Нөкис / Nókis (Karakalpak)
Нукус / Nukus (Uzbek)
Nukus Art Museum.jpg
Город нукус.jpg
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Hotel Rahnamo 01.JPG
Город Нукус.jpg
Official seal of Nukus
Nukus is located in Uzbekistan
Location in Uzbekistan
Coordinates: 42°28′N 59°36′E / 42.467°N 59.600°E / 42.467; 59.600Coordinates: 42°28′N 59°36′E / 42.467°N 59.600°E / 42.467; 59.600
Country Uzbekistan
Autonomous RepublicKarakalpakstan
 • TypeCity Administration
 • Total222 km2 (86 sq mi)
76 m (249 ft)
 • Total332,500
 • Density1,500/km2 (3,900/sq mi)
Postal code
Area code(+998) 61

Nukus (Karakalpak: Nókis / Нөкис; Uzbek: Nukus / Нукус; Kazakh: Нүкіс / Nükıs) is the sixth-largest city in Uzbekistan and the capital of the autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan. The population of Nukus as of January 1, 2022 was 329,100.[1] The Amu Darya river passes west of the town. Administratively, Nukus is a district-level city, that includes the urban-type settlement Karatau.[2]

The city is best known for its world-class Nukus Museum of Art.


The name Nukus comes from the old tribal name of the Karakalpaks, Nukus.[3] Nukus developed from a small settlement in 1932 into a large, modern Soviet city with broad avenues and big public buildings by the 1950s.

The city's isolation made it host to the Red Army's Chemical Research Institute, a major research and testing center for chemical weapons. In 2002 the United States Department of Defense dismantled the Chemical Research Institute, the major research and testing site for the Novichok agent, under a $6 million Cooperative Threat Reduction program.[4][5]

Turtkul city became the administrative center of the autonomous region of Karakalpakstan when the Soviet authorities came to power. However in the 20s, Amu Darya, which was 12 km from the River Bank, was threatened with the flush of Turtkul, which caused the core of Karakalpakstan to move towards Nukus.[clarification needed] In 1932 the city was officially founded. It is the center of Karakalpakstan's economy, government, politics and culture.[6]


A panoramic view of Nukus

Nukus is host to the Nukus Museum of Art (also known as the State Art Museum of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, named after Igor Savitsky) and State Museum. The State Museum houses the usual collection of artifacts recovered from archaeological investigations, traditional jewelry, costumes and musical instruments, displays of the area's now vanished or endangered flora and fauna, and on the Aral Sea issue. The Art Museum is noted for its collection of modern Russian and Uzbek art from 1918 to 1935. Stalin tried his best to eliminate all non Soviet art from this period, and sent most of the artists to the gulag.[citation needed] Both Savitsky himself and the collection at Nukus survived because the city's remoteness limited the influence and reach of Soviet authorities. The documentary film The Desert of Forbidden Art is all about the collection and its history.[7]

Nukus is also home to the Amet and Ayimkhan Shamuratovs house museum, a hub for Karakalpak music and oral culture. The museum's collection represents personal belongings of the Shamuratovs including stage clothes, photographs, manuscripts, books, letters.[8]


Nukus experiences a cold desert climate (Köppen BWk) with summers that are long, dry and very hot, and winters that are short, though quite cold and snowy, having a very dry type of a continental climate. Due to the Aral Sea and Amu Darya drying up, the climate has become much hotter and drier since 1960, and health conditions resulting from salt and other chemicals in the air have become more common. [9]

Climate data for Nukus (1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 0.7
Average low °C (°F) −7.5
Average precipitation mm (inches) 10.8
Average precipitation days 11 10 9 8 8 5 4 2 3 5 8 10 83
Source: Centre of Hydrometeorological Service of Uzbekistan[10]


In 2019, the Nukus free economic zone (FEZ) was established to "attract direct foreign and domestic investments for the production of import-substituting products that are in demand on foreign markets". This FEZ will be in place for 30 years.[11]


Nukus is the capital of the autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan region of Uzbekistan. There has been concern raised over a lack of due process in legal trials in the city.[12] In July 2022, thousands of people protested in the city over a proposed constitutional amendment that would make Karakalpakstan no longer autonomous.[13]

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ a b "Hududlar bo'yicha shahar va qishloq aholisi soni" [Urban and rural population by district] (PDF) (in Uzbek). Karakalpakstan Republic department of statistics.
  2. ^ "Classification system of territorial units of the Republic of Uzbekistan" (in Uzbek and Russian). The State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan on statistics. July 2020.
  3. ^ Словарь современных географических названий. — Екатеринбург: У-Фактория. Под общей редакцией акад. В. М. Котлякова. 2006.
  4. ^ Miller, Judith (25 May 1999). "U.S. and Uzbeks Agree on Chemical Arms Plant Cleanup". New York Times. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  5. ^ John S. Wolf (19 March 2003). "Hearing, First Session". Committee on Foreign Relations. United States Senate. Retrieved 13 March 2018. Hon. John S. Wolf, Assistant Secretary of State for Nonproliferation: ... DOD completed a project to dismantle the former Soviet CW research facility at Nukus, Uzbekistan in FY 2002
  6. ^ "Nukus". Retrieved February 21, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ Tom Bissell, Chasing the Sea, Pantheon (2003). ISBN 0-375-42130-0. p. 323–324.
  8. ^ "Nukus travel guide". Caravanistan. Retrieved 2019-12-02.
  9. ^ Trilling, David (10 November 2022). "Uzbekistan: Where the Amu Darya goes to die". Eurasianet. Retrieved 14 November 2022.
  10. ^ "Average monthly data about air temperature and precipitation in 13 regional centers of the Republic of Uzbekistan over period from 1981 to 2010". Centre of Hydrometeorological Service of the Republic of Uzbekistan (Uzhydromet). Archived from the original on 15 December 2019. Retrieved 15 December 2019.
  11. ^ "“Nukus” free economic zone established", September 5, 2019.
  12. ^ "Uzbekistan: Trials in Nukus are held with gross violations". ACCA. 30 September 2022. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  13. ^ Ayubova, Parvina (24 October 2022). "How the Aral Sea disaster created unrest in contemporary Uzbekistan". gal-dem. Retrieved 26 October 2022.

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