In Uzbekistan, an eerie ship graveyard filled with hauntingly beautiful shipwrecks beckons.
The Moynaq Ship Graveyard is literally a ghost town in the middle of the desert.
It was once a busy Soviet fishing port on the Aral Sea — one of the four largest lakes in the world back in the day — but today, nothing but desert remains.
Let’s take a closer look and see how these ships came to be stranded in the middle of the desert.
Once one of the four largest lakes in the world (it was 26,300 square miles), the Aral Sea dried up when the rivers feeding it were diverted for irrigation purposes. Aral Sea translates to “Sea of Islands,” named for the over 1,100 islands it was once home to. Today, dozens of ships are disintegrating in the scorching desert heat. Today, the nearest shore is almost 100 miles away. In the 1960s, the Aral Sea began to steadily shrink when Soviet irrigation projects diverted the rivers feeding it. It has since shrunk to less than 10% of its original size, and is considered one of the most catastrophic environmental disasters of all time. The eastern basin of the Aral Sea is now known as the Aralkum desert. It is said that the Aral Sea disaster could be undone if the diverted rivers, which are irrigating cotton fields, were re-diverted. However, Uzbekistan doesn’t have the money to do this, and relies on its cotton industry. Sources: BusinessInsider Photo sources: Shutterstock, Reuters
Ships Graveyard in the Middle of the Uzbekistan Desert