Trans Eurasia travel

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Nukus (population 230,000) is a grim, spiritless city of bitter pleasures whose gridded avenues of socialism support a centreless town, only to peter out around fading fringes into an endless wasteland of cotton fields punctuated by the random, surreal exotica of wild camels loitering in neglected apartment blocks. It is the capital of Karakalpakstan, an ill-defined autonomous republic inside Uzbekistan and thus the regional centre and transport hub of the republic.

Nukus lies 166km northwest of Urgench, well beyond the reach of most tourist buses. Nukus, a lifeless city of tree-lined avenues and nondescript Soviet architecture, is the gateway to the fast disappearing Aral Sea and home to a remarkable art museum that for some travellers is worth the hardship of getting here.