According to a legend, a brightly shining meteorite struck this place 40,000 years ago. The city’s name refers to this event: “Nur” means light while “Ota” stands for father. The name, therefore, means “father of light”.

Legend says that the town was founded by Alexander the Great, who had a fortress built here in 327 B.C. The place is said to have been Alexander’s camp for the conquest of Samarkand. Today, the fort is mostly ruined, but its strategic position on a hill offers an impressive view over the whole city and the surrounding areas. 

Nurata is a pilgrimage place because of the Chashma (Uzbek for “spring”). According to legend, Hazrat Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet Mohammed, visited Nurata. When 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 not be caught.

Nurata has long been known for silk and wool embroidery. To this day, craftswomen still produce the traditional Suzani 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.

General information:

– Population: 30,000 (2019)

– Elevation: 490 m

Interesting facts:

Nurata is the starting point for the up-and-coming ecotourism in the Nuratau Mountains and at Aydar Kul Lake. At the lake, several yurt camps have been set up, where overnight stays and camel rides are offered.

Air connections: Nurata does not have an airport. The nearest airport is in Navoi, about 70 km away.

Railway connections: Nurata is not connected to the railway network. The nearest railway station is also in Navoi.

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