Traditional Craftsmen of Shimbay Village

For centuries, Shimbay has been known as a major center of trade famous for its craftsmen and artisans. The incredibly talented people of Chimbay managed to preserve the ancient Karakalpak traditions, customs and craftsmanship till this day. We will take you to Chimbay to experience the true spirit of medieval Karakalpakstan.

Highlights of the Tour:

  • Visit the abandoned city Itchan-kala – a cultural and religious center of the 19th century Sufism.
  • Visit the place where yurts are made.
  • Learn about the process of making the Karakalpak yurts, the dwellings of nomadic people.
  • Visit the carpetmakers’ house.
  • Meet the artist/sculptor and his son who create the traditional jewelry.
  • Taste the unusual and delicious Karakalpak cuisine.
  • Learn the intricacies of the Karakalpak etiquette.

Brief description

  • Duration: 6-8 hours
  • Total distance: 150 km
  • Transportation: sedan, minivan
  • Meals: lunch with Karakalpak family
  • Route: Nukus - Khalkabad (Ichan-kala) - Chimbay - Nukus

Day 1


Beginning of tour: After breakfast, you will leave Nukus and drive to Khalkabad where you will visit Ishan-Kala, one of the well-preserved monuments dating back to the 19th century. Ishan-Kala was the religious and educational center built by the descendants of Ataulla Ishan, the son of Imam Ishan (1801-1877). A mosque built by their descendants still stands in the middle of a beautiful valley. The mosque is still functioning.


Visiting Shimbay: An hour-long drive through desolate and salt-covered areas, agricultural lands and small villages will take us to Shimbay. While driving through the wide modern streets and ancient narrow lanes, you will hear about the history of the city that has been an artisan and spiritual center for the nomadic tribes for centuries. You will visit a vibrant market located in the very heart of the city.


A place where yurts are made: You will visit an old factory where yurts are being made using the process that hasn’t changed for centuries. You will hear about the making of various components that have to be put together in a certain order to make a yurt.


The mystical significance of the Karakalpak yurt: You will visit an actual guest yurt and have a crash course on yurt etiquette. You will learn how to enter a yurt without disturbing the spirits that protect it, discover the mysteries of the yurt doors and find out which parts of the doors shouldn’t be touched. You will be taught how to interpret many signs and symbols of the yurt.


Visiting a family: You will visit a Karakalpak house and learn about Karakalpak customs and traditions. Have lunch there.


House of carpetmakers: You will visit a traditional Karakalpak family. Women of that family have been making carpets for several centuries. You will see all the parts of the house and learn about the traditional way of living. If there is a time, you will witness how they make traditional bread called "zag'ara" in a clay oven and even take a part in the process.


Return to Nukus or you have an option to stay overnight with a karakalpak family for an additional cost who will have a yurt in their yard. During the warm season, you can sleep in the yurt. 

Tour Map
Number of visitors Price per person. Price includes
1 $80

The total price includes:

  • Transportation

The price DOES NOT include:

  • Lunch ($15 per person)
  • Guide's fees ($70)
  • Additional food and drinks
  • Tips (optional)
  • Homestay $50 (with a yurt) per night, including breakfast
2 $45
3 $35
4* $25