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The Tower Burana.

Tours on the Tower Burana.

“I've known rivers:
I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins. My soul has grown deep like the rivers” 

Langston Hughes.

Travel across Kyrgyzstan.

The Burana Tower – architectural  monument of the XI c., was built by Karakhanids about 900 years ago. It was located  near the eastern wall and all time played the role of guard tower. Situated 12 km to the South of Tokmak – the tower is all that remains of the ancient city of Balasugan set at the foot of the Shamshi.
Established in the Xth century on the site of an older settlement, the city was the birthplace of the poet Jusup Balasugyn (X – XV century) who wrote an epic роет called Katadgu Bilig knowledge which brings happiness") which has been translated into several languages - including а recent translation into English by Walter May.
With Kashgar, Balasugan was one of the capitals of the Eastern Khanate when the Karakahanid state split up. (The capital of the Western Khanate was Samarkand). It was spared from destruction by Genghis Khan's monguls, and renamed Gobalik (city) in the XIII'" century, but it lost its importance and had disappeared by the XV century.
There were major archaeological surveys of the site in the 1920, 1950 and 1970 years. The archaeologists discovered that the town had а complicated layout covering some 25 - 30 square kilometers. There were ruins of а central fortress, some handicraft shops, bazaars, four religious buildings, domestic dwellings, а bath house, а plot of arable land and а water main (pipes delivering water from а nearby canyon).  The town was surrounded by two rings of remain - the top was lost in an earthquake in the XVth century.
The tower has an octagonal base and on this was constructed а conical tower. On the outside of the tower is pattern of relief work in brick. The diameter at the bottom of the tower is 9.3 meters and the top is across.
The remains were "canabalised" by local people who took the bricks from the base , for their building - photographs of the tower before reconstruction in the 1970s can be seen in the small museum and show this clearly.
Inside is а narrow spiral staircase, that is said to be original, leading to the top. Access would have been by removable stairs, or through the roof of the mosque - now there is а metal staircase leading to the door nearly 7 m above ground on the southern side. From the top it is possible to get а good view of the Chu valley and Tokmak.
Also, it is possible to make out the lines of the walls of the settlement in the fields surrounding the tower. At the foot of the tower are some reconstructions of the foundations of several ancient mausoleums made out of burnt brick.
These foundations were uncovered in the 1970s. The different shapes and sizes indicate the different status and numbers of occupants. Nearby is а small hill, measuring 100 meters square and 10 meters high. It apparently hides а palace complex (or а temple – the archaeologists aren' t sure) which existed in the Xth century - that is before the town itself came into being.
А little.further away is а collection of "bal-bals" small statues of the dead - gravestones of the nomadic Turks) dating from the бth century, and petroglyphs dating from the 2nd century BC, brought and placed here from all around the Chu valley.
There are other collections around the Chu valley and in Southern Kazakhstan. The small museum, established in 1976, has some artifacts recovered from the site, (jars, coins, а board game ...), but it is claimed that the best articles were removed а long time ago to Moscow or St. Petersburg.
In the Shamshi valley itself has been found а wide range of Scythian artifacts, including а heavy golden burial mask"

Architectural and archaeological museum of the Tower Burana.Architectural and archaeological museum of the Tower Burana.Vicinities architectural and archaeological museum of the Tower Burana.Architectural and archaeological museum of the Tower Burana.Architectural and archaeological museum of the Tower Burana.Architectural and archaeological museum of the Tower Burana.Architectural and archaeological museum of the Tower Burana.Architectural and archaeological museum of the Tower Burana.Vicinities of architectural and archaeological museum of the Tower Burana.Vicinities of architectural and archaeological museum of the Tower Burana.Architectural and archaeological museum of the Tower Burana.Architectural and archaeological museum of the Tower Burana.

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Photos
Alexander Petrov.