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Legend about Shanyshkyly Berdykozha-batyr.

Silk Road in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

"Mythology: the totality of the initial beliefs of the people about its origin, ancient history, heroes, gods, etc., as opposed to reliable information subsequently invented"

Ambrose Gwyneth Beers.

Legends of the Karatau mountains.

Many legends and legends have survived in Kazakhstan, in which information about heroes, favorites of the people, has been transmitted from mouth to mouth since ancient times. An old aksakal told about one of them.
In the foothills of Karatau there was once an ancient genus of Shanyshkily. The family of the famous hunter Aryk Mergen had no children for a long time. Once a traveler came into his yurt. Mergen happily met a stranger: he treated him to kumys, fed him his fill.
The traveler thanked the hospitable host for the warm welcome and said before leaving: “I know that you will soon have a son. You had to wait a long time, and for your patience, your wife will give you a bala batyr. Hail Aryk Mergen, your son will glorify your family with great deeds.
The glory of him will spread throughout the steppe... ”The traveler left. Time passed. And soon the joyful news spread across the aul: "Aryk Mergen has a son!" The father did not see a soul in his boy. He taught him early on how to shoot a bow, jump and, in the field, even sleep on horseback.
Mergen rejoiced - his son caught everything on the fly! Over the years, the boy, whose name is Berdykozha, has mastered all types of military art, hand-to-hand combat techniques. Already in childhood he had no equal in wrestling, racing, competitions in strength and agility.
The girls dreamed of just one look. Peers respected the strong young man for his justice, honesty, responsiveness and among themselves called him "Bala-batyr". Berdykozha grew up early, because turbulent times came.
Every now and then the Dzungars, Volga Kalmyks, Kirghiz, Chinese raided the Kazakh lands. In one of these raids, his father Aryk Mergen was killed, and his mother, unable to bear the grief, immediately died. The young man forever remembered the carved marks on the enemy arrow in the body of his father.
Berdykazha took up arms, bowed to the grave of his parents and vowed to take revenge on the enemies, for the grief brought to his family and relatives. The warrior, endowed with heroic strength, had no equal and in the first battle in his life, he fearlessly entered the zhekpe zhek - a one-on-one fight with his opponent, in front of all the participants in the battle.
This was the first strength test. Huge like a cloud, the Dzungarian warrior at full gallop rushes towards Berdykozha. Batyr feels a strong blow when two horses collide, almost loses his balance, but then he recalls the first lessons of his father, Aryk Mergen, who taught in case of danger not to let go of the reins.
Berdykozha's tenacious hands make a great effort, and the horse rears up. With a strong blow of hooves, his faithful horse softens the strongest blow with a spear of an experienced enemy, from which it darkened in the eyes of the horseman.
The first attack was repelled. Warriors scatter to the sides, but the enemy warrior does not give time to think, now he intends to demonstrate his strength and dexterity to everyone, but that was not the case. Startled by the blow of Berdykozha and attacked his opponent with a kite.
Having contrived, he knocked the Dzungar out of the saddle. Feeling his superiority, encouraged by the screams and whistling of his soldiers, Berdykozha temporarily lost his vigilance and, unexpectedly, felt a burning pain in his shoulder - it was the enemy's arrow, but what an arrow with exactly the same marks that were on the arrow that mortally wounded his father...
Gathering all his fortitude, the warrior with the steppe leopard attacked his opponent. His rage knew no bounds. Berdykozha felt such superiority in himself that victory was inevitable. Looking into the eyes of his adversary, he dealt a fatal blow to him for his father, for his mother, for the ruined aul…
Many more times Berdykozha will enter into duels with enemy leaders. But the victory in single combats, at that time, decided the outcome of the battle, helped to avoid bloodshed. Defeating the most powerful enemy, the warrior convinced his countrymen of inevitable victory, thereby undermining the morale of the enemies.
After all, a convincing example of one is inspiration for hundreds of warriors. The fame of the fearless Batyr spread throughout the steppe. They say that Shanyshkyly Berdykozha received his biggest military awards from the hands of Abylai Khan himself.
Once, when once again Batyr with his army set out on a military campaign, on one of the passes of the Karatau mountains he met an elder. The latter approached the batyr and said: “Don't go. This will be your last fight. " The batyr, true to his military duty, could not refuse the battle, abandon your warriors.
Warned about his last battle, Berdykozha himself felt a kind of heaviness in his heart, as if it was his last day of life, but he boldly moved towards death. His sons were nearby and did not believe in the old man's prophecy, but after a difficult battle, they carried the lifeless body of their father and the legendary batyr himself in their arms.
They fulfilled his last will: they buried him with all military honors in a family nomad, next to his father and mother. Old people say that this is how an unusual mazar appeared in the steppe of the modern Karkaralinsky district, Karaganda region in the XVIIIth century, whose dome resembled a warrior's helmet - the helmet of the legendary Shanyshkyly Berdykozha, a hero fanned by popular glory, the legendary defender of the Kazakh land.


Photos by
Alexander Petrov.