Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Джанпык Кала

Джанпык-Кала крепость Djanpyk Kala Video (Russian) 4:39



•Джанпык-Кала. Городище IX-XI вв., XIII-XIV вв. н.э.


Городище расположено в 6 км юго-восточнее поселка Каратау, на юго-западных отрогах Султануиздагского хребта. Один из живописнейших памятников правобережной части Амударьи.

Городище в плане имеет сложную конфигурацию. В восточной части сохранилась цитадель в виде прямоугольника пахсовых стен. Стены украшены сомкнутыми полуколоннами и вершины кончаются попарно ступенчатыми арочками.

Археологические раскопки позволили уточнить хронологию городища. Древнейшая керамика относится к IV в. до н.э. - I в. н.э. Дата последнего обживания определяется монетами 1319-1320 гг. и 1345-1346 гг.

При раскопках обнаружены многочисленные находки ранее привезенные из различных стран Востока и Запада. (Китая, Египта, России, Европы, Индии). Городище служило портовым городом в средневековье.На окраине Джанпык-калы можно увидеть бескрайние просторы заповедника Бадай Тугай.





Ruines de l' forteresse Djanbas Kala

Djambas Kala (Video: French 8:55)



Ruines formidables d'une vaste forteresse Djanbas Kala ayant fonctionné du 1er siècle av. J.-C. au IVe siècle. Inscrit au patrimoine mondial de l'UNESCO ces forteresses furent la résidence des rois de Khorezm. La forteresse a été construite avec de solides murs massifs en briques d'argile séchées à l'air et selon un plan prédéterminé de trois ensembles : un espace cultuel avec en son centre un foyer circulaire zoroastrien, un fort surélevé servant de centre administratif et d'une vaste cour rectangulaire en contre bas destinées aux habitations et aux caravanes. Ceinturé de remparts, aujourd'hui cette forteresse est en ruine. Ces forteresse du dèsert de Kizil Koum s'étendaient dans une zone autrefois cultivée et boisée. Elles ont été ravagées en 1220 par Gengis Khan.

Source: http://sheherazade-voyages.fr/noukous

Земля и вода - бесценное богатство Узбекистана (Land and Water - Precious Resources for Uzbekistan)

Credit : ZEF - UNESCO Source: http://www.zef.de/index.php?id=1796

Земля и вода - бесценное богатство Узбекистана (Russian) 21:47


 Land and Water - Precious Resources for Uzbekistan  (English) 21:51

Video: Kyzylkum desert. The nature of Uzbekistan.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Zoroastrian Ruins in Karakalpakstan (Monumentos Zoroastristas de Karakalpakstán)


Photo: Chilpyk Kala - Tower of Silence  (Credit: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/62366723)

1. 'Zoroastrian monuments in Qoralqalpogiston. Ancient Khorezm sights' 8:43 (English) Go to Zoroastrian Ruins



Karakalpakstan and Khorezm (north west of Uzbekistan) the core territory of ancient Khwarezm is believed to be the birthplace of the Zoroastrian religion and has the richest area of Zoroastrian settlements, fortresses and temples in the whole of Central Asia. These include the magnificent ruins of the Mizdakhan with its huge necropolis (4th c BC), the settlement site Gyaur-Kala (4th c BC - 4th c BC), the dakhma ‘tower of silence’ and ossuary burial site of Chilpyk-Kala (4th c. BC - 11th c. BC), the ancient settlement of Toprak-Kala (1st c - 4th c) and the burial and astral cult site of Koy-Krylgan-Kala (4th c BCE - 4th c BC).













Photo Credit: Mizdakhan : http://grandgeocoucou.com/2013/09/09/le-journal/

 2. 'Monumentos Zoroastristas de Karakalpakstán. Curiosidades de Khorezm'. 8:28 (Spanish) Go to Monumentos Zoroastristas


En el oeste de Uzbekistán, en el antiguo Khorezm, se han conservado numerosos monumentos de la época del zoroastrismo - las ruinas de antiguos asentamientos y muros de fortalezas zoroastrianas, construidas de pahsa (arcilla). Los más grandes de ellos son: citania Mizdahkan (s.IV adC) y su gran necrópolis, fortaleza Gyaur Kala (s.IV adC -- s. IV dC), dakhma Chilpik Kala (s. IV adC -- s. XI dC). El lugar ceremonial de los zoroastristas de entierro en osarios, el antiguo asentamiento Toprak-Kala (ss. I-IV dC) y el monumento funerario y de culto astral del zoroastrismo -- Koy-Krylgan- Kala (s. IV adC -- s. IV dC).

Also see Golden Ring of Ancient Khorezm

http://karakalpak-karakalpakstan.blogspot.com.au/2011/06/golden-ring-of-ancient-khorezm.html

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Northern Deserts of Central Asia

Introduction

The Central Asian Northern Desets are a mosaic of clay, stone, salt and sand and together with the Central Asian southern desert, supports the highest level of biological richness of all Eurasian deserts. The region is populated by middle Asian and north Caucasus species and is closer in nature to the Turanian subtropical realm. The area is dominated by rarefied semi-shrub communities formed by the perennial saltworts (Chenopodiacea) and sagebrushes (Artemisia spp.). Northern Turanian or Kazakhstanian species of plants are the dominant flora. Two prominent small mammals in this ecoregion are jerboa and gerbil. The latter digs deep burrows which become critical for vegetation growth. Rare but still found are the goitered gazelle, marbled polecat, saxaul jay, Asian desert sparrow, and Houbara bustard.

Location and General Description


Photo: Usturt Plateau

The Northern Desert includes the Kazakh territory of Mangyshlak, the central part of the Ustyurt plateau (including a large part of the territory of Karakalpakstan) streatching across again into Kazakhstan and the northern and southern areas near Balkhash Lake. The northern deserts are distinguished the following climatic parameters: total solar radiation 130-140 kilocalories (kkal) per square centimeter (cm2) and the radiating balance 45 - 50 kcal./cm2. The mean temperature in January is –10 to -15oC and in July from 24 to 26oC.

The precipitation is distributed evenly across seasons with some increase observed in the spring. The quantity of precipitation compounds 100-150 millimeters (mm) per one year (for separate years up to 200mm). The influence of the Asian anticyclone begins to develop in this territory.

The relief of the Northern Desert is varied in form and origin. Low littoral plains near the Caspian Sea, arid denudational plateaus (northern part of Ustyurt and western part of Betpakdala), stony plains, and melkosopochnik - a highly eroded plateau (Mangyshlak, eastern part of Betpakdala and northern part near Balkhash Lake) are represented here. There are also sandy deserts (Muyunkum), and sandy regions near the northern part of Aral Sea and near Balkhash Lake. These vast areas are composed of the clay alluvial and alluvial-delta plains found in the lower reaches of the Chu, Ili and Emba rivers.

Perennial saltworts predominate in the Northern deserts. Species that prevail on clay soils of the region include Anabasis salsa, Salsola orientalis, and sagebrushes such as artemisia terrae albae, A. turanica, and A. gurganica to the west. The plant communities from Salsola arbusculae formis and Nanophyton erinaceum are typical in stony soils. Typical for sandy soils are psammophitic semi-shrubs such as Ceratoides papposa, Artemisia terrae albae, var. massagetovii, A. santolina, and A. songarica, and shrubs such as Calligonum aphyllum, Ephedra lomatolepis and psammophitic grasses (Agropyron fragile).

The spring flora of ephemers and ephemeroids aren’t as richly represented in the northern desert as in the southern deserts, however the colorful tulips (Tulipa greigii, T. albertii) decorate these areas in some years. The halophytic succulent semi-shrubs such as Halimione verrucifera, Kalidium folitum, K. Schrenkianum, anc Halocnemum strobilaceum, and annual saltworts (species of Petrosimonia, Climacoptera, Suaeda) dominate on solonchaks. Spireanthus schrenkianus (relic of Tertiary time) is
a rare plant growing in the central area of Betpakdala. It is associated with a specific community of species peculiar to chink ecosystems found in Mangyshlak, Ustyurt Plateau, and Ili depressions.

Biodiversity Features

The most common northern desert mammals are the long-eared hedgehog (Erinaceus auritus), long-quilled hedgehog (Piracohinus hypomelas), and tolai hare (Lepus tolai). Yellow gopher (suslik) is characteristic of the clay desert and feeds on the ephemeral plants. A variety of rodents such as gerbils (Rhombomys, Meriones), and more than ten species of jerboas (Allactaga, Dipus, Paradipus, Eremodipus, Stylodipus) are found here. Both gerbils and jerboas play an important role in the biological functioning of the clay desert. Numerous, deep burrows by the gerbils are critical for vegetation growth. Both form a significant part of the diet of nocturnal predators such as owl, steppe ferret (Mustela eversmanni) and corsac fox (Vulpes corsac). Endemic jerboas include the selevinia (Selevinia betpakdalensis), comb-toed jerboa (Paradipus ctenodactylus), and the three-toed and five-toed dwarf jerboas (Salpingotus heptneri, salpingotus pallidus, Cardiocranius). Also endemic are representatives of several mammalian genera (e.g., Diplomesodon, Spermophilopsis, Pyderethmus, Allactodipus, Eremodipus).

Saiga (Saiga tatarica) were once quite common throughout these deserts, coming here for winter periods. Their population size has been significantly reduced however. The goitered gazelle or djeiran (Gazella subgutturosa subgutturosa) and marbled polecat (Vormela peregusna) are also rare and endangered. First attempts to reintroduce Asiatic wild ass (kulan) (Equus hemionus) were undertaken here in the 1980s. Until only recently, there was a chance that cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) continued to survive in some parts of this ecoregion.

Photo: Saiga http://www.fauna-flora.org/explore/kazakhstan/

Larger birds of the ecoregion include the houbara bustard (Chlamydotis undulata), black-bellied and pin-tailed sandgrouse (Pterocles alcata, P. orientalis), cream-colored courser (Cursorius cursor), golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetus), short-toed eagle (Circaetus gallicus), steppe eagle, (Aquila rapax), Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus), and saker falcon (Falco cherrug). Among the more common bird species are wheatears (Oenanthe isabellina, O. deserti), desert warbler (Sylvia nana), the desert lark (Ammomanes deserti), desert raven (Corvus ruficollis), and desert shrike (Lanius excubitor). Pander’s ground jay or saxaul jay (Podoces panderi) is a rare and unusual member of the crow family. Asian desert sparrow (Passer zarudnyi) is also rare. Houboara bustard is one of the most endangered bird species in this region. It migrates from Saudi Arabia through Iran and Pakistan to Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan. It is threatened by elite hunters who spend large amounts of money for the opportunity to hunt it.

The list of desert reptiles includes a number of species of toad agamas, namely: Khentau toad agama (Phrynocephalus rossikowi), Molchanov's toad agama (P. moltschanovi), Strauch's toad agama (P. strauchi), spotted toad agama (P. maculatus), Sogdian toad agama (P. sogdianus), Said-Aliev's toad agama (P. helioscopus saidalievi). Other reptiles include gekkos (Alsophylax pipiens, A. laevis), Rustamov's skink gekko (Teratoscincus scincus rustamovi), Chernov's snake-lizard (Ophimorus chernovi), Ferghana sand lizard (Eremias scripta pherganensis), black-eyed lizard (Eremias nigrocellata), gray monitor (Varanus griseus), Afghan lytorhynch (Lytorhynchus ridgewayi), four-lined snake (Elaphe quatuorlineata), and the cobra (Naja naja oxiana). The invertebrate fauna of the sandy deserts is especially rich, represented by species such as grasshoppers, darkling beetles, scarabaeid beetles, butterflies, termites and ants.

The main anthropogenic threats are agriculture, hunting and poaching, and overuse of woody plants for firewood. Overgrazing of livestock is the main threat in non-irrigated areas. Biodiversity in the deserts of this region are adversely affected by desertification and localalised degradation of soils. Irrigated agriculture in marginal lands has significantly accelerated wind erosion and salinisation of soils.

References:

• Borodin, A. M., editor. 1985. Krasnaya Kniga USSR: Redkie i nokhodyashchiesya pod ygrozoi uschesnoveniya vidy zhivonykh i rastenii. Moscow: Lesnaya Promyshennost.

• German, V. B., A. L. Zatoka, E. Y. Shubenkina, and V. P.Shubenkin. 1990. Kaplankyr zapovednik. Pages 141-149 in V. E. Sokolov, editor. Zapovedniki of the USSR, Volume 6., Moscow.

• Ismagilov, M. I., L. A. Kuznetsov, and V. L. Rashek. 1990. Zapovednik barsa-Kelmes. Pages 42-56 in V. E. Sokolov, editor. Zapovedniki of the USSR, Volume 6., Moscow..

• Kovshar, A. F. 1990. Usturtskii zapovednik. Pages 30-41 in V. E. Sokolov, editor. Zapovedniki of the USSR, Volume 6., Moscow.

• Krever, V., O. Pereladova, M. Williams, and H. Jungius. 1998. Biodiversity conservation in central Asia: An analysis of biodiversity and current threats and initial investment portfolios. World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF), Washington DC.

• Lavrenko, E. M. 1962. Osnovnye cherty botanicheskoi geographii pustyn Evrasii Severnoi Africi, Moskow-Leningrad Izdatelstvo. Academii Nauk, SSSR.

• Pereladova, O., V. Krever and M. Williams. 1997. Biodiversity Conservation in Central Asia. Moscow. ISBN: 1559636084

• Rachkovskaya, E. I. 1995. Kazakhstan semi-deserts and melkosopochnik. Vegetation Map of Kasakhstan and Middle Asia. Scale 1:2 500 000. Komarov Botanic Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Sankt Peterburg.

• Suslov, S. P. 1961. Physical geography of Asiatic Russia. W. H. Freeman, San Francisco. ISBN: 0199248028

• Syroechkovskii. E. E. 1990. Zapovedniks of central Asia and Kazakhstan. In V. E. Sokolov, editor. Zapovedniki of the USSR, Volume 6., Moscow. ISBN: 5244004964