The Saura Gorge, located on the eastern coast of the Caspian Sea, has always captured attention with its picturesque beauty. This unique place is just 100 kilometers away from the city of Aktau.
At the heart of the gorge lies a small freshwater lake known as Karakup or Turtle Lake, which serves as a habitat for frogs and freshwater turtles. The lake reaches a depth of approximately 5 meters, and its shores are surrounded by impressive 50-meter cliffs. The lake’s shores are adorned with lush greenery, creating a cozy oasis in this desert region. Here, you can find Kazakh lilacs, fragrant mint, and horehound plants.
Furthermore, Saura is valuable not only for its beauty but also for the historical relics found in the gorge. In the past century, an archaeological monument – Saura Fortress – a relic from the Bronze Age, was discovered to the northwest of this location. It is possible that this was one of the stops on the Great Silk Road. Nearby, a stone tomb was found at a depth of 2.5 meters, containing the remains of a poorly preserved adult female skeleton dating back to the early Iron Age. Inside the tomb, two clay vessels, an iron knife, several beads, and a spindle whorl were also discovered. It is believed that the fortress was destroyed due to an earthquake.
Saura became the first studied fortification structure of the Bronze Age in the Aral-Caspian region. One of the most remarkable artifacts found here is the depiction of a geometric figure on one of the stone slabs within the fortress. This drawing, executed in red mineral paint, represents a grid consisting of 21 cells, and it likely held magical significance.
During archaeological research, scientists endeavored to restore a portion of the fortress’s walls while carefully preserving and conserving the existing foundations, covering them with a new layer of natural stone in accordance with the original style.
Like many other wonders of Mangystau, the Saura Gorge is shrouded in numerous legends. Local residents believe that wishes made during a visit to Saura will gain power through the special energy of this place.