites:
- Saparmurat Khadija Mosque, erected on site of the Gokdepe Fortress. Built in 1995 and named after Turkmenistan’s first president, its blue domes and 63-meter-high minarets, scaled to recollect the age at which the prophet Muhammad died, distinguish it from other mosques in the region.
- Kow Ata Cave, an underground lake hidden 60m beneath the earth at the foothills of the Kopet Dag Mountains. Jump in for a quick swim in its sulfuric waters, which remain comfortably warm year-round, before continuing your drive to Nokhur.
Prepare yourself for cultural immersion upon arrival to the Nokhur mountain villages, where conservative culture from centuries past is lived out before your eyes. Ponder the origins of the Nokhur cemetery, where each tombstone is decked out in ram’s horns, or visit the revered Gyz-Bibi cave entrance alongside small throngs of picnicking religious pilgrims. Admire the distinct design of Nokhurian homes, built into steep mountain crags, or drive to the highest point in the Kopet Dag Mountains.
On the return trip to Ashgabat, take a detour to the Akhalteke horse stables, where you’ll learn about the care and training of these pure-bred Turkmen horses, known for their incredible speed, agility and sleek beauty.
Drop-off at your hotel. End of Underground Cave and Village Day Trip.
Tour duration: approximately 8 hours
- Private, local guide;
- Entrance fees to the sights as per itinerary;
- Transport throughout the tour (1-2 sedan, 3-8 minivan).
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