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Akyrtas Fortress.

Tours to Akyrtas fortress in Zhambyl region.

“Until now, this type of construction, both in terms of its grandeur and the originality of the plan, as well as the use of large stone blocks in Central Asia and Kazakhstan for construction, has not yet been discovered”

G. Patsevich. "Bulletin of the Academy of Sciences."

Sacred trips to Akyrtas Palace.

Over the course of a number of years, the Institute of Archeology of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Kazakhstan has been conducting archeological and architectural research at the unique settlement of Akyrtas.
Recall in a few words about the castle itself. Akyrtas ancient settlement is located 50 kilometers east of the city of Taraz, next to the modern Ak-Chulak station. The settlement is identified with the medieval city of Kasribas. Within the city was a number of structures, each of which was a unique architectural ensemble.
Within the framework of the scientific program “Cultural Heritage”, archaeological and architectural study of one of the monuments of Casribas, a medieval fortress, has been ongoing for several seasons. Research is carried out by the South Kazakhstan integrated archaeological expedition.
Akyrtas Fortress is located one kilometer southwest of the palace, next to the ruler’s castle. It represents in plan almost a square with side dimensions: 39 x 40.5 m. The monument is located with a slight shift to the countries of the world, which we conventionally “lower” to simplify perception.
The architectural and archaeological study of the structure differs from purely archaeological research and, first of all, sets the following tasks: determining the architectural layout of the complex, its general compositional solution, identifying the role of this monument in the general ensemble of the city; it is important to understand what purpose the author of this building pursued, having the monument in this place; definition of building materials used, building structures used, etc.
It was these tasks that we solved by exploring Akyrtas fortress. The fortress dates from approximately the second half of the VII - the first half of the VIII century. Apart from the individual sections, the fortification is perimeter, that is, inside the structure, along the perimeter of the fortress walls, the living quarters in which the warriors and their families lived were “cut”. In the center of the complex, everything that was necessary for the normal life of the inhabitants of the fortress was located.
Over the course of several seasons, gradually, inside the monument, curved, winding partition walls were opened. We called them: "mustache partitions." At the end of the 2008 season, it was unequivocally revealed that the "mustache-partitions" belong to the later construction horizon, and they do not belong to this stage of the life of the fortress.
Currently, excavations at the monument are carried out in four directions. The first direction. Work continues on the corner tower of the fortress. We assumed that the structure has five towers, of which four are corner towers, and one is an intermediate one, located near the southern fortress wall, near the southeast corner.
The tower is the nodal moment of the fortification, because, in general, the life expectancy of the entire ensemble depends on how reliable and durable the latter were laid out. To date, the southwestern fortress tower has been opened. Its form is completely unusual and has not been encountered previously at any Central Asian facility.
In a nutshell, the configuration of the tower and the adjacent territory can be described as follows: To the southwestern corner of the fortress, at a distance of one meter from each other, there are two powerful “process horns”, slightly tapering to the ends.
On the western side of one "horn-process", at a distance of a meter with a small, as if flowing around an angular tower, there is an auxiliary fortress wall, going from the western fortress wall, immediately after the auxiliary exit to the fortress structure.
An emergency exit from the fortress was arranged in the western fortress wall, inside the corner room. Last season, two partition walls were opened, going from the auxiliary fortress wall - to the west. Partition walls, as well as an auxiliary fortress wall, are laid out with adobe.
The width of the partitions is 1 m, the height at the moment is 40 cm, the distance between them is about 3 m. We assume that the partitions are structural ribs. In our opinion, the ribs lead to the “edge” of the bypass moat around the entire fortress in order to strengthen the structure of the entire structure and protect the “edge” of the moat from erosion.
It was assumed that after the second rib, at the same distance, the next structural rib would open. However, in real life, close to the second structural rib a platform was opened, which in the form of a ramp, at an angle of about 30 ° leads to the western fortress wall.
At the moment, the opened length of the structural ribs and the width of the platform range from 1 to 1.5 meters. Step terraces are located close to the other “horn” of the corner tower. Their purpose is not yet fully understood. According to the hypothesized version, it is possible - buttress terraces, which were arranged only on the corner sections of the fortress.
By the end of the 2008 season, three terraces were opened. In the 2009 season, another fourth terrace was discovered. With their butt they are adjacent to the southern fortress wall. The first of them is adjacent to the "horn" of the tower, then, with a decrease of 40 cm, there is a narrower second terrace, then, with a decrease - a wide third terrace, and, finally, the fourth.
A semicircular partition wall adjoins the end of the first terrace, in which two wall foci are arranged. Last year, two halves from different cauldrons were found here. The foci were arranged specifically for the guard squad at the tower.
The next area of ​​research is the so-called southern fortress gate. According to our assumptions, there should have been three front gates in the fortress, one of which was located in the southern fortress wall (near the southeast corner), and one emergency exit from the corner room.
Earlier, inside the structure, we walked along the southern fortress wall, opening the internal layout, and without opening directly the “southern fortress gate”. This season we focused on this particular section of the structure.
Initially, all the external signs "spoke" for the fact that it was on this small territory, three meters from the southeast corner of the monument, that the southern fortress gates were located. One of these signs is a pronounced smooth lowering of the level of the fortress wall specifically in this place.
Until the gate construction was fully opened, a resemblance to the eastern fortress gates was manifested. Here, also, on one side of the gate, a preliminary pylon was discovered. The pylon has a rectangular elongated shape with rounded corners.
The height of the pylon above ground level varies from 15 to 40 cm. Its width is 90 cm and its length is 2 m. The estimated total length of the southern entrance was 8.5 m. What was our surprise when, when the area under investigation was completely opened, it turned out not to be the front entrance gate, but a special section of the fortress wall.
Interestingly, in this section of the wall, 8.5 m long, the upper surface is multilevel. It would seem that one fortress wall, in one section should have one level of the upper surface. However, on a small piece of the wall we found four levels of the upper surface. The difference in height is from 5 to 30 cm.
Outside, in the center of the plot, a small half-tower adjoining the fortress wall is laid out with adobe bricks and masonry “interspersed”. Apparently, this is a “buttress” bred to strengthen this section of the wall. The half-tower length is 2.4 m, the diameter is 1.5 m, and the height is 90 cm.
To the west of the half-tower, close to the wall, a small trapezium-shaped attachment is derived. Its height and the length of the greater side is 60 cm. The length of the short side is 50 cm, and the width of this structural part is 25 cm.
To the east of the half-tower, close to the fortress wall, adjoining the narrow side and the half-tower, there is a wide and long, as it were, "step". Its length is 3.6 m, width - 80 cm, height from floor level - 17 cm. Even the floor on this site, outside the fortress, is two-level. The height difference of two floor levels is 7 cm.
How to interpret this segment of the fortress wall and all structural elements adjacent to it, apparently, will show the future. The third direction. The eastern fortress wall, behind the eastern front gate. Immediately beyond the eastern gate, towards the north, part of the fortress wall was destroyed by unknown treasure hunters.
The length of the destroyed section of the wall is 7 m. Next came the real fortress wall. On the east side, as well as at the western wall, the development turned out to be “perimeter”. That is, along the perimeter of the wall, living quarters were “cut”.
At a distance of 7.8 m from the eastern gate, a large residential building was opened, stretched out along the long side in the direction "east-west". At the moment, the length of the room is 5.8 m. Its width is 4.5 m. At a distance of 2.1 m from the east wall, the room was divided into two parts by a wide wall - a partition 1.2 m wide.
At a distance of 0.25 m from the north wall, a 0.8 m wide doorway was arranged in the partition wall. A sufa, 0.7 m wide, was built right across the eastern fortress wall, the entire width of the room. There were two outbreaks in the room.
One is floor, in the first part of the room, is oblong in shape, 0.9 meters long. The second hearth is inside, located in the second part of the room, in the south wall. The length of the outbreak is 0.8 m, the depth is 0.9 m, and the height is 0.75 m.
For the first time in the fortress we met such a large, two-part, living quarters. At the moment (the room has not yet been fully dug up), its area is about 30 m2. The fourth direction. The rooms at the western fortress wall are to the left of the edge.
In previous expeditionary seasons, perimeter rooms were opened at the western fortress wall, located to the right of the "edge". Last year, research moved along the same wall, but to the left of the “edge” - towards the northwest corner of the fortress.
In 2008, premises were opened on this site. In the 2009 season, these facilities were completed. In the room, close to the northern partition wall, a small “g” -shaped sufa was opened. At the end of the sufa a floor center was discovered. In this room, the floors were decided on two levels.
The difference in floor level is approximately 40 cm. About half the room (closest to the rampart) had a lower floor level. The hearth was arranged in the higher half of the room. A narrow partition, approximately 10 cm, the hearth is divided into two parts, each of which prepared its own dish.
In the next room (room 9) last season, in the southeast corner, half of the large ceramic jug was found. Last season, work continued towards the northwest corner of the fortress. The premises were opened. All of them are of the same type and are extended with the long side in the direction: "west-east".
Dimensions of the room: 2.7 mx 6.8 m, the room has dimensions: 2.7 mx 7.1 m, the room is somewhat narrower: 1.9 mx 7.0 m. In the eastern part (10) of the room, two large fragments from one cauldron were found on the floor.
Here is a brief picture of the archaeological and architectural research of 2009 at Akyrtas fortress. We hope that many questions and puzzles presented to us this summer will be revealed in the next expedition season.

Shardenova Z.Zh.

Alexander Petrov.