Қандастар Ассамблея

The importance of Ulytau for Kazakh people

05.11.2014 4074
As is known, everyone associates in his consciousness abstract concepts of motherland. Such ancestors’ home for all Kazakhs is the Ulytau mountains.

As is known, everyone associates in his consciousness abstract concepts of motherland, the land of ancestors with a concrete notion of the centre about which the rest of the world circles and to which all elements of national culture, customs and traditions of his own people do back. Such ancestors home for all Kazakhs is the Ulytau mountains.

In translation from Kazakh the word ‘Ulytau’ means ‘the Great mountains’. But they owe their greatness to the significance and greatness of those historical processes that took place in this region and led to the unification of all Kazakh tribes rather than to their height and size.

The Ulytau  region can rightfully lay claim to any of the epithets so liberally endowed to it in recent years by scientists, journalists and with ever increasing attention investigate this “historical centre”, the true “cradle of the Kazakh people”, one of “the Kazakh people”, one of “the epicentres of nomadic culture and steppe civilization”.

The Ulytau area is a region of grey antiquity. Even a cursory enumeration of the memorials can strike one by their  antiquity and  diversity. Numerous Paleolithic and neolithic encampments in a literal sense strewn all over this region, hundreds of thousand tools of primitive people can be encountered around every spring and on every meadow as if adding to the proof that it was since antiquity indeed that these lands attracted our ancestors by their beauty anl fertility.

One is struck by the scale of one of the greatest in Kazakhstan workshops of the Paleolithic epoch situated near the Duzen mazar on the bank of Karakengir river. Zhetikonir, silent witnesses of the Stone age, were studied by archaeologists for many years. The memorials of the Bronze age - settlements, necropolises and majestic mausoleums of the bengazi-dandibay culture – are found all over the river valleys, Sugh royal  burials as Aybas-darasy, Uytas-Aydos, Akoba, Taldysay attract the eyes of numerous scientists and investigators of antiquity. It is already two and a half thousand years that the moundis in the vicinity of the Kurgasyn settement and the Karaoba mound near the Terisakkan river have served as guides for travellers.

Among the striking rarities of the Ulytau  region are the so called mounds  “ with moustaches”.  Their mystery has not yet been solved. They may well be taken for a sort of the grave structure or an ancient observatory or a kind of the ritual complex or the first, the second and the third taken together. The “moustaches” of such memorials are as a rule eastward-directed, but some memorials well preserved in this region strike one by the variety of their directions, forms and quantity.

Striking by their greatness and beauty are also the mounds of the Huns epoch rising above the flat places of this picturesque area. Here, in these places you can also come upon the traces of the culture of ancient Turks, oquzo – kipchaks. Well preserved in the Arganaty and Kishitau mountains as well as in the Tleugabyl and Korgantas areas are the Turkic funeral enclosures with stone sculptures.

The scope of mining and metallurgical activities of the ancient residents of the Ulytau region still surprises the scientific world. Numerous mines and careers, metallurgical furnaces and molds indicate that local tribes exported copper, tin and gold to Iran, India, Greece and other countries as far back as three thousand years ago. The supporting evidence for this statement can also be found in the works by Herodot, “the father of history”. Such metallurgical centres as Elukudyk dating as far bask as the Bronze epoch were in operation up to the Iate Middle ages.

One of the curiosities of the original culture of the Ulutay region is the entire galleries of cliff drawings reflecting the  world outlook of ancient artists. Scenes  of ordinary life, hunting, wonderful animal kingdom are engraved by the chisel of the first artists on the granite cliffs of Terekty-aulie, Zyngyrtas, Arhanaty along the banks of the Baykonyr, Tamdy, Zhangabyl, Zhetukyz rivers. In Middle ages this region whose territory was divided amond big tribal unions of kipchaks, kimaks, great oguzes was called  Dehst-I-Kipchak (in translation fromArabic –‘the land of kipchaks’). The Ulytau region was never in the possession of any one kin of tribe. These rich lands favourite  places of the khans of nomadic tribes, were regarded as a sacred and forbidded corner.

It is no mere chance that Shingizhan’s eldest son zhoshykhan established here his general headquarters. It is from this plact that the subjugator of   Eastern Europe khan Batyi began his campaign against it.  There  are not a few architectural memorials associated with shingizids’ home here. They are the mazars of Zhoshykhan,  Kutlur-Temir, Bolgan-ana, Kelintam. This steppe gave birth to the famous kyi ‘Aksak kylan’ (XIII c.) which according to the legend informed Shingizhan of his son’s death..

It was in the XIV century that the mazar was erected over the grave of Alasakhan, one of the founders of Turkic tribes who lived presumably in the VII-VIII centuries. One of the tops of the Ulutau mountains is the place where lie the remains of the great general, politician and orator, emir of Golden Horde Ediqe whose legendary name is mentioned in heroic legends and eposes of the people of Altai, the Urals.  The  Caucasus, the Crimea and Uzbekistan. To stay for ever in the Ulutau   mountains was the restless khan of the Golden Horde Tokhtam-ysh. Even nowadays it  is  rumoured  that at the end of his life the Egyptian ruler, kipchak by birth sultan Beybars returned to this steppe as a rank and file person. According to the expert in the Ulutau  history acalemician Alkey Margulan, the all-powerful tsar of Turan Afrasiab also spen last days of his life in this region.

Memories of his stay in the Ulutau mountains were left by allpowerful Tamerlan on the stone plate on the Altyn-shoky mountain. Fantastic granite cliffs of the Ulutau mountains remember khan  of Bukhara Abdallakh and Kokand warriors of  Khudoyarkhan. The spring waters of the Ulutau mountains were tasted bu many medieval European and Russian ambassadors making for Mongols’ general heaquarters in Karakorum. The name of the Ulutau  mountains is bound up with biographies of such historical persons as Ketbuga, Kerei, Kasym,Zhanibek, Tayke,  Barak,  Kucgum,  Ablai, Abulkhair, Akzhol bi, Kazbek bi and many others.

The Ulutau region is a geographical centre of  Kazakhstan. Any map can help you to see that it is located at even distances both from the north to the south and the east to the west of Kazakhstan. This appears to provide an explanation for the fact that this region was a strategically convenient base to raise the tro0ps and disperse them on the pastures with numerous springs around the Ulutau mountains.

A the time of  “all national disaster” (“aktaban shubyryndy”) the Ulutau region became famous for the fact that on its southeast outskirts the united forces of all Kazakh tribes dealt their first blow to zhungars. Since that time this region has been called Kalmakkyrgan which means ‘the place where zhungars were defeated’. And in the years of the tsarist colonial policy the great and indocile Ulutau region remained the centre of resistance and independence as can be evidenced by the armed revolts headed by Kenesary in the of the XIX century and by Amangeldy Imanov in 1916-1917.

The convenient  geograhical position of the Ulutau area can also be confirmed by the fact that one of the main Saryarka branches of the Great Silk Road from Central Asia to Siberia ran across the Ulutau region and was called the “sarysu” or “copper” way as evidenced  by the tens of caravanserals, fortified settlements , feudal palaces, sentrytowels situated along the caravan routes. The fortified settlements were centres of urban culture, handicraft and trade as revealed in the course of archaeological investigations of the sites of such ancient tovns as Basksmyr, Zhoshyhorde, Ayakkamyr, Horde-bazar. The scientists are of the opinion than this trade route had been in operation well before that of the Great Silk Road and persisted up to the 1930-s of this century which undoubtedly affected the development of culture in this region.

But the nature has itself endowed this region with countless riches outlined long before by Firdousi in his poem-epos “Shakhname”. Unique landscapes of the Ulutau area are depicted by the Arabic traveler of the VI century al-ld… in his itinenary  notes. Mention is made of the Ulutau mountains in the Kazakh tale “Er-Tostic”. As is known, the “philosopher of the steppe” Asan Kaygy visited many corners of Saryarka to find the best lands for his people and stopped his search here, in the  Ulutau mountains. Academician Kanysh Satpaev called the Ulutau steppe the pearl of Kazakhstan’ and true enough all elements of the Mendeleyev table were discovered in the interior of this region. In is particularly remarkable that the epochmacing event of the century - a manned fight into space – is also connectel with the Ulutau mountains, with the  Baykonyr  cosmodrome.

Though the Ulutau region with its relief and aspen and birch groves does remind one of the health resort places of Kokshetau, Bayanaul, Karakaraly it is primarily the historical centre of Kazakhstan, and it is no mere chance that during the World Kurultay of Kazakhs the participants of this forum wished first of all to visit this sacred national place of the Kazakh people. At the same time President of Kazakhstan N.A.Nazarbayev participated here in the establishment of the memorial sign in commemoration of the historical role of the Ulutau region in the making of the Kazakh statehood.

The Ulutau  area is really a geograhical phenomenon. Like a small island surrounded by steppe and desert it provides for travelers  the cool of its springs and the shade of its asps and birches. Not without reason the region is called ‘the land of lakes’. Every spring lakes Barakkol, Koskol, Ashikol, Kurkol attract the feathered from India, Africa, the coastal area of the Mediterranean Sea. West Asia. There are two migratory routes of the steppe antelopes here.

With a view to preserving unique historical and archaeological memorials and rare natural components in 1992 here was established a natural and historical museum-reservation. 

Today the region that absorbed a three thousand-years-old spirit of the nomads and their legends, the region sung by the poets and charming people up to these days is still wrapped in a shroud of mystery.

                                                                                                                 Bakhtiar Koznakhmetov