Koytendag (Kugitangtau)

The country’s most scenic mountains – Kugitangtau, also called Koitendag, are located in the very east of Turkmenistan. Their name is translated from Turkmen as “mountains of deep canyons”. Indeed, this ridge is cut by many deep canyons with steep cliffs, which make the sky sometimes seen only in a form of narrow strip over the head. There are the deepest lakes, the longest caves and even the Dinosaur Plateau bearing traces of these prehistoric reptiles. It is this mountain system where the highest point of Turkmenistan – Mount Ayrybaba (3,139 m) is located. In addition, Koytendag Mountains are home to the country’s deepest lake – Kattakol.

The Koytendag foothills are painted in red color because of outcrop of the variegated rocks. The slopes at medium altitudes are covered with rare groves of juniper (cedar); while stone tops, with various grasses, flowers and shrubs. In addition, these mountains often feature mulberry trees, sycamores and various fruit trees.

Caves hold a special place in Koytendag Mountains. They are in huge amount there. They form an actual dungeon system, which in addition includes a lake. For example, the lake found in a doline near Karlyuk village harbors the blind loach (Troglocobitis) - a fish that lives in the darkness of the cave all its life. Not far from this place there are several caves: Gulgirin, Khashimoyuk, Tashyurak and others. This cave system is also called Karlyuk caves.