Uluru or Ayers Rock. Australia
You see one of the greatest wonders of the world, one of the main natural attractions of Australia, a giant rock massif called Uluru, which is also known as Ayers Rock. More precisely, this orange-brown sandstone rock is located in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, in central Australia, the most southern administrative district of the Northern Territory, 450 km south-west of Alice Springs and 25 km from the nearest town Yulara. The iron oxide contained in the composition of Uluru, gives it an orange tint. However, it can change its color during the day – at dawn, silhouette of the rock becomes lighter, getting a dark purple hue; when the sun rises, Uluru flares with purple-red colors, and then illuminates by pink shade, and by noon it becomes golden; the rock also gains lilac-blue tone during the rain.
The famous Australian landmark, situated among a perfectly flat surface of the surrounding desert, was formed in the Archean era. This is an immense monolith with length of 3.6 km, width – about 3 km, height – 348 meters. Although there are different points of view, what actually Uluru is. Scientists claim that this is just the tip of the stone iceberg and most of the rock is hidden underground. Ostensibly, Uluru is connected with Kata Tjuta or Mount Olga (known also as The Olgas), which was named after the daughter Russian Emperor Nicholas I – Grand Duchess Olga. You can also find information that it is the largest stone in the world. But the fact that this is a prominent landmark is not controversial.
For the Australian aborigines this rock is still a holy place. The photos of Uluru are mostly of the same type as the Anangu tribe prohibits to take pictures of some places where the initiation rituals are conducted. Exactly Australian Aborigines are the official owners of these places. The fact is that in 1985, the Australian Government has transferred the Uluru to the local Anangu tribe for rent for 99 years. Archaeologists have determined that Aboriginal people lived in this area for 10 thousand years ago. Anangu still believe that Uluru is endowed with spiritual powers and should be treated with respect thereto. Therefore, tourists are also not allowed to climb up, but even without this, the ascent is extremely dangerous – 35 people died while trying to conquer the rock. However, the natives do not impede the flow of tourists. This is a good opportunity to earn money for the Anangu tribe and they use it well. The entrance ticket, which is valid for three days, cost 25 Australian dollars. 20% of the cost of each ticket goes to the tribe. For hundreds of years, the rock was a refuge for ancient settlers thanks to the underground spring and the caves that more closely resemble stone sheds. There are some examples of ancient rock paintings preserved on the walls that can still be seen.
The name of the Uluru can’t be translated from the language of the local tribe. From 1873 to 1993, the official English name of this rock was Ayers Rock. But then, the Australian Government has decided to accept double names for natural sites of Australia in the cases when there are several names – formal English and local. Thus, the rock was called Ayers Rock / Uluru. In 2002, upon the request of the aborigines, the rock was officially renamed Uluru / Ayers Rock.
Since 1977, Uluru is a part of the Biosphere Reserve of national and global significance. It is also listed as a World Heritage Site.