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To the Karkaraly steppe.

Journey through the Karkaraly steppes

"What the opposite was the noisy life of this camp with the dead silence of the desert where we wandered for so long. Its view was amazing for us. Many yurts surrounded the lake; herds of sheep, horses, camels, cattle and goats were scattered across the field; here and there the Kirghiz galloped over the herds; half-naked boys snooped back and forth; women fussed around the house and, among all this, the clatter of the Kirghiz, the barking of dogs, the bleating of sheep and the scary cry of camels that rang out from time to time, all increased the diversity and fascination for artins"

Dr. Mayer.

A trip to Karkaraly park.

In 1826, Karl Friedrich Ledebur, corresponding member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences, professor of botany in Dorpat (Tartu - V.N.) went on his journey to the Altai, known to the whole scientific world. His assistants were the natural scientists Dr. Meyer and Bunge.
The purpose of the expedition was to study the flora of Altai, then a little explored region. At the same time, the expedition members studied geography, ethnography, and everything that was of interest to travelers.
Already at the end of February, Ledebur and his assistants were in Tobolsk, in March - in Barnaul, from where K. Ledebur went on a long journey through Altai, and Meyer and Bunge went to Dzungaria and the Kazakh steppes.
To, Ledebour traveled all of Rudny Altai, visited its famous silver mines, smelters, climbed ridges, walked through the valleys of the Irtysh, Koksu, Katun, Charysh, Chu rivers. Determined the heights of the ridges with a barometer, clarified the map of the area, and most important earnestly searched and collected samples of plant species, shrubs, diverse Altai flora.
On April 4, Dr. Meyer and Bunge arrived in Ust-Kamenogorsk, a town with about two thousand souls. Ust-Kamenogorsk fortress was built in 1729 on a hill on the right side of the Irtysh. The town consisted of wooden houses, and in the center stood a stone fortress.
The entire fortification consisted of a rampart surrounded by a moat. In Ust-Kamenogorsk, Meyer saw merchants from the Kazakh steppe, China, and Tashkent. From Ust-Kamenogorsk, Meyer traveled to the Nor-Zaysan Lake, located beyond the Chinese border.
On the way, Meyer met Kazakh villages. "The Kyrgyz elders received us very well in their yurts," Meyer noted in the diary. In the same place he fixes that “the Kyrgyz live very friendly with the Russians and the Chinese,” and that “the Russians often go fishing and hunting in Chinese possessions.”
The secret of this freedom was that every Russian boat going up the Irtysh , is obliged to pay the Chinese a quitrent - a measure of salt, which weighs about twelve kilograms. The Chinese general, tasked with guarding the border, receives an annual gift from the Russians “five hundred sterlets, cocktails and other trifles.” Meyer did not find anything remarkable on Nor Zaisan, flat shores covered with reeds, where wild boars and the vast expanse of the lake take refuge.
But fishing on Nor-Zaysan was rich and memorable. Meyer notes: “Sterlet and sturgeon caught near Nor Zaisan are extremely tasty. Arshin sterlet is very common; those that are less than three-quarters are not considered as a whole fish, but only for half. Sturgeons weighing two to five pounds.
It is caught annually. up to three thousand sturgeons and about thirty thousand sterlets. Five rubles are paid on the spot for sturgeon, half a sterlet, but the seller uses only half the amount, and gives the other half as a fee in favor of the Irtysh Cossacks.
"Meyer makes a trip through the desert plain covered with shallow lakes. "In the winter inhabited by the Kyrgyz, it is now completely empty: only lizards flashed, several birds, field rats, and timid saigas. Meyer made a trip to the mountains surrounding the valley of Lake Nor-Zaysan and makes an ascent to one of the peaks of Dalenkara, from where he" enjoyed a magnificent view in all directions.
"On one of the cliffs, Meyer discovered" images of animals carved in stone, hardly half a line in depth. Half of these rough essays are completely ironed out, the rest is completely preserved; it was easy to recognize the figures of an elk and saiga from it.
"Meyer concludes that it is" something very ancient and probably of the same origin with the thread that comes across the Yenisei shores. Returning back to Ust-Kamenogorsk, the expedition of Dr. Meyer melted across the Ablakitka river and headed south along the river to the steppe.
75 kilometers from Ust-Kamenogorsk, the attention of travelers was attracted by the ruins of the Ablakite chambers of the "famous Zhungar temple (temple - V.N.), seen by Dallas, and now has fallen completely." Meyer noted that the tradition of this temple was built by Khan Ablai, but over time its walls were torn apart by brick.
"Only the foundation and the fence that the builders carried out even on barely survived accessible top of the mountain lying to the north; for this whole cliffs of granite were needed ... They say that in five miles to the southwest the remains of furnaces were found in which bricks were probably burned for the construction of a temple."
On July 7, Meyer and the people accompanying him returned to Ust-Kamenogorsk and from there went to Semipalatinsk through hills, meadows, hollows and even sands. "Between Ust-Kamenogorsk and Semipalatinsk, the Irtysh flows rather slowly, with large bends and forms long islands, overgrown with forests and giving a lot of excellent forest."
Semipalatinsk greeted travelers with a multitude of Asian clothes, women in the veil, the voices of the muezzins calling for prayer. The city "is quite large, but its buildings are all wooden, four mosques, a guest house, dilapidated customs buildings and, especially in the northern part, there are many Kyrgyz yurts.
The population consists of Russians, Tatars, Kyrgyz, Tashkent, several Germans and Jews." Meyer visited the old and new fortresses and made a brief description of them. The new fortress on the high bank of the Irtysh a half a half from the city is "small, with ramparts dressed in stone and surrounded by a dry moat. Inside there is a beautiful stone church, houses for the commandant and other military officials, barracks, guardhouse and some other buildings. Few people live in the fortress , with the exception of the military.
"Three more decades will pass and one of the greatest writers of the 19th century Fedor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky will serve in this fortress, who will make this deaf Asian corner famous throughout the world. Meyer visited the Semipalatinsk bazaar more than once, where all four cardinal points were gathered together.
“There is significant bargaining: the value of imported and dispensed goods extends up to a million rubles annually. The main part in the affairs is held by Russians, Tatars and visiting Asians, especially Tashkent. Trade with distant countries - Kashgar, Tashkent, Kashmir, Kuldzha mostly hands of these foreigners. Living in Semi-Palatinsk, they attend the most important fairs in Russia from there; they do not pay duties, but use the rights of merchants of the first and second guilds".
What is not at the Semipalatinsk auction? Kazakhs bring cattle, soft junk, camel and goat fluff from the steppe; merchants from China and Kashkar bring silk and paper fabrics, tea, silver bullion, porcelain, tobacco; from Russia - metal products, furs, leather, cloth.
From Tashkent and Kokand - dried fruit-raisins, apricots, almonds, pistachios, Saracen millet (rice - V.N.), paper silk products. From distant Kashmir - shawls and scarves. Meyer is interested in the market for the quality of goods and prices, and caravan trails, and the exchange rate.
“Tashkent, Kokand and Bukhara chervonets are highly valued in Semipalatinsk, and rarely exchange them for less than 15 rubles with banknotes,” Meyer said. He takes walks around the city. “It’s difficult and unpleasant to walk along the local streets in the sand knee-deep.
Only along the banks of the Irtysh could small gardens be planted where very few vegetables were bred. Watermelons will be born quite well, clouds hung, it was raining. In conditions of a red-hot atmosphere, travelers saw one more fantastic picture of mirages, now dense forests, now jumping Kyrgyz, now nearby huge saigas with horses. Two Cossacks, who left in pursuit of the saiga, suddenly returned - they thought that the expedition was surrounded by horsemen.
“The uninterrupted appearance and scattering of all kinds of forms was extremely amusing and attractive,” Meyer said. Passing the spurs of Genghis Tau, Dr. Meyer climbed one of its peaks to survey the space around. Here, nearby, travelers met the Kazakhs of the Tobyktinsky volost, who invited them to visit the aul.
The invitation was accepted with pleasure. Aul is located on the lake. "What the opposite was the noisy life of this camp with the dead silence of the desert where we wandered for so long. Its view was amazing for us.
Many yurts surrounded the lake; herds of sheep, horses, camels, cattle and goats were scattered across the field; here and there the Kirghiz galloped over the herds; half-naked boys snooped back and forth; women fussed around the house and, among all this, the clatter of the Kirghiz, the barking of dogs, the bleating of sheep and the scary cry of camels that rang out from time to time, all increased the diversity and fascination for Artins.
"Travelers set up tents and immediately around them a crowd of curious nomads formed. Women brought koumiss, ayran. “The Kirghiz are generally extremely curious and when they see someone in the distance, they are ready to ride a few miles just to find out who is traveling.
That’s why all the news is spreading with amazing speed, and we always found them aware of our journey,” Meyer wrote. August, 26th after a month of wandering across the steppe, travelers arrived in Karkaraly. Meyer wrote: “Karkaraly is a Russian fortress lying at the foot of a mountain in a beautiful valley.
Stacks of fresh, fragrant hay, golden fields, herds scattered in green meadows. European dwellings and, finally, people doing different jobs for me it was a real charm " Perhaps this is perhaps the very first lines about Karkaraly published in print. They belong to the respected scientific doctor Meyer.
His notes on a trip to the Karkaraly steppe were included in the two-volume work of K. Ledebour, Bunge and Meyer published in 1829, 1830. in Berlin in German. In Russian, notes were published in the book "Picturesque Travels in Asia" in Moscow at the printing house of Nikolai Stepanovich in 1839 or more than 170 years ago.
Therefore, we, Karaganda residents, cherish those few lines about Karkaraly that were written by Dr. Meyer. In Karkaraly, travelers were received as dear guests, arranged for the night, provided with the necessary products. All the worries about the Meyer expedition took over the centurion D.O. Karbyshev.
“The Karkaraly district belongs to the Omsk region and extends south of the Irtysh to Semirek and Bayanaul six hundred versts in length and almost the same width. But its borders are not yet marked with accuracy and, no doubt, it will be divided, because too vast for being ruled by one commanding place.
The location of Karkaraly, the only Russian settlement in this region, was chosen in the best way. The neighborhood is rich in beautiful springs that merge into streams and rivers flowing in the fruitful valleys between the mountains.
The heights, completely naked or covered with a very thin layer of earth, are overshadowed, however, to the very top by thick pine trees, birches, alder trees and various shrubs. Often you see huge trees on bare granite.
Varieties of fish and many; one of the neighboring lakes delivers salt. In many places there is brick clay, and ten years ago they discovered it, and I’ll break lime. Russian settlers are engaged in agriculture, cattle breeding and beekeeping; begin to plant small gardens.
The colony grows by leaps and bounds, and in a short time a small town will appear here ", Dr. Meyer optimistically wrote in his diary. And there really were reasons for optimism. After all, the settlement of Karkaraly: the order and the district were opened recently in April 1824, and two years later, a whole village of solid wooden houses opened before the gaze of travelers, where he met the assessor centurion D. Karbyshev, who was also a passionate supporter of agriculture and beekeeping in Karkaraly.
Deniem last 1825 kazakami were planted sixteen tithes winter rye and oats forty tithes. Harvest assembled good. In March of this year brought Karbyshev five hives. Did planting cabbage, carrots, karto¬felya, who gave a good harvest.
Meyer was very interested in the attitude of the nomadic population towards the Russian settlers. Is there any benefit from this order and settlement to the inhabitants of the steppe? "Neighborhood with the Russians begins to have an impact on the Kyrgyz.
They do not marvel at European institutions and recognize the relevance of their intended purpose in them. Last winter they lost a quarter of their herds from a lack of feed, and the Russians, after harvesting enough hay, did not suffer any loss.
The Kyrgyz saw the benefits of hay stocks and many had a desire to provide for their livestock in the same way, but they were afraid to become ridiculous and even hated in the eyes of their compatriots. The same with the tilling. They would willingly stock up bread boom, but false shame in conjunction with laziness prevent them from cultivating the land. Now, however, many decided on this and wrote out the necessary tools from Irbit.
One already planted rye and was very pleased with his harvest. he’s got bread from the shops, how much can be sold to satisfy the needs of the Russian detachment." The doctor is also interested in the transition of Kazakhs from a nomadic way to a settled one.
“The Kirghiz also see the advantage of wooden houses over their felt yurts, especially for the winter, and many sultans and other rich people want to build near Karkaraly. Some already entered into negotiations with the Cossacks so that they ceded their homes and built new ones, and there is hope, that in time all the Kirghiz will live in wooden huts in winter, but the Russian neighborhood is most useful for them in that, thanks to him, the baranta (Barymta - V.N.), or robbery in revenge, is becoming less common day by day.
The sultans have long desired and harden this custom of arbitrariness, but they could not uphold their decisions. Moreover, there was so little agreement between them that the robber had no other choice but weak retribution. Now they mostly turn to the order, which investigates the case and forces the predators.
The robbers sometimes opposed the verdict, in such cases they proved in practice all the uselessness freedom. The experience of spreading literacy between them did not find the slightest participation in them - such a not comforting conclusion was made by Dr. Meyer.
At that time, according to the reform of the Speransky district, an order consisting of a chairman, two Kazakh and two Russian assistants - assessors, a secretary, and several scribes and translators — ruled. The chairman held the title of senior sultan (Kazakhs call him khan) was elected by the nomadic population together with his two assistant members. The former was elected from the Sultans, the latter from the biys. The chairman - for three years, deputies - for two.
They received salaries from the government, as well as mullahs for the most part from Kazan Tatars. To maintain the power of the order, in Karkaraly there was a detachment of two hundred Cossacks, forty infantry soldiers and several cannons.
In summertime, the order goes around the steppe undercover from forty to one hundred Cossacks or more, depending on the circumstances. The communication between Karkaraly and Semipalatinsk was supported by Cossack pickets located along the road. 
The pickets always had spare horses for transporting mail and couriers * Riding. on the road alone without Cossack escorts were still risky. Although Meyer himself met several carts with women traveling to their husbands without a guide at all.
This is the description of Karkaraly and the district that Dr. Meyer left to the descendants. Travelers left Karkaraly on August 30. "The Karkaraly ridge rises thousand and three feet above the surface of the Kungur-Su river, which flows out of it.
It consists mainly of red granite and is almost completely exposed. Its slopes are extremely steep and often impregnable, tall spruce and birch trees grow on the cliffs. The first night on our departure was very cold; it was very cold and autumn apparently wanted to come earlier than usual.''
On a trip for the Meyer emeralds, they volunteered to accompany the centurion D. Karbyshev and the local mullah. Mount Altyn-Tyube, which stores precious stones in its bowels, It was located northwest of Karkaraly at a distance of one hundred miles. The road stretched across a barren steppe with small hills.
At the foot of the mountain flows the Altyn-Su river. The mountain rises one hundred feet above it. Meyer found limestone in which emeralds were deposited. To get to the emeralds it was necessary to blow limestone with gunpowder. "These gems are of the finest copper-green color.
The crystals, especially in the mouths of the veins that contain them, are faintly very slightly or completely colorless. There are obvious signs that the mine was being developed. The hole, which at first is up to three inches across, and there soon narrows, was all emptied ”- this is all that Dr. Meyer recorded in his diary about his visit to the emerald deposit.
He was very pleased with his acquisitions. But were these emeralds? After all, emeralds are rivals of diamonds in terms of beauty and cost, very rare minerals. There are very few places on earth where emeralds are found and mined - the Urals, Transvaal - South Africa, Rajasthan - India, as well as deposits in Colombia and Brazil, and that is all the ore occurrences of emeralds on our vast planet.
Not much. The main goal of Dr. Meyer was to collect the flora of the Karkaraly mountains and steppes, but traveling around the steppes, visiting Kazakh villages, getting acquainted with the nomadic way of life, he left ethnographic notes that today are undoubtedly of interest to historians, students and tourists.
Due to the fact that the "Picturesque Journey through Asia" is one of the rare books even for an ethnographer or local historian, I allowed myself more extensive excerpts that characterize the nomadic way of life of the Kazakh people in 1826.
Dr. Meyer, like many other travelers who visited the Kazakh steppes, notes the hospitality of the locals. "They are very hospitable. Drive up to the yurt, its inhabitants come out to meet you and greet you from afar with the word: Aman!
One of the owner’s sons or relatives takes the visitor off the horse, and everyone greets him, shaking his right hand with both hands. Acquaintances hug each other crosswise. When leaving hostility is released with the same signs, and the owner himself or his relative puts the guest on a horse. Arriving in some village, you are completely safe from robbery or theft. You are revered for a fellow countryman who should not only be offended, but should be protected as much as possible.
Even for current fashionistas, something may seem interesting in the description by Dr. Meyer of women's clothing of that time. "Women wear wide long dresses with a slit to the waist, but fastened with many small buttons. Under the dress, wide harem pants and ordinary boots, the same as men.
On this dress, most often paper and making up together and a shirt, they put on another, sewn made of the best fabric and belted with a sash. Wide Bukhara gowns are sometimes worn on top. The headgear is very diverse. Often you will see the kind of conical hats humbled by small coins, kings and the like.
Often they are with their heads uncovered. entwine head and white bandanna so that they Obra Karaganda residents, passing a monument to the great akyn and thinker Bukar-Zhyrau Kalkaman Ula, pay attention to an unusual pointed headdress on his head.
Did the sculptures lose their sense of proportionality and harmony when he carved the poet's headdress? Meanwhile, Meyer wrote: “Everyone wears a pointed hat, motley and made of different fabrics, but mostly embroidered with patterns.
Goldfinches on a poppy head have a long silk lace with small feathers. Their summer and winter hats are conical in appearance. The first of white felt, lined with lace, sometimes covered with velvet or lined with some kind of fabric. Winter hats on fur.
They are lower in the Kurchum Kyrgyz, sometimes in the west there are towers." In recent years, the issue of polygamy has again surfaced in the pages of newspapers and magazines. Here is what Dr. Meyer wrote on this issue: “The Kyrgyz take as many wives as they want or how much they can buy.
The rich usually hold three to five, the poor almost always have one. The rich each wife lives in her yurt and it’s hard for an outsider to get there The first wife is revered as a real mistress, and she is given more respect than others. Children are talked about very early, but a young man usually marries after twenty years.
Father supplies son, depending on the condition, one or many yurts, cattle, dress, felt and so on. A married son cannot have any claim to his father’s estate as long as he has other sons who are not attached. The supreme authority over the parish or tribe is usually inherited by the eldest son, but sometimes the brother of the deceased is preferred to him."
For livestock breeders, residents of rural areas, Meyer's notes on cattle breeding are of undoubted interest. "Cattle breeding is the main occupation of the Kyrgyz people. Horses are mostly of medium height, but there are many tall and well-built horses between them.
They are quick, hot and bear a lot, they are never forged, thanks to the dry sandy soil they grow nice hooves, but in stony non-forged horses often spoil around the edges. They are used for one riding, and they never pack. Most mares are most kept to avoid a lack of koumiss.
Many sultans and rich have horse herds, from four to five thousand. The average price of one horse is from 15 to 30 rubles Sheep the Kirghiz are large, heavy, long-legged, lop-eared and with huge curls. They are mostly hornless and covered with white or brown hair.
There are few sheep and another breed that are smaller and finer-haired. Sheeps are sold for two and a half, in alone is not more expensive than four rubles.Often you see herds of several thousand, another rich Kyrgyz twenty thousand or more.
Herds of cattle are not so numerous, but also large. Livestock of medium height, but strong and healthy. The oxen are saddled like horses and ride them, passing a wooden stick into their bow cartilage. They are also used for packs. A bull or a cow is usually valued from 12 to 20 rubles.
The breeding of camels is fraught with some difficulties. For the winter, they are sewn into felt and between the yurts they are stretched out by large felt awnings, under which they take refuge in severe cold. At each aul there are quite large herds of two-humped camels;
I have not seen others here. They are mostly light brown, but completely white are not uncommon. They are mainly used for the transport of gravity. For control, a hair cord is inserted into the nasal cartilage. They are also ridden, sometimes up to five people together. A camel costs about 60 rubles. "

Numerous herds remain all year round in the open air and must find their own food, because the Kyrgyz do not store hay, but only leave the famous meadows intact for the winter. Between them there is a clan of Barymty, which allows tribes that are at war with each other, the enemies drive their cattle on the meadows of the opposite side and, thus, stole winter food from its herds.

Horses and cattle easily pull food out from under the snow, and although at times they become very thin, they rarely die of starvation. Sheep is extremely harmed by deep snow, but ice is even more harmful for them, because then they are unable to grab onto the grass.
In this case, the Kirghiz themselves are forced to produce several feeds in order to save at least part of their sheep. With all this, if the ice is standing for a long time, they lose the third share, sometimes a whole half of the herds.
Such a disaster befalls more eastern than western steppes, where on the contrary almost every summer, an ulcer that destroys camels and horses rages; cattle suffer the least, sheep are completely safe. " Dr. Meyer could not help but mention hunting, the true passion of the nomads.
"After cattle breeding, the main establishment of the Kirghiz is hunting. It is predominantly carried out in winter. They catch wolves, foxes, corsacs, caraganes and wild horses. In the summer they shoot chamois and poison them with dogs, they trap badgers, marmots, lynxes and martens in traps, they hit saigas in mountainous places , tours, bears, hares, occasionally tigers and manuli.
Kyrgyz love falconry and expensive As for agriculture, Meyer mentioned it with just one sentence: "Agriculture is extremely unimportant. They breed a little barley and even less wheat and millet." Meyer's ethnographic notes contain a lot of valuable information about domestic work and crafts, and about the rest of the inhabitants of the steppe.
"The Kirghiz themselves make felt, sheepskin coats, leather goods, they tan goat skins and sew a dress from them. Women weave an Armenian camel wool. They also have blacksmiths for small, rough crafts. They sharpen wooden dishes and finally make soap.
Most of the work falls to women. They take off and put down yurts, collect firewood and dung, milk cattle, prepare food and drinks, make fabrics, sew dresses and boots, even saddle horses and let their husbands down.
Men guard herds, sharpen wooden dishes, work in forges. Only slaves are engaged in grain farming, and whoever does not have it, he neither screams nor sows...". All Kirghiz are great tea hunters and passionately love to smoke and snuff tobacco.
Smoking is common in women as well. Lying on the felt with a pipe and chatting is the height of pleasure for the Kyrgyz." "In the summer they live on almost the same milk and only occasionally beat cattle, but in this case it is easy to make sure that they will not get any appetite."
“Sometimes they play music too.” The instruments of the violin genus - kobys (kobyz - V.N.) and the genus of the pipe - suvussier (event - V.N.), are made of long thick stems or of wood. From the side they check small the holes that determine the difference in sounds. Kyrgyz melodies are very simple, but quite pleasant."
The following remark of Meyer will attract gerontologists, health workers: “Kyrgyz people are generally healthy and lively, but their seventy-year-olds are quite rare.” For trade workers, Dr. Meyer prepared a whole list of goods in demand in the steppe in 1826.
“The exchange trade of the Kyrgyz is significant and is carried out especially with the Russians, Chinese and Tashkent people. The former trade in them for oil, morocco, iron goods, velvet, plis, shawls, punk, sashes, otter and beaver furs, iron forged chests, suitcases , combs, mirrors, kings and beads, several mosquito and arnarian goods and enough bread; among the Chinese, dubu, calico, silk and silk, wooden varnished items, brick tea, silver, tobacco and smoking pipes; among Tashkent people silk, bathrobes, guns, gunpowder, leather and boots , Saddles, and various little things."
In a word, in the ethnographic notes of Dr. Meyer, everyone can find curious information for him about the nomadic life of the Kazakh people. But the main work of the natural scientist Meyer was to collect samples of wild plants, their study and systematization. And in this, Dr. Meyer succeeded no less than in the ethnographic description of the nomadic people.
Meyer was the first botanist in Central Kazakhstan. The expedition of Ledebour, Meyer, Bunge collected about 1600 species of plants, including about 400 new, previously unknown to science. These were precious "emeralds" of new scientific knowledge that Dr. Meyer took out of the Karkaraly steppe.
The expedition members collected a lot of plant seeds, were sent to the University of Derpt "alive", that is, with roots. The result of the expedition was first the aforementioned two-volume work, publications in Berlin, and subsequently the four-volume work Flora of Russia, published in 1842 - 1655.

Authority:
Vladimir Novikov. http://novikovv.ru