2 Geography
About nature of Balkan

For a person who looks at a map of Turkmenistan for the first time it presents an uninterrupted desert. It is not surprising. The substantial part of the total territory of Turkmenistan is occupied by Karakum sands. Still the first impression is sure to appear to be false, as not many of the countries can be proud of such a wealth of plant and animals kingdoms, such a variety of landscapes and climatic zones. The nature of Turkmenistan is rich in tens of thousands of types of flora and fauna.
One cannot know nature of Turkmenistan not having visited the Caspian sea-shore. The Caspian sea is the largest in the world self-contained salty sea (lake) which has no connection with the world's oceans. On the territory of the Caspian sea only one can come across flamingo, pelicans and many other birds who are on the list of endangered species (the Red Book). Special attention of the nature protection service is raid to preserving the populations of valuable sturgeon fishes.
The next attractive spot to visit is restaurant is the State Reserve set up to protect the region's 280 species of water fowl, marsh birds including flamingos, pelicans, indigenous colonies of seals or turtles. For anybody interested in seeing seals or turtles the reserve headquarters is on Naberezhnaya Street 42, where there is also small Natural History Museum. The desert ecosystems, dry subtropics, and marine shallow bays in the southeastern coast of the Caspian are included into the Khazar nature reserve. It consists of two parts, Essenguly and Krasnovodsk. It was set up in 1968 on an area of 192,300 ha. This nature reserve is included in the list of aquatic and wetland habitats of the international significance that are under protection of the Ramsar International Convention. The Khazar nature reserve provides the habitat for 18 species of mammals and 372 species of birds. Of the bird fauna, nearly a half is waterfowl and near-water birds, which is a specific feature of the Khazar nature reserve (more than 85% of its territory covers the water areas, bays, and sea).

2.1 Terrain

Balkan velayat is situated on the very West of the territory of Turkmenistan, on the Caspian seashore. Its territory is 138.5 thousand square km. The relief is mostly sandy and desert. There are Big and Small Balkhan Mountains (highest tops have 1880 m and 777 m height accordingly). They are Desert Mountains with flat top and wild gorges and canyons without any trees or grasses but sometimes one can meet various types of junipers – archa.South part of velayat lies on the West top of the Kopetdagh Mountains, in the valley of the Sumbar, Chandir and Atrek little water rivers. There are Turkmen subtropics in a famous Sumbar valley separated from Turkmensitan plains with two Kopetdagh mountain rangers. Picturesque mountain landscape, various types of evergreen vegetation, life-giving limpid air and soft winter make Sumabr like Krim.
2.2 Flora and fauna

Various subtropical vegetations including date palm are growing in the West valley of the Atrek River. But the Northern part of velayat lies on the deserts and has salty soils that named shors and takirs and they don’t have any grasses or trees. The golden and sandy beaches of the Caspian Sea, warm and soft water are splendid from July to November.

2.3 Climate

Middle temperature in January is +4 C and in June it is +28.7 C, when in Yalta, the center of Krim are +3.7 C and +24.2 C accordingly.

2.4 Lakes and rivers


Turkmen section of the Caspian Sea is rich with oil, valuable sorts of fishes and waterfowl. Turkmen fishers and hunters live in the picturesque settlements, in the houses with whimsical architecture on the seashore On the Turkmen side of the Caspian Sea there are main sprawling places of the sturgeon sort of fishes. Pressed caviar, valuable kinds of fishes are essential production of Turkmen export.
In the limit of Turkmenistan seashore the line extends for hundreds of km. There are big and small gulfs with “underwater forests” of different types of grasses, mollusks and crustaceans that are good food for migrating birds. For season migration, on account of ornithologists, about 12 million birds are flying and most of them for winter there. It is accounted that only the quantity of ducks are more than 400 000 and fine pink flamingoes are 10-18 thousand.

2.5 Protected lands

On account of the specialists, local hunters let about 300 000 game birds every year but without ecological damages. That’s why hunting is one of the national Turkmen traditions. For keeping biological variety of the Caspian Sea Turkmenbashi reservation has been established in 1932.

References

Students of the 8th grade Akhmedov Erkin and Akhmedov Timur, school #26, Turkmenabat