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Akyrtas Palace.

Excursion tours to Akyrtas Palace

“On the road we came across a stone settlement, stones of a completely red color, there are traces of an ancient military establishment. In the west there are large grave mounds, located like stars in Ursa Major”

Taoist monk Chiang Chun.

Excursion to Akyrtas.

For many years, the construction of Akyrtas attracts and excites the minds with its mystery. In the scientific world, it is believed that the artist M.S. Znamensky, who worked as part of the military expedition of M.G. Chernyaev, was the first to pay attention to him. Having visited the ruins of Akyrtas in 1864, he left interesting sketches of the panorama and fragments of the walls of the complex.
But also the information collected by the Taoist monk Chan-chun was and remains absolutely invaluable to science. Here is what he wrote in his diaries: “On the road we came across a stone settlement, stones of a completely red color, there are traces of an ancient military establishment.
In the west there are large grave mounds, located like stars in Ursa Major.” Later P.I.Lerkh made some measurements of individual blocks and gave a general description of the monument, using the information left by Chan-Chun. P.I.Lerkh considered Akyrtas a Buddhist monastery.
Serious scientific research was carried out here by the geologist D.L. Ivanov, who not only described in detail the plan of the structure and the quarry, but also gave a description of the wall blocks and sketch of ornaments, as well as an assessment of the historical significance of the structure.
In a large article published in the journal Izvestia of the Russian Geographical Society, he wrote: “Huge stones, gigantic dimensions of the entire structure, courage of design, art and thoroughness of execution, and finally, this seemingly isolated isolation of the community among the dry desert steppe, all this makes look at Akyrtash as one of the wonderful ancient architectural structures in Turkestan.
For such a cyclopean undertaking it was necessary to have enormous resources, it was necessary to have a mass of slave hands and enormous wealth. Only such a powerful national ruler could decide on this. ” This assessment is very important, because later, due to indifference and lack of understanding of its true value, the monument suffered significant damage.
So the precious stone blocks with ornaments, invaluable for science, used for modern buildings, have been lost forever. VV Bartold, who visited Akyrtas in 1893, on the basis of the image of a fish symbol of Christianity he met on a stone block, considered it a Nestorian monastery.
At the same time, an attempt is made to correlate Akyrtas with a specific locality mentioned in the roads of medieval authors. A member of the Turkestan circle of archeology lovers V.A. Kallaur identified him with Kasribas. Later, G.I. Patsevich, L.Yu. Mankovskaya, and also academician of the National Academy of Sciences K.M. Baipakov adhere to the same opinion.
V.V. Bartold compared Kasribas with the Turkic fortress of Kacharbashi, twice mentioned in Firdausi’s “Shahnama” and placed it on the site of Aulie-Ata. Thus, most researchers associate Akyrtas with medieval Kasribas. Unfortunately, there is no similar unanimity in the matter of dating the monument and its purpose.
Consistently put forward and refuted the version that it is a "Brahmin temple", "Nestorian monastery", "Caravanserai", "palace-fortress" and others. The temporary boundaries of this building, even taking into account the refinements of recent years, are stretched from the middle VIII to XII century.
In this regard, an analogy drawn by A.N.Bernshtam between the Kyrgyz Tash-Rabat and Akyrtas seems interesting from a scientific point of view: “It is difficult to find analogies to the Tash-Rabat building. A stone building, about the same time, is known not far from the city of Dzhambul, 6 km north of Ak-Chulak station, and is called Akyr-Tash...
Functionally Tash-Rabat-caravanserai, which could be Akyr-Tash, although a number of details in it prompts researchers to interpret it as a Buddhist temple.” One cannot ignore the version of the German researcher B. Brentjes.
Giving the exact date of construction - 714 - 715 years, he believes that Akyrtas was built on the orders of the Arab commander Abu Muslim Kuteyba - the commander-in-chief of the combined Arabs at the Battle of Atlah on 751 years, as his summer residence in the northern territories.
The reason for the incompleteness of construction B. Brentjes considers the sudden death of Kuteiba. As you can see, despite the long history of the study of Akyrtas by the most famous scientists of our time, there are more questions than answers.
Everything is doubtful: the time of construction, the purpose of the structure, and even the origin of its name. What is this structure? Quadrangular in plan (205 x 185 m), laid out of massive stone blocks of red sandstone, it consists of four parts.
In three of them the premises are located around the courtyards, and the fourth is free from development. In the center of the building is a courtyard with two ponds - houses. The structure of Akyrtas, in addition to the palace building, includes country estates, a castle, a park, a quarry for stone mining, a clay quarry, and houses - reservoirs.
Briefly give a description of the four parts of Akyrtas, into which the building is divided by two perpendicular intersecting streets, it will be as follows: the first consists of an undeveloped square plot (27x37m) and a group of rooms facing the courtyard (13 x 18 m).
Three of them are long corridor-shaped rooms with a width of 2.5 and a length of 18 m. The second part consists of residential and household. The living room includes 12 rooms and three aivans, grouped around a courtyard measuring 18 x 18 m. In the household part, there are 5 narrow, long rooms with a width of 2 to 3 m that enter the courtyard.
Thirteen rooms of the third part are grouped around the courtyard with an independent exit to the outside. The living quarters of the fourth part are also grouped around the courtyard (25x34m). There are 18 living rooms, two aivans and three narrow rooms. One of them is “P” - figurative.
The walls of the palace structure are composed of two rows of blocks with filling the space between them with rubble and clay. Wall blocks are carefully crafted and fitted. The width of the walls ranges from 5 to 3.5 m.
This is what lay on the surface and, along with numerous legends, fueled the imagination of researchers, allowing you to put forward numerous versions that are often conflicting. Archaeological excavations of 1996, conducted here by leading Kazakhstani scientists together with the French, shed some light on the estimated time of construction of Akyrtas and its purpose.
The discoveries of that year, namely, the mosque discovered here, allowed to reject the version of Akyrtas as a Brahmin temple, or Nestorian monastery. The same circumstance convinced at the beginning of construction not earlier than the middle of the VIII century.
Comparison of the plan of Akyrtas, verified with the help of a laser, with the layout of the palaces of Samarra (summer residences of Arab caliphs), Syria and Jordan gave reason to the academician of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Kazakhstan, K. Baipakov suggest that it was built as a summer residence of the Karluk Hagan.
The work carried out in subsequent years (1998 - 1999) made it possible to present Akyrtas as a complex of objects of a medieval city. Near the palace complex, which was given the attention of previous researchers, a small roadside caravanserai (XIIIth century) was discovered.
To the south-west of the palace at a distance of 1 km were located 50 m from each other, a fortress with four towers in the corners and a castle of the ruler (VIIIth - Xth centuries). The castle, located on a natural hill, consists of three rows of rooms, three in each row.
The central row is enfilade, rooms (3 x 3.3 m). The extreme rows are rectangular rooms (3.3 x 4.7 m). On the west side, all three rows are closed by the guest front hall (3.45 x 15.5 m). From the enfilade row you can get into any room in the building.
In two living rooms, foci with smoke vents inside the walls were found. It is interesting that the outer surface of the western wall of the castle is lined with small stones of sandstone, to protect against "blowing". It is in this direction that strong winds blow in the autumn-winter period. The foundation is laid out of large red sandstone stones.
Overlapping over the premises of the building of two types. Above the rectangular rooms - vaulted ceilings, above the square - three identical domes. It is interesting that the ancient masters often brought the heel of the arch inside the room, on both sides of the walls, for greater overlap strength. At the same time, the wall from which the arch began was laid out with an inclination at an angle of 18 - 26º. This ensured a uniform load distribution, and hence greater strength.
Although the castle was one-story, the building did not seem squat. Location on the hill, domes and arches gave harmony to the structure. A tall, austere portal further emphasized this. Clay and stone quarried in a quarry located 400 meters from the structure were used as building material in all the buildings of Akyrtas.
The water supply system of the complex from mountain springs located 3 - 4 km was studied. The water system consisted of clay pipes and several reservoirs formed by stone and earth dams. Water flowed through clay pipes 50 - 60 cm long.
The diameter of the wide end of the pipe was 20 cm and the narrow end was 18 cm. The narrow end of each link was inserted into the wide of the other. The water supply originated in the Uzynbulak gorge from an artificial reservoir, built with the help of a stone and earthen dam, blocking the gorge in a narrow place.
From the reservoir (house), water was diverted to residential buildings and estates, in the courtyards of which there were pools. Water distribution was carried out using pipes of different diameters, fragments of which were found along the water supply route.
North of Akyrtas, two reservoirs were discovered, apparently intended for irrigation of crops. An observation tower was discovered on one of the neighboring mountain peaks, providing military security. These were serious discoveries that supplemented scientific information about Akyrtas.
However, materials of the archaeological expedition of last season became a real sensation. At great depths, walls of huge stone blocks 3.5–4 meters high were discovered, dividing the building into many rooms of various sizes. Admiration and surprise are caused not only by the size of the blocks, but also by the thoroughness of their grinding.
The foundation, fortified with red sandstone, was built for centuries, which allowed it to be fully preserved to this day. The longer and more carefully you peer and study the details of this community, the greater the surprise covers.
hat should be the weight and height of the structure, if only the height of its foundation is 4 m. It was such a foundation made of sandstone that was discovered by the archaeological expedition of last year on Akyrtas. It is perfectly preserved, since groundwater lies here at a depth of 150 m, and foothill rocky soil does not allow deformation due to shrinkage.
Our absolutely unique photographs of the Akyrtas complex, made with the help of a special aircraft equipped with a laser camera, allow us to examine in detail the layout of each room, and also give a complete picture of all objects located on its territory of 4 hectares.
he palace room alone has about one hundred rooms and twenty-eight internal giant columns. One of the photographs, thanks to laser aerial photography, traces the foundation laid for structures, the existence of which no one had previously suspected.
Thirteen identical holes are also visible here, located on the same line at an equal distance from each other. Their purpose now can only be hypothesized. A science-based interpretation is a matter of the future. We hope that already near.
Of particular interest are eight narrow rooms 1 m wide and 15 m long, interconnected like labyrinths of Egyptian pyramids. It should be noted that this analogy with the pyramids and other structures of the ancient world, stone giants of the Renaissance involuntarily arises not only because of the grandeur of the structure and gigantic proportions, but also because of the mystery and mystery of many buildings of the Akyrtas complex.
There are many ambiguities in the purpose of its individual objects. The methods of transporting huge stone blocks from a quarry located on the eastern side of Kyzyl-Tash Mountain, the distance from which to the construction site varies from 200 to 400 m, are also not completely understood, moreover, the path lay through a small river.
All this gives rise to numerous versions and hypotheses that are constantly put forward by researchers. Some of them are on the verge of rational from the point of view of a rational layman. Such, for example, seems to be the assumption of Akyrtas, as a place of storage of alien information capsules.
From the point of view of “common sense” of a down-to-earth man, it is often difficult to perceive the numerous eyewitness accounts of mysterious phenomena, visions and glows of incomprehensible etymology that occur from time to time on Akyrtas mainly at night. No matter how incredible these stories may seem to us, we have no reason not to trust them, since they usually come from respectable, educated and completely sane people.
Their confidence that Akyrtas creates a special, beneficial aura, attracts many tourists and those who believe in the miraculous power of this building, which contributes to healing. The study of these phenomena is a matter of the future.
Today, Akyrtas is an indisputable proof of the unsurpassed skill of ancient architects and the high culture of the Great Steppe. The accuracy of geometric figures made of huge stone blocks that was achieved with the help of primitive tools of those distant times, the perfection of masonry on a not very smooth and fairly solid ground of the foothill landscape and, finally, the originality of the stone structure, which has no analogues throughout Central Asia, gives Confidence that nomads were not only nomadic!
They were skilled construction architects who successfully applied in practice the achievements of many branches of science. The surviving part of the grand complex Akyrtas is a new page in the history of nomads, which is evidence of the relationship between universal human civilization and world culture. As the poet said: "There is no East and no West."
There are only common values ​​that complement each other. Akyrtas is undoubtedly a unique monument of the Central Asian region, the further study of which can present many more sensations and surprises. Therefore, we are following with great hope the archaeological and restoration work carried out here. In this regard, it is encouraging that, thanks to the state program of the Republic of Kazakhstan "Cultural Heritage", designed for 2004 - 2006, not only are full provided for at Akyrtas work, but also the creation of an open-air museum.
The issues of water and power supply of the complex, the construction of access roads and special rooms for staff are to be solved. Now the study and simultaneous museumification of the object is ongoing. And this means that the grandiose creation of our ancestors will become not only a place of pilgrimage for our contemporaries, but also a cultural heritage of future generations.
After all, Akrytas is unique, unique and mysterious as the centuries-old history of the Great Steppe itself.

Taken Moldakynov, Director of the State Historical and Cultural Reserve-Museum “Monuments of Ancient Taraz”.

Alexander Petrov.