Classic Uzbekistan Group Tour in 2024 and 2025 with Guaranteed Dates

Classic Uzbekistan Group Tour 2024-2025

Our most popular escorted tour of Uzbekistan in a small group will acquaint you with the most famous ancient cities in Uzbekistan: Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand, as well as the modern capital, Tashkent.

Tashkent, Khiva, Bukhara, Samarkand

8 Days | Spring, summer, autumn | from US$ 1,160 per person

Mount Sherkala, Mangystau

Mount Sherkala, Mangystau

Mount Sherkala stands as one of the defining symbols of Mangystau in Kazakhstan. This impressive limestone mountain rises majestically from the steppe, carrying a sense of mystery and allure. Numerous legends swirl around it, and from different perspectives, it can appear as a giant Kazakh yurt, an inverted bowl, or a sleeping lion. It’s this last image that has inspired its name—Sherkala, translating from Persian to "lion's fortress" or "lion's mountain".

Sherkala is situated about 180 kilometers from Aktau, the capital of the Mangystau region, and near the village of Shetpe (18 km away). The mountain itself stands at 307 meters tall (332 meters above sea level), stretching 1000 meters from north to south and 650 meters from east to west. A walk around the entire base of the mountain takes just about an hour. While its southern face presents a daunting, steep climb, the northern side is more gentle, featuring numerous small gorges and caves. Reaching the summit without specialized climbing equipment is practically impossible due to the steepness of all its sides.

Mount Sherkala, Mangystau

Local legends tell of a time when a fortress-city stood atop Sherkala, under siege by foreign invaders. Despite their efforts, the invaders couldn’t reach the summit. The stories say that a hidden passage to the top existed in one of the northern caves, a secret the invaders never discovered. However, they did find the well shaft providing water to those inside, cut the rope, and ultimately forced a surrender. In admiration of the defenders' brave stand, the invaders reportedly named it "fortress of lions," giving us another potential origin for Sherkala’s name.

While there’s no concrete information on Sherkala's historical significance, it’s speculated to have served as a landmark and rest stop along a section of the Great Silk Road running by the Caspian Sea. Ruins of unknown origin have been found nearby, and just 1.5 kilometers to the southwest lies a small oasis along the shallow Akmysh River, a potential water source for passing caravans. Today, the greenery of Akmysh stands out vividly against the surrounding yellow steppe.

Mount Sherkala, Mangystau

Mount Sherkala is a must-visit in Mangystau, and nearly every tourist itinerary in the region includes a stop here. The mountain is reachable within three hours from Aktau by car, though an off-road vehicle is necessary to get up close to the base. Notably, the Kok-Kala tract is just 10 km to the west, and the Airakty castles valley is the same distance to the east. Additionally, the Kogen ethno-village, complete with cozy yurts, a swimming pool, and a restaurant, is situated 5 km to the southeast, adding even more options for your visit to this captivating region.