In the very eastern part of Turkmenistan, in Lebap Province, there’s a town called Gaurdak and today it’s Magdanly. Just like many other towns it was renamed, however, old name of the town is still being used by locals. The town is surrounded by picturesque mountainous landscapes, waterfalls, and gorges.
Located 260 km away from Turkmenabad, the town is known for larges deposits of potassium salt and sulfur. The surroundings boast of unique field of Celestine. There’re only two fields of Celestine in the world, one is in Spain, another in Gaurdak or Magdanly.
The main reason to come to Gaurdak are dinosaur footprints! Kugitang Nature Reserve is the most famous reserve in Turkmenistan that was established in 1986 and occupies area of 27,000 hectares. The most interesting part of the reserve is Dinosaur Plateau. Scientists proved that this plateau use to be a large sea harbor that dried out. Wet surface preserved precise marks of reptiles that inhabited the harbor. The bottom of the sea revealed unique prehistorical trails of animals and dinosaurs’ footprints! These footprints were left at the end of Jurassic period 150 million years ago! Alongside with dinosaur footprints mysterious trails of humans were found.
Other places of interest in Kugitang Nature Reserve are canyon with waterfall Umbar-dere, grotto Kyrk gyz with hundreds of ribbons on the ceiling, sacred jujube grove, thermal spring Gaynar-baba, the highest peak in the country Mount Ayrybaba, and “Sugar town” or system of karst caves. So many amazing things in one place, right? The reserve is full of wonders, unique natural monuments, traditions, and valuable historical, geological, and scientific knowledge. If you want your trip to Turkmenistan be unforgettable, Gaurdak and Kugitang Nature Reserve are the way to go!