Aral Sea. A desert of rusty ships


The Aral Sea is no longer a sea

For years, the surface of the Aral Sea has been reduced to 10% of what it was, as a result of permanent droughts, human intervention and climate change.


The landscape has changed around the formerly prosperous Uzbek city of Moynaq on the shores of the former Aral Sea. The populations that previously prospered there, now find themselves in an unusable desert.


Moynaq today has 18,000 inhabitants, but several decades ago in time it represented one of the most notable economic poles of Uzbekistan, a primarily desert country that orients its life around the few sources of water it finds.

The Aral Sea was one of them, and thus Moynaq became its only port city, where the economic activity generated by fishing and trade allowed it to prosper.

Until Moynaq’s fate was twisted during the 1950s and 1960s, when the Soviet Union’s irrigation plans diverted the course of two tributary rivers of the Aral Sea. The goal was to turn the Uzbek desert into cotton plantations for world export.

But what happened was that the serious alteration of the ecosystem ended the future of Moynaq. The waters became contaminated as a result of the chemical processes and fertilizers and pesticides involved in the irrigation of cotton, and the cancellation of the traditional courses of the rivers began to erode the Aral space.
Decade by decade, the sea receded, and with it the hope of the people of Moynaq.

Today the Aral Sea is practically extinct.

A very picturesque space has exposed the important fishing fleet of Uzbekistan, abandoned to its fate.

Ever since the sea evaporated, Moynaq has been the city of stranded ghost ships, a place where water is as non-existent as sandstorms are frequent. A desert of rusty ships