Kowa Ata Underground Lake


Visit Guide to Kowa Ata Underground Lake

Kov-Ata is a natural underground lake located on the northern slope of Kopetdag mountain range in the Bakherden etrap of the Akhal velayat. The Turkmen word “Kov-Ata” translates as “father of caves”. It is one of the most popular tourist sites in the country, attracting both, locals and foreigners for leisure and recreation purposes. The cave, without exaggeration, is a unique natural site of Turkmenistan, and can rightfully be called one of the wonders of the world.

Getting There

Kov-Ata is located just 90 km west of Ashgabat. The value of the lake as a tourist attraction lies in the fact that it is easy to get to this place. Following the M37 Ashgabat-Turkmenbashi highway, turn left before the Garagan village.

Distance from Ashgabat can be covered by taxi, or by the Ashgabat-Turkmenbashi intercity bus. A seven-kilometer strip of asphalt smoothly bends around the hills at the foot of the Kopetdag ridge.

The road will lead directly to the Kopetdag mountain, in the depths of which the famous Underground Lake is nestled.

What to Expect

As a result of research, it was found that the length of the cave is 230 meters, the depth from the main entrance is 65 meters, the width is 50, and the height is 15 meters. Most of the cave territory is occupied by a lake with a length of 72 meters, width – 30, and area – 1000 m².

The water temperature is from +33 to +38 C all year round. Bacherden Cave is one of the most ancient caves in terms of geological age. The warm waters contain a high amount of different salts and minerals, most notably sulfur, which is responsible for the distinct smell within the cave. 

It has been proven that bathing in this water improves blood circulation, helps with ailments such as rheumatism, skin and kidney diseases, as well as calms the nervous system and has a positive effect on the entire body. In this case, the recommended stay in water should not exceed 20 minutes. A long, illuminated staircase of 350 steps leads to the lake.


According to archaeological data, the cave has been known to people for over 2000 years. The underground lake arose due to the features of the rocks from the disappeared seabed. From the bowels of the earth along cracks saturated with hydrogen sulfide, rocks turn into gypsum and dissolve. For thousands of years, Lake Kov-Ata has reached incredible proportions.

The first scientific data on the cave and the underground lake appeared in 1856, but it gained wide popularity after the publication in the local press in 1896 of an article reporting that due to the care of the Bacherden railway station staff a wooden staircase was installed for the convenient descent into the cave. Since then, the cave and lake have become popular places to visit.

Facilities Available

There are a few nice cafes near the cave offering good local food, a small grocery shop, a ticket office, public toilets and changing rooms. Information board located here provides the backstory of the cave in Russian and English.

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