Ogurja Ada (Ogurjaly adasy) is the largest island in Turkmenistan, as well as the entire Caspian Sea. It is also known as Ogurchinskiy Island. This name was used during the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. It is believed that the island was given this name because of its cucumber (Russian “ogurets”) like shape.
The Turkmen name of the island comes from the name of the Turkmen Ogurjaly tribe, which settled on the Cheleken Peninsula opposite the island back in the 14th century. The name of the tribe Ogurjaly can be translated as “sea robbers”. For a long time they engaged in piracy, using the island as one of their bases.
Ogurja is an uninhabited sandy island located off the coast in the southeastern part of the Caspian Sea. It is separated from the mainland by a 17 km wide strait. The island is very long and narrow. It runs from north to south, has a length of 42 km and a maximum width of 1.5 km., Ogurja belongs administratively to the Balkan velayat (Balkan velayat) of Turkmenistan.
The surface of the island is low-lying, with low sand dunes, in places overgrown with grasses and shrubs. During storms, waves of the Caspian Sea often roll over the island, changing its coastline. From time to time, individual parts of it go under water or turn into chains of separate islands. There are practically no sources of fresh water.
Ogurja island is one of the habitats and breeding grounds of Caspian seals (Pusa caspica). You can also find a large number of seabirds there. During Soviet times, the island was turned into a nature reserve. Goitered gazelles, which are on the verge of extinction on the continent, were brought here.
There are currently no permanent settlements due to lack of fresh water. In the past, there was a leper colony on the island for people with leprosy. Fishermen also stop on the island. Once upon a time there was a settlement in the northern part of the island, which is now partially destroyed by the waves of the Caspian Sea.