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Grotto of Ak-Baur.

Trip in Kazakhstan.

“For everything in this journey of life we are on, there is a right wing and a left wing: for the wing of love there is anger; for the wing of destiny there is fear; for the wing of pain there is healing; for the wing of hurt there is forgiveness; for the wing of pride there is humility; for the wing of giving there is taking; for the wing of tears there is joy; for the wing of rejection there is acceptance; for the wing of judgment there is grace; for the wing of honor there is shame; for the wing of letting go there is the wing of keeping. We can only fly with two wings and two wings can only stay in the air if there is a balance. Two beautiful wings is perfection. There is a generation of people who idealize perfection as the existence of only one of these wings every time. But I see that a bird with one wing is imperfect. An angel with one wing is imperfect. A butterfly with one wing is dead. So this generation of people strive to always cut off the other wing in the hopes of embodying their ideal of perfection, and in doing so, have created a crippled race” 

C. JoyBell C.

Night-time tour in Semipalatinsk.

Ak-Baur Grotto is located at an altitude of 534 meters above sea level, located in upper reaches of Ak-Baur stream, on Mount Korzhimbay, in Kalba Mountains, 2.2 kilometers east of right bank of Urunkay (Sibinka) River, 5.3 kilometers to south and a little east of village of Sagyr (former village of Leninka), 3.7 kilometers to north and a little east of village of Besterek, 32.7 kilometers to south and a little east of town of Ust-Kamenogorsk, in Ulansky district, in Vostochno-Kazakhstan region.
It is made up of of diorite and wind erosion has created bizarre stone figures with overhangs and spacious niches. A grotto with rock paintings is located at the foothill of the southern slope of the Akbaur. Despite its proximity to a main highway, a large regional capital and active visitation of the site by tourists, the grotto paintings and the surrounding landscape are well preserved.
Research Status and Documentation. The Akbaur paintings were researched and documented in the 1970’s - 1980’s by Samashev Z. (Samashev 2006)). Transparent paper attached to the rock with plasticine, remnants of which still remain in large spots on the rock surface, were used to copy the paintings.
In 1997 - 1998, the grotto was studied by a group of experts in archeology and astronomy led by Marsadolov L.S. (St. Petersburg). In 2008, the Akbaru Valley and the grotto paintings were studied by Rogozhinskiy A.E. Remains of ancient habitation sites with stone tools, ceramics of early nomads and Neolithic flint artifacts were found at the wide mouth of the valley along the northern slope of the Akbaur.  
Two or three compositions with horses, deer herds and humans are carved in a crust of desert varnish on an isolated rock detached from the massif. On the opposite side of the valley, a small concentration of petroglyphs is also carved on horizontal surfaces of shale covered with a brown patina.
Petroglyphs at both sites are similar in style and technique and date to the Late Bronze and Early Iron Ages (late IInd – Ist millennium BC). Typology and Dating. The grotto, located 5m above the surface, is easily accessible: inclined layers of rocks that compose the massif provide an ascent in steps.
A wide oval cavity under the overhang is about 9m long and reaches human height only at the entrance.Daylight penetrating through the opening is enough to see the paintings on the roof and internal walls of the shelter. The ground is inclined and rises to the wall so that one can only see all the paintings at once from the entrance; the height of the roof, where paintings are positioned, does not exceed 1 m, so it is only possible to closely examine them sitting or lying-down on the uneven surface.
All figures (about 80) are painted in a reddish-brown ochre and are similar to each other, with linear drawing, simple shapes and unified compositions, suggesting their simultaneity. The paintings predominantly fill the even surface of the roof that resembles a large shell containing the most informative paintings.
A two-wheeled cart with a pole facing the entrance, a goat, and two or three humans, as well as signs that resemble a primitive tent flanking the remaining paintings. On the foreground, a rhomboid sign is divided into four sectors with a central dot in each next to a human figure; two lines branch out from vertices of this sign.
Other paintings depict silhouettes and contour triangular shapes as well as lines connecting some images. The composition borders are framed with cross-like figures. Archeologists use the two-wheeled cart to date the Akbaur grotto paintings to the late IIIrd - early IInd centuries BC.
In any case, the Akbaur cart is the most ancient image of a wheeled vehicle in Kazakhstan and Central Asia.
Geographic coordinates of Ak-Baur grotto: N49°40'32 E82°41'14

“Rock Art Sites in Kazakhstan”.  Alexey E. Rogozhinskiy.

Photos by:
Alexander Petrov.