Turkmenistan caves formation process started ninety million years ago when modern deserts territory of Central Asia was soaked by plantiful rains and big ocean splashed near young mountains, the water begins to dissolve rocks and to search shelter in new caves. After that the caves had been drived by clay and kept for a long time from Neogene till Middle Quaternary. The mountains had risen together with the caves full of clay, then the clay was washed away and the karst system was born once one.
First mention about caves we find in “Diodorus Siculus Library” about 2000 years ago. The discovery of smugglers mumy with goods in cave tolds that caves had been used by smugglers as a shelter in XVIII-XIX centuries. The name of the main caves of the ridge Cupp-Coutan can been translated from Turkmen as sheep-fold that witnesses about caves’ utilization in human history. New discovery of caves was made by the Ashkhabad’s geologist Yalkapov in 1956. Yalkapov found several of caves and made first maps of caves.
However the fame of the caves was connected with the beginning of industrial extraction of marble onyx and following public activity for caves protection. The fame of caves in scientistic circles was due to the works of Maltsev, who periodically published scientific and popular articles about researches and protection of caves. The best maps of caves and a list of caves minerals were also made by Maltsev. During last years there was a hope to organize in the cave something to show the tourists. But it’s impossible because this ridge isn’t often visited by tourists.
That’s why this project willn’t been worthwhile. Now most of the Russian cavers consider that Koytendag Caves are the most beatiful and interesting. American reader will have better understanding of speleothems types Kougitang Caves by analogy to Lechuguilla Cave in American Carlsbad Caverns Park. There are many different legends about Kougitangtow caves.
An absolute wonder of these beautiful sports is the so-called Karlyuk caves. A Cafe – hall of small and low grottos with stalactites and stalagmites, columns in the shape of big candles, minarets, webs and needles is a real fantastic view. Another attraction is the Gulshirin cave.
The cave entrance is very narrow, only 0,5 m high. A really wonderful hall “Fairy Tale” with its gypsum curtain and stucco moulding of ceiling, decorated with aragonite “roses” and other “flowers” of unbelievable beauty impress. Every cave has its own collection of mineral unusual forms and it’s very difficult to describe them. Its worth to visit them. In the region the carst forming process is developing, and as the result there is a lot of various caves, mines, and traveling paths.
The first one is the Kap – Kutan cave. The amazing first hall of the cave is known as the Farther Christmas and Snow Maiden. These two huge sized fairy figures are among unusual in shape stalactites of calcite and gypsum. The cave entrance i s very narrow, only 0,5 m high. And at last a really wonderful hall ‘Fairy Tale’. The walls of this wonder are of gypsum curtain, there is stucco molding of ceiling aragonite ‘roses’ and other ‘flowers’ of unbelievable beauty.
In Koytendag every cave has a real mineral variety of unusual forms. It’s difficult to express our impression of wonderful things of such nature.