7 sacred places of Zhambyl region

The list of 100 sacred places of Kazakhstan, presented by the center «Sacred Kazakhstan»  of the National Museum of Kazakhstan, includes 7 cultural and historical sites of Zhambyl region, the correspondent of  MIA «Kazinform».

We remind that within the framework of the project «Geography of  Holy places of Kazakhstan», designed for five years, working groups were created, which included well-known scientists-local historians. The research center «Sacred Kazakhstan»  has developed a special methodological tools. Define sacred places is divided into macro – and microsatellite. As for the Holy places, here the division took place according to such criteria as natural landscape objects, archaeological and architectural monuments, Holy religious pilgrimage sites, as well as places associated with historical figures and political events.

In Zhambyl region one of the objects included in the list of national sacred objects of Kazakhstan was the ancient settlement of Taraz (I-XIX centuries). It is a large medieval city center and once the capital of the Kazakh khanate. Now on the site of the settlement Taraz is an archaeological Museum in the open air, on the territory of the former Central market. The Museum is unique in that two thousand exhibits are artifacts found here, during archaeological excavations that began in 2011.

Among the archaeological and architectural monuments of the «sacred list» are the Turkic religious monuments of  Merke and Zhaysan, as well as the Palace complex Akyrtas. The Turkic cult-memorial complex in the valley of the Chu river (Shu) is a ritual fence with stone statues of nobles placed in the steppe, in places of prayer and rituals. Sacred lands were marked with sacred symbols — images of great ancestors carved in stone, tamgas, altars, rock paintings, inscriptions carved on the stone.

            The Akyrtas  Palace complex is one of the most mysterious structures ever erected on the «Great Silk road», striking with the grandeur of the engineering plan and the courage of its implementation. Many scientists who studied the ruins of Akyrtas, were lost in conjecture about the purpose of creating this giant structure. Archaeological research allows identifying Akyrtas with the medieval city of Kasribas, which was on the «Great Silk road». Some believe that it may have been a Christian-Nestorian temple. Others believe that Akirtas was built by order of the Arab commander Kuteiba Ibn Muslim in 714-715. There is a version that this Palace was built for Alexander the great as the last Outpost in the East of his vast Empire. Roman legions passed through the territory of the present Zhambyl region, and it is even known where the rate of Alexander the great was — the village of Chilik, the current Zhalpak-Tobe. In any case, a place unsuitable for housing was chosen for the construction of Akyrtas, contrary to common sense. At a distance of hundreds of meters — not a drop of water. Therefore, the ancient builders were forced to lay a 3-kilometer clay water supply from a water source in the mountains. According to one version, Akyrtas was destroyed by a strong earthquake that occurred even when it was not completed. This city ceased to exist, and did not begin to live.

Zhambyl region has several religious and cult objects, which are places of worship. This Tekturmas complex (XIV century), the mausoleum Karahan (Aulie-Ata XII century), the Aisha-Bibi (XI — XII centuries.), Babadzhi Khatun (X — XI centuries.)

Sacred place of worship mount Tekturmas, according to historians, was the basis of an ancient settlement, whose age is approximately dated back to the beginning of our era. On the right slope of the mountain there is an ancient necropolis, here found their final resting place to many famous historical figures — Saint Sultan Mahmud Khan, the great Kazakh Batyr Mambet, associate Abylay Khan, the scientist-theologian Fasihuddin Sabitov. Graves of followers of three different religions were found here, because Taraz was a city where different religions were professed, brought along the Great silk road — the graves of Zoroastrians, the first Nestorian Christians and ancient Muslim graves. The architectural complex is one of the most popular places of pilgrimage. According to tradition, the newlyweds come here to worship the ashes of the elders, to pray, to receive a blessing.

Mausoleum of Karakhan (XI century) located in the Central part of  Taraz. Mazar is an elegant example of medieval architecture in Kazakhstan. The building was built in the era of the Karakhanids in the XI century, presumably the same ruler who fell in love with the daughter of the famous scientist and poet of the XI century Hakim Suleiman Bakirgani Aisha-Bibi, who died tragically. Dying, Karahan bequeathed to bury himself in a place where the mausoleum of Aisha would be visible.

Aisha Bibi mausoleum is a kind of Museum-repository of medieval ornaments of Central Asian Turkic peoples. The building features a splendor of decorative registration of facades, continuous facing of terracotta plates of different forms and varied ornament. About the construction of the mausoleum there is no reliable information, only legends. According to the most common of them, the daughter of the famous scientist and poet of the XI century Hakim Suleyman Bakyrgani Aisha Bibi liked the ruler of Taraz Karakhan Muhammad (Aulie-Ata), who asked her hand, but her teacher, Sheikh Aykozhy, did not give consent. Fraudulently, leaving his home, Aisha-Bibi went to Taraz and tragically died on the banks of the river Asa from the bite of a snake, hiding in his headdress. Grieving Karakhan erected a tomb of fabulous beauty on the site of the death of the girl. A fellow traveler of Aisha-Bibi and Babadzhi-Khatun became the custodian of the mausoleum, keeping the flame at the tomb of his beloved pupils. After the death of nanny Aisha was buried 20 steps from the mausoleum of his pupil in the mausoleum built specifically for her. Babazhi Khatun mausoleum is an interesting architectural monument and is famous for its original 16-ribbed umbrella dome of double curvature. In Central Asian architecture, there are no direct analogues of such a design. According to the epigraphic frieze on the portal of the mausoleum, a woman who, according to legend, accompanied Aisha Bibi during a tragic trip is buried here. Both mausoleums are considered Holy places in the Muslim world.

Among the sacred places associated with historical and political events in the Zhambyl region, the place of the Anrakai battle is determined. It is supposed legendary battle of 1729 in a series of the Kazakh-Dzhungarian wars which events are not recorded in documents as at Kazakhs then there was no written tradition of information transfer. For the first time the folk legend about this battle was recorded in 1905 by the researcher and collector of Kazakh folklore Alexander Divaev. Kazakh militia in 25 — 30 thousand. horsemen, reinforcing their horses in the Sands of Moyinkum and river valleys, went to the area of the mountains of Khantau 120 km South of lake Balkhash, where it was stopped by the border Dzhungarian detachment. Within forty days the battle of the Kazakh militia of three zhuzes and frontier Dzhungarian group lasted. In the area of Anrakai (kaz. — crying, moaning) there was the last major battle between the Kazakhs and Dzungars. In this battle involved all the well-known batyrs of the Kazakh land, biys, sultans and founders — representatives of all three zhuzes.