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Visit to the Beket-Ata and Shopan-Ata Necropolis
Tours to Mangyshlak

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On September 8-9, 2000, a commemoration of the Holy Sufi Beket-Ata took place in Mangyshlak, Oglandy Valley. It was dedicated to his 250th birthday. Beket-Ata is known in the Muslim world as a prophet to whom all Creation was open. As legend says, Beket-Ata lived in the second part of the 18th century. He was born in the present-day location of Kulsary village in Atyrau region.

When he turned 14, Beket-Ata came to visit the ashes of the highly honored sage, Shopan-Ata, to receive his blessing. A legend says that Shopan-Ata was a follower of the Holy Khodja Akhmed Yassawi. Acording to the legend, Shopan-Ata had found a staff of Yassawi's and later built a mosque on that spot in present-day Senek region.

The staff gave birth to a tree that still grows near the mosque and is 800 years old. On the third day, the young boy heard an instruction that he was meant to study. Then Shopan-Ata went to distant Khiva, where he studied in a madrasah. When he reached his 40th birthday, he became a Sufi and started teaching the Koran to children. He walked many roads till he one day returned to Mangystau. He healed people, giving them health and long life. Using his wisdom, he was able to settle arguments so that both sides remained satisfied. He preached justice and kindness.

A Sage and Holy man, he also was a brave warrior, who performed many feats during battles with the Kalmucks. Beket-Ata built 4 mosques: one in Kulsary called the White Mosque; the second carved in limestone rocks, 20 km from Beyneu village; the third in Baishatyr region on the Ustyurt plateau and a fourth underground mosque, carved out of a limestone mountain in the Oglandy Valley - the latter is the one we will visit. It consists of seven rooms. They have perfect acoustics. Beket-Ata is buried near the mosque. Beket-Ata Necropolis is a spiritual, historical and architectural memorial.

The Program:

Duration: 2 days;
Season: April 15 - October 15;
Accommodation: 1 night in guesthouse at Beket-Ata mosque;
Size of group: no more than 3.

Travel itinerary: Aktau - Shopan-Ata Necropolis - Beket-Ata Mosque - Aktau

Description: Excursion acquaints with vital activity of preachers, saints Beket-ata and Shopan-ata, with underground mosques, religious ceremonies and traditions.

Day 1
Departure from Aktau to the underground mosque Beket-ata. The pilgrimage begins with an the underground mosque of the saint, whose name is Shopan-ata and who, according to a legend is spiritual tutor of Beket-ata.

Necropolis Shopan-ata located on the old caravan road from Mangyshlak to Khoresm, is in the south-eastern part of the peninsula. It was stretched on both sides of not deep and narrow ravine which is going down on slopes of a hill of Shopan-ata "sacred mountain". Having visited the underground mosque Shopan-ata and having had a rest, you continue a way on the sacred earth Beket-ata where the most important part of pilgrimage begins.

Walking on a twisting footpath, among rocks it is necessary to pass to the mosque. In a small premise where earlier Beket-ata prayed and learnt children, possibility to make "namaz" will be given to you, to open your soul after visiting the mosque, you are waited by a meal - "besbarmak" prepared from a sacrificial animal, then all are bedded down in the hotel house.

Day 2
Breakfast. Departure to Aktau.

We hope you like the program and assure you that we are absolutely open to any suggestions to increase the range of our services for the entire satisfaction of our clients and are happy to meet your special requirements.

You can alter the duration of your tour and places of visits by adding one of the extensions. Our tour operator will work closely with you or your travel agent to carefully prepare an itinerary based on your stated interests.

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