Karakalpakia exhibits an arcuate settlement pattern that corresponds to the fanlike combination of the main channel, distributaries, and irrigation canals of the Amu Darya Delta. In 1983 the republic had twenty-five settlements large enough to be included in the Atlas SSSR (Atlas of the USSR): nine towns, thirteen urban settlements, and three large nonurban settlements. Settlements that did not conform to the drainage pattern were along the Kungrad-Makat (Trans-Aral) Railway, along the old shoreline of the Aral Sea, or on isolated oases. Villages ( kishlaks ) of fifty or more houses are typically part of a system of more than 100 state and collective farms. Although modernized during Soviet rule with (broad streets, new houses, schools, stores, electricity, and natural gas), the villages are still characterized by small, enclosed, clay-walled cottages with dirt floors. These villages are nestled in the shade of Lombardy poplars along irrigation ditches lined with mulberry trees. In the rare cities and towns, the adobe construction of the native Turko-Muslims contrasts with the wood and prefab construction of the nonnatives (Russians, Crimean Tatars, Ukrainians, Koreans, and others).
Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: