According to a legend, a brightly shining meteorite struck this place 40,000 years ago. The name of the city refers to this event: “Nur” means “light” while “Ota” stands for “father”. The name, therefore, means “father of light”.
Legend says that the city was founded by Alexander the Great, who had a fortress built here in 327 B.C. The place, at that time only called “Nur”, is said to have been Alexander’s base for the conquest of Samarkand. Today the fortress is mostly ruined, but due to its strategic position on a hill, it offers an impressive view over the whole city and the surrounding areas.
Nurata is a place of pilgrimage because of the Chashma (Uzbek for “spring”). According to legend, Hazrat Ali, the son-in-law of the prophet Mohammed, visited Nurata. At the place where he hit the ground with his staff, a spring was created whose water has been considered holy ever since. Another legend says that the spring originated at the place where the meteorite hit the ground. Observations have shown that the spring water is constantly 19.1 degrees Celsius warm, regardless of the time of day or season. The water is said to have a healing effect and cure both physical and mental ailments. Next to the spring, there is a board with information about the composition of the minerals in the water. Thus in the water chlorine, sulphate, potassium, magnesium, silicon, carbonate and sodium are to occur. Countless fish swim in the spring, but they are also considered sacred and must therefore not be caught.
Nurata has long been known for silk and wool embroidery. To this day, craftswomen still produce the traditional Suzani (embroidery) with the typical patterns of the region. Many of these products are sold in shops in Bukhara.
About 30 km away from Nurata is the village of Gazgan, known in Uzbekistan for its marble quarrying.
Air connections: Nurata does not have its own airport. The nearest airport is Navoi, about 70km away.
Railway connections: Nurata is not connected to the railway network. The nearest railway station is also in Navoi.