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Once known as Nur, this ancient town held a strategic position on the frontier between the cultivated lands and the steppe. It lends its name to the nearby mountain range, the westernmost spur of the Gissaro Alai, soon expiring in Kyzyl Kum wasteland. Nurata has retained some of the holy sites that attracted pilgrims from all over Central Asia. The ruins of a hilltop citadel in the town center near the bazaar mark Nurata.s history.

Camel farms to the north of Nurata supply the mounts for anyone wishing to experience desert life in proper Silk Road style, aboard the stubborn and enigmatic ships of the desert. Kazakh families dominate the pasturelands of the Kyzyl Kum. Kazakh yurts, round felt tents set a wooden framework, stand next to modern shacks and are preferred for summer use. However drab the exterior, inside you will often find a blaze of colorful scarves, blankets and embroideries. Guests are quickly made welcome with a refreshing bowl of koumiss, fermented mare's milk.

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