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Petroglyphs of Zhambyl region.

Individual and groups tours in Kazakhstan.

“To explore is to see what everyone has seen, and think like no one else thought”

Albert St. Gyorgyi.

Visit to the petroglyphs of Zhambyl region.

Monuments of historical and cultural heritage are living witnesses of those distant times from which the modern world originates. The intellectual potential of each nation, its historical mission in the development of human civilization, its culture and traditions can speak in a clear language for modern man only with the help of historical artifacts.
The history of peoples and tribes that inhabited the territory of southern Kazakhstan since ancient times is complex and interesting. Archaeologists have proved that the first people in the valley of the river Talas, Karatau gorge appeared about one million years ago.
The rich historical past of the region is evidenced by cave paintings, sites of people of the Stone Age, numerous mounds, ancient settlements, stone statues, architectural structures, which are a kind of open-air museum. In the past, this region was the scene of many historical events, witnessing the movements of peoples, destructive wars and interethnic clashes, the development of trade, crafts, and art, reflecting at each stage of its existence the social, economic and political features of the era.
Zhambyl region has a rich historical and cultural heritage. Unique monuments indicate that the traditional architecture of the Kazakh people has been formed since ancient times. In the region there are about 1100 monuments of history and culture, including rock paintings.
Petroglyphs of the Early Iron Age and Bronze Age were widely used in the region. Cave paintings that have been studied by various researchers - A.P. Pechersky, E.A.Novgorodova, V.Uryupin, A.N. Maryashev, V.I. Volobuev, K. Baybosynov, K.M. Baipakov, A.M. Dosymbaeva, A.P. Popov and many local historians.
For example, in the gorges: Kostobe, Akbulak, Shatyrkul, Ushbulak, Nizhneterektinsky and also rock paintings of the area Tanirkazgan and Borykazgan. Cave paintings by Botamoynak and Akbulim received wide interest among the local population.
The petroglyphs of the Kordai and Shu-Ili mountains in the gorges of Chokpar, Kotyr, Aksuyek, Oi-Zhailau, Anyrakhaya were studied. However, this is not a complete list of monuments, since the region still has unexplored places of accumulation of petroglyphs.
The majority of rock paintings are a product of a generalized mythological representation of an ancient person about the reality surrounding him, expressed in the form of familiar images of the animal world. The longevity of the cave paintings served to ensure that the images of the forms have been preserved for centuries in the traditional culture of the local population almost unchanged and are an important historical source for studying the development of cult-world outlooks of the population of the Zhambyl region from ancient times to the present day.
The semantic meaning of a number of scenes and individual images of rock art is still a mystery. But there are plots where, with the help of ethnography, a satisfactory decoding of them has already been achieved.
Features drawings Zhambyl region: People of the Bronze Age were at the mythological stage of thinking. For them, life was a change in the repeating cycles of nature - the vernal equinox, plowing, harvesting, livestock, winter and then again the spring coming of the warm sun. In order not to violate this harmony, according to their concepts, each of these events had to be accompanied by sacrifices to the gods, prayers and special rites.
They were performed in special sanctuaries - in mountain gorges, at sacred springs and rivers. Here the main complexes of petroglyphs are concentrated.  Among the petroglyphs of the Bronze Age, the image of chariots is widespread. These are mainly light two-wheeled hunting and fighting chariots drawn by horses and camels.
The ancients had a myth about a celestial sun chariot: on horse chariots, they believed, all the higher gods were traveling around the sky. The bronze era also includes battle scenes, battles of foot soldiers armed with clubs, axes and coinage (Klevets), and bows.
A significant group of petroglyphs consists of drawings with plots characteristic of this time: paired figures of men with arms raised up, warriors with clubs, bulls. In one of the gorges, a composition is depicted, on which eight men holding hands, above - three shooting archers and a man with a club.
Apparently, the most ancient drawings of the Bronze Age are the images of goats in a bitriangular style. The favorite plot in rock art was the image of the two-humped camel-Bactrian. In the Bronze Age, he was portrayed in a static pose and often occupied a central place in many scenes.
Also depicted is a domestic bull or tour. We can talk about certain canons in conveying the figures of bulls: a body expanding to the head, a hill above the shoulder blades, long horns. The era of bronze dates from the image of dancing. Researchers divide them into ritual, related to the cult of fertility, hunting and military.
The dances associated with the cult of fertility include circular, which symbolized the idea of ​​fertility and well-being. The petroglyphs of the late Bronze Age include engravings that reproduce animals with a number of features that bring them closer to the images of the early animal style.
Among the petroglyphs of this time, scenes of harassment and torment of animals appear, for example, the attack of dogs on wild boars. Horses as pets, people began to teach from the Iron Age, as evidenced by the cave paintings of the Iron Age. Ancient artists paid special attention to horses, often carefully writing out their figure.
Among horse figures, the horse image stands out for its archaism and originality. The horse was considered a sacred sacrificial animal. The early Iron Age also includes images of goats, deer, panthers, wolves, dogs and wild boars. Many of them are similar to animalistic plots on the subjects of Scythian-Sakian applied art.
A remarkable picture of the hunting of archers on three wild boars, discovered in one of the gorges. Medieval petroglyphs are few in comparison with earlier ones in time. They are represented by drawings: horsemen with banners, the battle of horse and foot soldiers, a caravan of camels and tribal tamgas.
A significant group of petroglyphs carved on the rocks near an unfortified settlement, apparently dating back to the late Middle Ages. According to popular science, Kazakhstan occupies a rather modest place in the CIS countries in terms of its wealth of rock art monuments.
In fact, rock paintings of Kazakhstan are not quantitatively inferior to the largest locations of such monuments of Karelia, the Urals and Siberia. However, the richest accumulations of petroglyphs in different regions of the republic, despite the history of their study, should be the subject of a special and systematic study.
The history of the ancestors is curious to those who deserve it, to study, save and pass on to the future generation. Incandescent images that have survived to this day are the guardians of the thousands of stories of our ancestors.
We hope that in the near future there will be a wide scientific interest in the study of petroglyphs of the Zhambyl region, since many objects of antiquity remain poorly understood and undescribed in the scientific literature. And for tourists, these cave paintings are unique gifts of ancient artists, which you should definitely visit.

Zhazira Shildebaeva, an employee of the State Historical and Cultural Reserve-Museum "Monuments of Ancient Taraz."