The Aral Sea, Uzbekistan, 2017

Moynaq, Uzbekistan city sign

Moynaq:The Town Haunted By The Ghost Of The Aral Sea

The Republic of Uzbekistan, in Central Asia, is little known, and seldom visited by Western travelers. A part of the former Soviet Union until 1991 when it gained independence, Uzbekistan has the distinction of being one of the two double landlocked countries on Earth. In other words, all five of the countries that border on Uzbekistan are landlocked themselves.

Despite its steadfastly continental geographic status Uzbekistan was, up into the late 20th century, home to a bustling port city called Moynaq that was the center of a large and thriving fishing industry. Moynaq once sat on the southern shore of the Aral Sea which was the fourth largest inland body of water in the world. Today Moynaq ia surrounded on all sides by the Kyzyl Kum Desert and what’s left of the Aral Sea is more than 150 km away.

The recent history of the Aral Sea is a tale of one of the greatest human-caused environmental disasters of all time. It is also a story of governmental arrogance, ignorance, and greed.
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