Ogurchinsky – the largest island in the Turkmen sector of the Caspian Sea

Ogurchinsky – the largest island in the Turkmen sector of the Caspian Sea

In the Caspian Sea’s waters – in its Turkmen part – there is an ancient Ogurchinsky island, which is located 30 km on the south-west trip of the Hazar (Cheleken) Peninsula. From a bird\’'s eye view, the shape of the desert island resembles a cucumber, but the name of the area comes from the Ogurja hole. In ancient times, representatives of the Ogurjaly Turkic tribe, famous for their dashing disposition, lived here.

The writer Oraz Kuvandjaliyev, being an expert of the Caspian Sea, its flora and fauna, has devoted several scientific and literary-and-art works to the study of the reservoir. Ogurchinsky island was of special attention to the Turkmenistan’s nature lover, who considered the island as the best place for the preservation and reproduction of threatened species of fauna.

“Once there were settlements here, but people had to leave these places due to the frequent storms,” says Oraz Kuvandjaliyev. “Then it was decided to found a reserve on the territory of animal’s corner of nature. 12 gazelles were brought here and after a while, this figure increased hundreds of times. Camels, donkeys, rams and Caspian seals inhabit the island. It is a home for a number of birds’ species such as pink flamingos and pelicans.

The Caspian Sea is unique, every 50 years the local waters rise and then recede. Some scientists believe that many underwater mud volcanoes in the Caspian Sea can cause it. Having located on the same tectonic line, they often act synchronously, and as a result of their underwater emissions, islands arise.

There are more than 40 large and medium islands in the Caspian Sea, while the Ogurchinsky is considered the largest island in Turkmenistan. Its area is 45 sq.km. The island is very narrow, so on stormy days the waves can completely overlap the narrow areas of the desert island.

Quiet, beautiful places with the richest natural potential attract supporters of eco-tourism; every summer fishing enthusiasts come to the Ogurchinsky island.

Another nature attraction located on the coast of the Caspian Sea is the Hazar State Nature Reserve. Today the territory of the Reserve also includes the artificial island, where all conditions have been created for the birds migrating in winter. More than 70 percent of the three hundred species of birds living here are included in the Red Book of Turkmenistan.

Scientists are studying samples of plants that feed the wild steppe horses and birds in the nature reserve. This is necessary in order to better learn and preserve the ecological balance that exists in this corner with virgin and untouched nature.

Selbi CHARIYEVA