Moynaq was indeed once an important fishing town, but the water the city was once located on receded a long time ago. It was the ecological disaster of the Aral Sea, which turned this fishing port into a sunbaked town surrounded by the desert. The shrinking of the Aral Sea is considered one of the most severe anthropogenic ecological disasters of all time. Once one of the world’s four largest lakes, the Aral Sea has shrunk to 10 % of its former size since the 1960s.
No other city around the Aral Sea was affected by this disaster more severely than Moynaq. The water’s edge is now more than 150km away from the city, and the former fishing fleet of Moynaq sits in a surreal setting in the middle of the desert. It is a bizarre, almost post-apocalyptic experience to view bactrian camels roam around the rusting ships.