Cities and objects of GSR


Otyrar oasis
The main sources of water of the oasis are Arys and Syrdarya. The channel which belongs to it, supplied water to cities and villages and irrigated fields. Only the abundance of water here was able to develop an agricultural crop.
The location of Otyrar oasis left an imprint on the lives of its inhabitants. Bernshtam truly noted, that Otyrar, being at the confluence of Arys into the Syrdarya and near of Buguni, occupies an advantageous position and have water to irrigate the fertile land. At lod times, along the Syrdaria the long road was going to Shash, Ferghana, and Sogdiana.
The length of the oasis from North to South is about 53 kilometers and from West to East is about 54 kilometers on the territory of the oasis, there are over 130 monuments.
Otyrar is widely known as the capital of the province, the birthplace of the great medieval philosopher Abu Nasr al-Farabi. The appearance of settlement on the former location of Otyrar refers to the first centuries of our era. First name Otyrar and Farab appear in written sources in the IX century of our century. The period of X-XII centuries was the time of prosperity of urban life, which was broken by the Mongol invasion. In 1219 Otyrar fell under the onslaught of the army of Chinghis  (Genghis) Khan. However Otyrar rose from the ruins and by the middle of XIII century has become a major trading hub on the way from West to East. In 1405 in one of the palaces of Otyrar dies Tamerlan. The life of Otyrar continues until the XVIII century. The appearance of the settlement as a whole is characteristic for most of the medieval monuments of Kazakhstan and Central Asia.
The scientific issue on the topic is very broad. The first excavations were carried out in 1904 by Otyrar members of the Turkestan Circle of Amateur Archeology named after A.K.Clare and A.A. Cherkasov. They collected the material. Further studies were continued until the late 40s of the XX century under the guidance of Professor A.N. Bernshtam. In 1969 the Otyrar archaeological expedition (in 1971 renamed as South-Kazakhstan Comprehensive Archaeological Expedition KazSSR) administered by the K.A.Akishev was organized and since 1991 by K.M.Baypakov. In 2001, an international project under the auspices of UNESCO-Kazakhstan-Japan Trust Fund “Preservation and conservation of ancient Otyrar” was launched. The main objectives of the project is to create the documentation database and conservation activities.
In 2004-2007, under the public programs of cultural heritage and revival of ancient Otyrar the extensive work on research, conservation and museification series of monuments (Friday Mosque in the XIV., A city block in the XVI., Residential buildings XI-XII century walls, the central gate and Gates "Darwaza-i-Sufi”, stratigraphic pits, baths XIV century) were conducted. The comprehensive studies of the monuments of the oasis were also conducted (the settlement Kok-Mardan, Kuyruktobe, Zhalpaktobe, Vesidzha, necropolis Taltakay and kennel). sing the latest computer advances studied ancient irrigation oasis.
The Otyrar oasis is the pearl of Archeology of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Continued archaeological research, conservation activities, development of tourism infrastructure - an important component of the integration of the monuments of the oasis in the list of World Cultural Heritage.

The Mausoleum of Khoja Akhmet Yassawi, XIV century, Turkestan
This amazing erection was built in honour of a famous famous Turkic poet and Sufi mystic, Khoja Ahmed Yasawi. The word “Yassawi” originates from “Yassy”, which is the ancient name of Turkestan. The whole city is a historical and cultural reservation of Khazret Sultan. Except the Mausoleum of Khoja Akhmet Yassawi, there are medieval bath houses and khilvet, where the great Saint was living, the mausoleum of great-granddaughter of Timur Rabiya – Sultan Begim and other monuments.

Khoja Alhmet Yassawi is a founder of Sufism, thinker, poet and a preacher, an early mystic who exerted a powerful influence on the development of mystical orders throughout the Turkic-speaking world. His father Shaikh Ibrahim had already been renowned in that region for performing countless feats and many legends were told of him. Consequently, it was recognized that, with respect to his lineage as well, this quiet and unassuming young boy, who always listened to his elder sister, held a spiritually important position. Yassawi was born to Sheykh Ibrahim. At age seven, when he was orphaned by the loss of his father, Yassawi was raised by another spiritual father, Arslan Baba. By age seven, Ahmad Yasawi had already advanced through a series of high spiritual stages and then, under the direction of Arslan Baba, the young Ahmad reached a high level of maturity and slowly began to win fame from every quarter.

The formation of Akhmet Yassawi as an individual was in the city of Yassy, where he arrived at the age of 17 after the death of his teacher. At this age the young man started to write poems in Arabic, Shagatai, Pharsi and Turk languages. He was interested in the Eastern poetry and literature. Later on he visited Bukhara, where he was teached by Yusuf Hamf\dani. After he gets the status of the expert of Sufism, he returns to the city of Yassy and continues the tradition left by Arystan-Bab. He founded the Order of “Yassawi". Khoja Akhmet Yassawi calls people to asceticism, renunciation of external life and patience, because this is what guarantees the felicity in the afterlife. He calls people upon the justice, truth and kindness. Owing to him, the Turk language was brought in the literary use. The people’s preachers named “baba” spread the teaching of Yassawi in Turkestan, Azerbayjan, Small Asia, in regions of Volga, Khorasan etc. Yassawi has defined the development of people’s impetus of the new islamic civilization of Turk people. He united the new religious ideology with mass perception, which was mainly based on tengrian-shaman and zoroastrianism belief. The Yassawi movement played an important role in this process. This movement which has invoked the echo in the hearts of Turkic people, stimulated the justice, spiritual and moral purification. If before the teaching of Yassawi Turkic people were worshiping Tengri, he called them to worship one God, Allah. With the help of Sufism, Turkic people become acquainted with the eastern philosophy, the philosophy of world religion. The son of Arystan-Bab named Mansur has become a follower of him. He received the big number of admirer and pilgrims. When he reached the age of 63, he lived until the end of his life in the dungeon. Yassawi explained: "I have reached the age of the prophet, sixty-three years, for me this is enough, no need to live beyond the time allotted to prophet. There are various data on life expectancy of Ahmet Yassawi. According to one data, he lived 73 years, according to other - up to 85 years. J. Aymautov, relying on the text 149 Hikmetos of Yassawi, believes that he lived 125 years. (Then the date of his birth is 1041).

By preaching the ideas of Sufism, Ahmet Yassawi strictly followed them by himself and has lived in poverty. The moral authority of Ahmet Yassaui was high among the population of Syrdarian steppes, and far beyond. After the death of Ahmet Yassawi, around his name were created legends, the tomb became a place of pilgrimage. History of construction of the mausoleum Folk legends tell us about the great respect of the Amir Timur to the sanctuaries of Turkestan. On his orders, more than two centuries after the death of Ahmet Yassawi in place of a small gravestones, one of the great monuments of world architecture was built, which entered the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The official history of Timur "The Book of Victories" ( "Zafar-name") narrates about the construction of the building of year of 1397, when Timur solemnly committed ziarat (worship) at the tomb of Ahmed Yassaui. According to “The Book of Victories”, it was during his stay in the town of Yasi, when Timur gave order to build here, on the outskirts of his possessions, the grand structure devoted to decent memory of Ahmet Yassawi. It had to glorify Islam and promote its further dissemination, to facilitate the board extensive margin.

Thus, in XIV century by instructions of Emir Timur the architectural monument was built. There is a local legend concerning this occasion. When they began to build the walls of the mausoleum, a strong storm destroyed them. After the second construction the history has repeated itself. Then Timur saw an old man who gave him an advice to build the first mazar for Arystan-Bab as teacher and mentor of Ahmet. Amir Timur did what he said. Then began what was intended. The significance of Arystan-Bab can be seen from the tradition when the pilgrims were required to spend the night in Otrar near the Arystan-Bab, where there were special houses, tea houses are located, and only then, they could come to Ahmet Yassawi.

Timur identified the main dimensions of the building by himself. In particular, the large diameter of the dome was supposed to be equal to 30 gyaz (the unit of measure of length which is equal to 60.6 cm). This module (gyaz) was determined by the size of all other parts of the structure. In the special literacy (Waqf-name) listed ditches and land alienated in favor of the monument. Income from these holdings and donations of believers had to be used for building repairs and maintenance of state servants. Well-preserved inscription above the entrance to the building says: "This sacred place was built by command of the ruler, beloved by Allah, Amir Timur guragana ... – May Allah prolong his command for centuries!"

Architecture of the mausoleum, the unfinished state of the Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, especially at the entrance portal and sections of the interior, allow for the better architectural scrutiny of how the monument was designed and constructed. The structure is rectangular in plan, measuring 45.8 x 62.7 m (150.3 x 205.7 ft), and is 38.7 m (127.0 ft) high. It is oriented from the south-east to the north-west. The primary material used for the building is ganch—fired brick mixed with mortar, gypsum and clay—which was made in a plant located in Sauran. Layers of clay reaching a depth of 1.5 m (4.9 ft), to prevent the water penetration, were used for the original foundation. These were replaced with reinforced concrete in modern restoration works. The main entrance to the mausoleum is from the south-east, through which visitors are ushered into the 18.2 x 18.2-m (59.7 x 59.7-ft) Main Hall, known as Kazandyk (the “copper room”). The section is covered by the largest existing brick dome in Central Asia, also measuring 18.2 m (59.7 ft) in diameter. At the center of the Kazandyk is a bronze cauldron, used for religious purposes. The tomb of Yasawi is situated on the central axis at the end of the building in the northwest, with the sarcophagus located exactly at the center of the section, which has a double dome ribbed roof —the inner dome being 17.0 m (55.8 ft) high and the outer dome being 28.0 m (91.9 ft) high. The dome exterior is covered with hexagonal green glazed tiles with gold patterns. The interior is adorned with alabaster stalactites, known as muqarnas. Additional rooms in the structure, totaling more than 35, include meeting rooms, a refectory, a library, and a mosque, which had light blue geometric and floral ornaments on its walls. The mausoleum’s exterior walls are covered in glazed tiles constituting geometric patterns with Kufic and Suls epigraphic ornaments derived from the Qur'an. Initial plans also called for the addition of two minarets, but this was not realized when construction was halted in 1405.

The Sauran Fortress Ruins
For many years now the Sauran is a place where adventurers and fans of antiquity flock to. It is believed that the city had been settled by Arabs sometime around the VIII century in a place located three kilometers away from the ruins that are here now. Later, for some reason, the old city had been neglected, and they started building a new city there. This took place in between the XII-XIII centuries. It is amazing, but the Sauran, possessing the most powerful fortifications, could not resist the army of Chingiz-Khan, preferring, instead, to enter into a peace agreement with Mongols and stand under their protection. Later (in XIV century) the Sauran became the capital of Ak-Orda (or White Horde) one of the states built on the ruins of the Mongolian Empire. That time was an epoch of the original blossom for the city. Underground water ducts – kiariz – are considered one of the most interesting objects in the ancient settlement of Sauran, as that system is found here on a dramatic scale: stretching more than 110 kilometers – they were used to bring water to Sauran from the far away Karatau Mountains.

Karakhan Mausoleum (Auliye-Ata)
It is situated in the central part of the city of Taraz at the intersection of Tole bi Street and Baizak Batyr Street. The mausoleum is a part of religious memorial complex, formed on the territory of medieval Taraz.As early as in 1902 Karakhan Mausoleum delighted Russian experts in architecture as a genius creation of ancient Taraz. Archeological diggings found out 30 different designs of shaped bricks made with great skill. The mausoleum was built in the 11th century era of Karakhanids. Folk legends inseparably associate the construction of the mausoleum and the person buried here with mausoleums of Aisha bibi and Babadzhi Khatun. Historians associate the buried person with one of the khans of Karakhanid dynasty, who ruled in our region in the 10th -12th centuries. Islam canonized him and as the result the mausoleum was given the second name Auliye-Ata.


Babadzha Khatun Mausoleum
It is located in Zhambul district near Aisha-bibi mausoleum, is also a unique architectural monument of the 11th -12th centuries. It is famous for its original 16- ribbed umbrella-type dome of dual curvature. In fact, the ribbed umbrella-type dome does not have any direct analogues in modern architecture of Central Asia. The epigraphic frieze on the portal of the mausoleum brought us the name of a woman buried there. According to the legend the was Aisha’s nurse-maid and was accompanying her on the tragic trip. After Aisha’s death she kept fire on the grave of her favorite foster child. Both mausoleums are not just architectural objects, but also a place of pilgrimage as they are considered to be sacred in the Muslim world.

Aisha Bibi Mausoleum
According to the most popular version, Aisha-Bibi was the daughter of the well-known 11th century scholar and poet Khakim-Ata Suleiman Bakyrgani. After her father's death, Aisha was brought up by Sheikh Aikhodzha (Zangi-Ata). When the governor of Taraz Karakhan Mukhammed (for whom Karakhan Mausoleum in Taraz was built) asked for the young beauty's hand, her stepfather rejected the suitor, because Karakhan was not a descendant of the prophet (sayyid), as Aisha was. She then outwitted her hard-hearted stepfather by pretending to lead an army for jihad against the idolaters (Kara-Khitans). Secretly however, she rode towards Taraz. Unfortunately, Karakhan never met his young bride; she died of snakebite at Assa River. Mourning the death of the girl, Karakhan erected the mausoleum of fairytale beauty at this place. A friend and fellow traveler of Aisha named Babadzhi-Khatun became the custodian of the grave. When she died, she was buried within 20 steps from Aisha, and a mausoleum was erected over her grave as well. All legends follow the same general plot: A girl disobeys her parents out of love for her a noble in Taraz and dies by entering a body of water near the city.[4] The legend emphasizes the belief in Central Asia of obedience to elders as the highest value. The site has been venerated since the Middle Ages. Local women from the Taraz Oasis still pray for children and a happy family. It is customary for newlyweds in Taraz to have their union blessed by the dead lovers. Their ritual reenacts the myth. After the ceremony the wedding party retraces Karakhan's journey from Taraz to the site of his fiancée's death. The journey begins at Karakhan Mausoleum in Taraz and ends at the Aisha Bibi, at each location the bride and groom venerate the dead lovers and ask for their blessing.Russian archeologist V. V. Bartold was the first scientist to record the and study the ruins in 1893.[5] The Soviet Union built a protective glass shell to preserve the monument (c 1960) and used it for the education of students in Taraz and tourism. In 2002, the Republic of Kazakhstan paid Nishan Rameto to restore the Aisha Bibi and built the park infrastructure around it.[3] It is a national monument and is listed by UNESCO.

Akyrtas Palace Complex, 8th-9h centuries.
At present the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography under the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Kazakhstan is carrying out archeological diggings in the area of the complex. In future it is planned to establish a museum complex in the framework of the National program "Cultural Heritage". The latest data of archeological research let us identify Akyrtas as a medieval town Kasribas on the Great Silk Road.. Most specialists believe that Akyrtas was built by order of the Arabic general Kuteiba. The tourists are impressed by the grandiosity of the architectural monument and the size of the block stones used for its construction. The foundation of the Palace Complex is four meters deep. Numerous legends try to explain the purpose of the construction and the reasons for why it was not finished. By its size the complex can be compared with ancient Egyptian pyramids. Apparently, frequent raids and internal wars left Akyrtas unfinished and put anend to the former might of the City of Taraz.

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