The Syr Darya part is marked by well preserved rest stops: a chain oases and towns through present steppe, desert an semi-desert area, following when ever possible to big water arteries like the Chu, Syr Darya, Arys and Bugun Rivers. Traveling in a westward direction from Ispidzhab the caravan road went to Arsubaniket on the Arys river, then to Otrar (Farab), and then down The Syr Darya- in Priaralye. On The Syr Darya part the biggest towns were Otrar (Farab) in the Otrar oasis, Yassy (Turkestan), Shavgar, Sauran, Sygnak and the towns of Dzhetyasar oasis, Dzhent, Dzhankent and Khuvara. From the Dzhankent oasis the road went to northeastern, following the banks of Beleuty river to Kounrada, Karasakpay region.

The Saryarka Section of the Silk Road in Kazakhstan was in vast territory of the “Great Steppe” of the Central Kazakhstan — Desht-I Kipchak — and incorporating and passing through many small rivers, the Ulytau foothills and the banks of Ishim, Nura, Sarysu and Irtysh Rivers. 1) The main Sarysu path went through Central Kazakhstan: from Otrar through Shavgar and Turgay pass to Aksumbe, then to the lower Sarysu and up along the river to Ulytau, and from there to Ishim along the Irtysh River. 2) A shorter path went through Suzak to the Lower reaches of the Chu, and from there through Betpak-Dala desert to the Dzhezkazgan region. 3) Another road “Khanzhol” has been used until the present time: it was from Taraz down along the Talas River through the Muyunkum and Betpak-Dala desert area to the banks of the Atasu river. According to information from the medieval chroniclers Tamim ibn Bakhra and al-Idrisi, there was a trade path to Kimaks in Irtysh from Taraz through Adakhkes and Dekh Nujikes towns. 4) The Ili valley connected with the Central Kazakhstan by the road which went along the north slopes of Chu-Ilii mountains, then along Chu river in its lower reaches to the Sarysu banks, and also the northern Ili route, described above. 5) From the northern Ili road, which led to Djungar gates, there was a route around Alakol Lake and from western side of the lake through Tarbagatay to the Irtysh River –– to the land of Kimaks, a state state with the Bandzhar, Khanaush, Astur, Sisan and “capital” of Khakan. Following the Ishim river, the roads lead to Bozok town then lead to the north and west.

The Mangyshlak (Uralo-Prikaspiyskiy) section of the Silk Road is located on the eastern side of the Caspian Sea, an area of deserts and semi-deserts, differentiated by wide diversity of climatic and natural conditions. The population in this area was a conglomerate of nomadic and cattle-breeding tribes, who controlled trade roads, adjusted to the system of wells, springs, small and rivers. It was possible to reach lower Ural and Volga Rivers from Urgench, following the road of Ustyurt caravanserais. On this part of the road there Kyzylkala town was located. Passing through the territories of Southern and Northern Priaralye the trade arteries led to the towns on Ural (Zhaiyk) river: Saraichik and Zhaiyk. From there the caravans traveling in westward direction moved on to Europe, Crimea and Caucasus. Caravans also used the “Zhaiyk road” to the Esatern Priuralye, Ural and Povolzhye.

II) The Syr Darya sector of the Silk Road include the following objects on this nomination: 9) Zhuan Tobe Ancient Settlement; 10) Karaspan Tobe Ancient Settlement; 11) Borizhary Burial Ground; 12) Kul Tobe Ancient Settlement; 13) Monuments of Otrar Oasis; 14turkestanancient Settlement; 15) Sidak Ancient Settlement; 16) Sauran Ancient Settlement (Sauran Archeological Complex); 17) Sygnak Ancient Settlement; 18) Monuments of Dzhetyasar Oasis; 19) Zhankala (Dzhend) Ancient Settlement; 20) Zhankent Ancient Settlement; 21) Kuyuk-kesken Kala Ancient Settlement; 22) Chirik-rabat Ancient Settlement; 23) Babish-mulla Ancient Settlement; 24) Balandy Settlement;

III) Saryarka sector of the Silk Road included the following objects on this nomination: 25) Bozok ancient settlement; IV) Mangyshlak or Uralo-prikaspiyskiy sector of the Silk Road include the following objects on this nomination: 26) Kyzylkala ancient settlement) 27) Zhayik ancient settlement; 28) Saraychik ancient settlement

Silk Road

According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “Beginning its existence from the 2nd century B.C. and till the end of 15th century of A.D. this network of roads starting from Chan’an (modern Xian) and spreading from East Asia to Mediterranean to West and Southwest and down to Indian subcontinent, was contributing and creating conditions for intercontinental trade. [Source: UNESCO]

“In its turnover there were cultural and material values of different nations and countries. Chinese silk was one of the most valuable goods, but also there were many other goods distributed by these roads: precious metals and stones, ceramics, perfumery, incense and spices, goods made of cotton and wool, glass, wine, amber, carpets and thoroughbred horses. This trade, connecting various civilizations, existed during centuries and was supported by system of caravanserais, commercial centers, trading towns and fortresses extending for more than 10 thousand kilometers, which probably makes the most long cultural route in the history of humanity.

“However, The Silk Road transported not only goods.The Silk Road transported Buddhism, Judaism, Islam and Christianity, Zoroastrism and Manichaeism. Scientific and technological achievements also spread by this route, for example such ones from China: paper, powder, magnetic compass and porcelain, whereas engineering achievements (particularly, bridge construction) and growing of cotton, cultivation of grape vine were spread from Central Asia, Middle East, Mediterranean and West. The exchange of medical knowledge and medicine also was happening. The same road went diplomatic missions, establishing international contacts.”

Silk Road in Kazakhstan

The northern spur of the Silk Road runs through part of southern Kazakhstan. The Silk Road is a network of routes linked Europe and Asia, passing through Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in Central Asia. In Kazakhstan one of the main, the route went through the Tien Shan Mountains, Otrar, Taraz and Chimkent (Shykment). The Silk Road in Kazakhstan was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2012.

Scientists have divided the Silk Road in Kazakhstan into four sections:According to a report submitted to UNESCO: 1) Semirechye, 2) The Syr Darya, 3) Saryarka and 4) Mangyshlak (Uralo-Prikaspiyskiy). Each of these parts is characterized by its natural- geographical conditions and historical development, including urban with clear influence on process of formation, development and stagnation of historical and cultural monuments, situated in these regions of Silk Road routes. These complicated processes of indissoluble connections of culture, natural, historical process, influence with communications show not only means of human adaptation to different kind of climate conditions, but also ways of mutual enrichment by exchange of human values and cultural traditions, which reflected in preserved cultural monuments which in present mark the important human communications. [Source: UNESCO]

The routes of the Silk Road were not static. Over the centuries different routes and branches opened up. Some routes died died out totally, and towns and trade stations that served them also died out. In the 6th-8th centuries the main line was Syria – Iran – Central Asia – Southern Kazakhstan – Talas valley – Chu valley – Issykkul kettle – Eastern Turkestan. A branch of this road lead to the places mentioned above from the Byzantine area through Derbent in Prikapispiyskiy steppe, and Mangyshlak, in Priaralye, in Southern Kazakhstan (in Sasanid Iran, after concluding trade-diplomatic union between the Western Turk Khanate and Byzantium). In 9th-12th century this route was used but there was less traffic. In the 13th-16th centuries activity picked up again when it was part of the Mongol Empire).

Otrar Ancient and Medieval Settlements

Ortrar (170 kilometers northwest of Shymkent, 10 kilometers to the west from Timur railway station) is a ghost city on the Silk Road was once so city great it drew Genghis Khan to Central Asia. There is little of the ancient city today other than an expanse of ruins and an 11th century mausoleum that is in surprisingly good condition.

Otrar Ancient Settlements and Monuments of Otrar oasis was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1998. Otrar oasis is an area of 200 square kilometers with archaeological remains of medieval towns and structures of irrigation. The main town is Otrar (A.D. 1st to 16th centuries). Other towns are Kuyruk-Tobe (A.D. 1st to 15th centuries) Altyn — Tobe (A.D. 1st to 11th centuries), Pshakshi-Tobe (A.D. 1st to 12th centuries), Mardan-Kuyk (A.D. 1st to 15th centuries) and Kok-Mardan (A.D. 1st to 7th centuries). “Tobe” means hill.

According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “Otrar town is the largest medieval hillfort of Kazakhstan with an area of 170 hectares: in the A.D. first century it was part of the Kangju empire; at the beginning of the 8th century it was the capital of the Kangars tribal confederation (Petchenegues) with the name of Kangu-Targan and later of Farab. Abn Nasr Farabi was born here in 870 and Timur died here in 1405. It has all the typical features of a medieval Central Asian town: citadel, shahristan (a town in itself), rabat (suburbs) and fields, everything surrounded by walls.

“Today the landscape is reduced to semidesert and the towns are in ruin, but, until the 15th century, Otrar, together with the rest of the oasis, represented the main urban centre on the marginal zone between southern towns and northern steppes, between settlers and nomads of Central Asia. The oasis constituted a peaceful economical and cultural complex, an avant-post in attracting northern nomads, settling them down, and so importing elements of the nomadic culture into the sedentary societies. This is reflected in the town planning, architecture, in the art of pottery and jewelry.

Borizhar Ancient Burial Grounds

Borizhar Burial Grounds (60 kilometers northwest of Shymkent, on the left bank of Arys river, near where the Badam River flows into it) dates from the 2nd century B.C. to the A.D. 7th century. Occupied by the Kauchin culture and Kangyuy, it is part of The Silk Road in Kazakhstan, nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2012.

According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “Borizhar burial ground is the biggest necropolis of South Kazakhstan. Burial mounds of earth are spread all over the left bank of Arys’ river, for more than 13 kilometers from Karaultobe settlement to the mouth of Badam river which falls into Arys’ river on the opposite side of Karaspan (Obruchevka) settlement. The width of burial area in some places reach 1-2 kilometers covering the upper river terrace. River bank in that place is indented with ancient ravines. Hundreds of unsystematically situated burial mounds occupy slopes and surface of uplands. This huge burial field consists of burial mount complexes of different periods, separate burial mounds which over time became a one huge massive. [Source: UNESCO]

Zhuantobe Ancient Settlement

Zhuantobe Ancient Settlement (left bank of Arys river, northeastern outskirt of Kultogan village) dates to the 1st century B.C. – A.D. 9th century. Occupied by the Kauchin culture, Kangar-Pecheneg, Oghuz Turks and Sogdians, it is part of The Silk Road in Kazakhstan, which was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2012

According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “ The site of ancient settlement has two-part structure: the central part looks like “tobe” with a ground at the top and the territory looks like a “ring-shaped hilling” surrounding the central part, distant with 20 to 60 meters from the central part. The first is a hillock of conic form with abrupt walls and a ground at the top. Its sizes are 85x75 meters and the ground is 65x55 meters, the height of “tobe” is 17 meters. The three corners of it (except the northern one) have some remains of towers and it can be seen rather well. Around it, at a foot there is a ditch with the width of 40 meters and depth of 1.5-2 meters, and there is a development behind the ditch looking like a ring roll with the width of about to 60 meters and height of 6-7m. The east corner has a rupture with the width to 50 meters. The total area of the ancient settlement makes about 14 hectares. [Source: UNESCO]

Karaspan Ancient and Medieval Settlement

Karaspan Ancient Settlement (50 kilometers west of Shymkent) was occupied from the A.D. 1st century to the 18th century. Situated at the left bank of Arys river, to 2 kilometers to the east from Karaspan village. It was part of the Otrar-Karatau culture and was home to Sogdians, Turks, Sarts and Kazakhs. It is part of The Silk Road in Kazakhstan, nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2012.

According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “The central part of the ancient settlement is a high subdirect square in the plan “tobe”, the basis of it is 220-260 meters and the height is 22 meters. Around the ancient settlement there is a shakhristan development surrounded by roll. The sizes of its territory are 850х 600 meters. Outside of shakhristan the remains of rabid can be observed, but it is impossible to determine its sizes because it was thrown open and built up. [Source: UNESCO]

“The settlement is identified with Karasaman town, known to the sources of 14th to 18th centuries. The ancient settlement was explored by the South-Kazakhstani archaeological expedition (1948-1951) and the excavations were recommenced in 2004, 2008 by the South-Kazakhstani complex archaeological expedition.

Kultobe Ancient and Medieval Settlement

Kultobe Ancient Settlement (50 kilometers west of Shymkent) was occupied from the A.D. 1st century to the 17th century. Situated near to Karaspan village and Karaspan ancient settlement, it was home to Kangyuys and Kazakhs. It is part of The Silk Road in Kazakhstan, nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2012.

According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “The monument’s citadel is almost destroyed by waters of Arys’ river. The remained part represents a rib with height of 7.5 meters and area of about 150 square meters with precipitous west slope. The slope cutting revealed building constructions made of “pakhsa” and rectangular mudbricks with size of 35x30x10 centimeters. Kultobe “ground” has an irregular trapeziform layout with the following side sizes: 210х150х100х180 meters. The steepest slopes are in the west part of the monument: central and north parts show some lowering. South part has round rising grounds; most probably these were defensive towers. An average height of Kultobe ground is 5-6 meters.

“In scientific area the settlement became well known due to the scriptial monuments that were found there. Historical interpretation of the inscription was made by the French explorer, France Grenei. Probably, the inscription informs about a building of a city on a place of Kultobe ancient settlement by “the leader of army”, most possibly, “the leader of army of the Chacha people”. Probably, he headed the army in the name, or jointly with leaders of four basic cities-states of the central and southern Sogdiana: Samarkand, Kish, Nakhshab and Bukhara. “The land belonging to (our) people” and “[the land belonging] to nomads” can be understood as the land conquered from nomads and divided between Sogdians. More possibly, it could mean that the borders between the arable lands belonging to Sogdians and pastures of nomads were determined by the mutual consent. It seems that "city" was located on this border or behind it. This city could be a part of a line of the boundary posts stretched along the river Arys’.

Sygnak Ancient Settlement

Sygnak Ancient Settlement (20 kilometers to the northwest of Tyumen-aryk railway station, 1.5 kilometers from the Turkestan- Kyzylorda border) dates to the A.D. 6th-14th centuries. Occupied by Oghuz Turks, Kipchaks and Kazakhs, it was part of The Silk Road in Kazakhstan, which was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2012

According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “It has a shape of a wrong pentagon in the plan. Shakhristan with a citadel located in a southeast part can be seen in its topography. The sizes of the sides of shakhristan are the following: North side – 250 meters, western – 360 meters, southern – 250 meters and southeast – 450 meters, northeast – 350 meters. The total area of the ancient settlement makes about 20 hectares. The shaft height which in the past had functions of the wall is about 6-7 meters. Building traces – manors, the rests of irrigated fields, channels can be observed around the central ruins in radius to two kilometers. [Source: UNESCO]

“The Sygnak city for the first time was mentioned in sources of the 10th century, and in 11th century it was named by Mahmud Kashgar among cities of “Oguz”. In the 12th century Sygnak becomes a capital of Kipchak state association and remains in that role until the beginning of the 13th century.

“Dzhuvejni historian describes the defeat of a city by Mongols in 1220. Despite destructions, the city has been built up and in the middle of 13th century Sygnak is mentioned among the routes of Getuma Armenian tsar. Gradually the city becomes a large political and economic center on Syr-Darya. In 13th century Sygnak becomes a capital of Ak-Horde; mosques, baths, other public constructions are being constructed inside of it. Located on a brisk line of the Silk Road, the city prospered because of trade and crafts up to 16th century. Sygnalk as well as the others Syr-Darya cities in 15th — 16th centuries became an arena of fierce struggle between possessors of the states of Central Asia and the Kazakh khans.”

At “the beginning of 16th century according to Ruzbihan, Sygnak experienced a decline – reduction in number of inhabitants whereas in the ancient time it “was a prospering, was surrounded by big constructions and the processed fields and was filled with various products and was a trading point for the Kazakh people. Merchants of areas of Turkestan, Maverannahr and from the East to boundaries of Kashgar, Hotana bring the goods of these countries to Sygnak and make commercial transactions and an exchange with people of Deshta. At this time Sygnak was known for architectural monuments and first of because of Kok-kesene mausoleum. The city has eventually become desolated, as well as many other Syr-Darya cities in the middle of 19th century.”


Kyzylorda Region(Oblast) is located in southern Kazakhstan. It borders the Kazakhstan regions of South Kazakhstan to the east, Karaganda to the north and Aktobe to the northwest. The Aral Sea to the west and Uzbekistan is to the south. The landscape of Kyzylorda is diverse but mostly occupied by desert and steppe. The Syr Darya — one of the great rivers of Central Asia — runs roughly southeast to northwest through the middle of Kyzylorda Region on its way from the Tian Shan mountains to the Aral Sea. The Soviets intensively irrigated the Syr Darya, mainly to grow cotton. . Very hot in the summer and cold in the winter, the Kyzylorda Region covers 226,000 square kilometers. It is sparsely populated and home to only 800,000 people. Its population density is only about five people per square kilometers (12 people per square mile). The overwhelming majority of the population is made up of Kazakhs, followed by Russians, then Koreans, Tatars and Ukrainians. There are also a few Jews and Caucasus peoples such as Chechens, Ingush and Armenians. The population is mostly urban. The rural population is mainly engaged in rasing livestock and growing of rice, fruits and vegetables. It is in the countryside preserved many folk customs, traditions and ceremonies.

The capital of Kyzylorda Region is Kyzylorda City, with a population of 235,000. Other notable cities and town include Aral, Kazaly (Kazalinsk) and the Russian-administered Baikonur, the home of the Baikonur Cosmodrome. In the south of Kyzylorda Region is the Karatau mountain range. The southeast is dominated by Kyzyl Kum desert, one of the world’s largest deserts. The Aral Sea was once a bountiful fishing ground that provided a good life for those who lived around it. But the settlements around the sea have died as the Aral Sea has dried up.

There are many ancient and medieval monuments, many of them linked with the Silk Road. Among these are the ruined towns and of Jend, Sauran and Yangikent. Jend was founded by the Oghuz Turks. From the 11th century until the Mongol invasion in the 13th century it was a major Central Asian city on the banks of the Syr Darya. Well-known figures of the Muslim world lived here. According to the medieval opus of Jihan Nam, in the 12th century, the Aral Sea was called Jend Sea.

Bozok Medieval Settlement

Bozok Settlement (east outskirt of Astana on shore of Bozok Lake) dates to the 8h to 14th century that was inhabited by Kipchaks and Dzhuchid. Situated in an area that is advantageous both geographically and strategically, it is part of The Silk Road in Kazakhstan, which was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2012.

Settlement excavations started in 1999 the revealed that site was Bozok (also spelled Buzok) was first a city-fortress and the military centre on the steppe Silk Road in the 8th-10th centuries. Later it became the residence of a Kipchak governor, a religious-cult centre and a rest stop for travelers and caravans. Houses were built of burn bricks manufactured in local workshops. In the settlement, a water supply and sewerage system existed. From the 13th to 15th centuries there were places interpreted as sacred areas and burial places. Archeologists found burial of a woman warrior dated to the 13th century.

According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “The roll remains, ditches surrounding them can be seen on a modern surface. They fence three quarters. The lay-out of the quarters located in the form of the three-petal socket and grouped round the central platform is interesting. The monument relates to the medieval epoch, to the period when the territory of the Central Asia was in the structure of Kipchak state. Important researches have been spent on a monument in 1997-2009 by expedition of the Euroasian state university of L.Gumilev, headed by Professor K.A. Akishev and M..K. Khabdulina. [Source: UNESCO]

Kyzyl Kala Medieval Settlement

Kyzyl Kala Settlement (18 kilometers on SSV, in Shetpe settlement, Mangistau region) dates to the 10th to 13th centuries and was occupied by Turks and Sogdians. The basic part of a site of ancient settlement stretched along two mouth channels which merged in a single channel. The site is part of The Silk Road in Kazakhstan, which was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2012.

According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “The site of ancient settlement consists of the remains of the central fortification and numerous of manors around. Fortification can be distinctly read on a high roll (height of a roll is 3 meters) and viewed central, square fortification in the plan surrounded by a stone wall in width of 1.2-2 meters. The medium part of a northwest wall has a main gate arranged. Structurally these are formed by two towers. Projecting elements of stone layings from outer side of walls of a fortress show angular and two intermediate towers with a total number of 13. Buildings round a fortress are seen on the bases of constructions, places of mass distribution of elevating materials − crocks of pottery, fragments of “plinfa”, and fragments of bones of animals. The total area of a site of ancient settlement makes 50 hectares. [Source: UNESCO]

“The town was founded on the northern branch of the Silk Road as a trading settlement. Initially it was the centre of attraction of local population as well as nomads, merchants, who came not only from Central Asia, but Europe. After sometime the settlement was seized by the nomads. Appeared the first record that here Khoresm fought with Kipchaks. After that there was a reconstruction, the settlement was enclosed with thick stronghold wall of 2 meters thickness. There were numerous buildings made from mudbrick. Kyzyl-Kala town did not last long. Life here has faded in the first half of the 13th century. During excavations, archaeologists have not found any Golden Horde materials. We can assume that at this time caravans did not pass here.

Golden Horde Settlement of Zhaiyk

The settlement Zhaiyk (10 kilometers south of of Oral) is a medieval monument: settlement on a a terrace right above-flood level on Ural river, dating from the 13th to 14th centuries was mainly inhabited by the Golden Horde. It is part of The Silk Road in Kazakhstan, which was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2012.

According to a report submitted to UNESCO: The city on the site of Zhaiyk was at its height in in the first half of 14th century, during the period of reign of khan Uzbek (1313-1339) and Dzhanibek (1312-1357) characterized in the history of the Golden Horde as the years of greatest stability and prosperity of urban culture. The settlement is a monument of the urban culture of Zhoshy khan period reign perfectly conveys the image of medieval city, life, culture, economy of the population. The monument represents the important historical and cultural centre, located in the Uralo-Caspian sector of the Silk Road. Archeological excavations have shown close trade and economic and cultural communication of a city with the cities of Semirechyr, Central Asia and Iran. Zhaiyk was repeatedly mentioned by medieval historians and travelers. [Source: UNESCO]

In 2001-2004 explorations organized by the Institute of archeology of A.N. Margulan were conducted on a site of ancient settlement of Zhajyk, under the program “Cultural heritage”. Excavation of three closest hills has revealed the ruins of separate manors under them. Constructions have been made of mudbrick. Premises were heated with “kanns” – heating system. Economic holes-storehouses, garbage holes, sanitary-and-hygienic devices were located in premises. The thickness of the basic walls is 70-80 centimeters.

Comparison of plans, techniques of housing construction of Volga region cities and a site of ancient settlement of “Zhajyk” show that prevailing influence on building culture of cities in Ural river basin were made by traditions of housing construction of Khoresm and near-The Syr Darya oases. Plans of the dwellings explored on a site of ancient settlement coincide with plans of dwellings of after-Mongolian Urgench, Otrar and Turkestan. The difference is observed in some details of an interior and heating system. The fact that in 13th-14th centuries there was enough developed city on a place of the Ural ancient settlement is testified by the ruins of a bath. For example, the bath revealed in Otrar ancient settlement of 13th-14th centuries and similar baths of the city of Kayalyk and cities of the Volga region are constructed according to a coherent plan with some insignificant variations.

Saraychik Settlement: Cradle of the Kazakh Horde

Saraishyk Settlement(75 kilometers north of Atyrau) is one of the most extensive and well-preserved medieval sites of Kazakhstan. Regarded as the cradle of the Kazakh Horde, it was a stop on the Silk Road and was occupied from the 10th to 16th centuries by Golden Horde, the Nogay and Kazakhs. The site is located near the Ural River between the Ural Mountains and the Sarachinka channel. A part of a site of ancient settlement is built up near Saraychik village. The south and the north sides were protected by walls. The ruins extend along the river for on one and a half kilometers. A new mosque and museum are located at the site. . Saraishyk Ancient Settlement is part of The Silk Road in Kazakhstan, which was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2012. According to a report submitted to UNESCO: Saraychik settlement has an area of 100 hectares. It is a plain steppe area with low rolling hills. In the southeastern part of the monument Saraychik is partially built upwith “aul”, and from the west and southwestern part by the burials, southern part is washed by the river. Behind the burial and aul there is Ural River flow, formerly the main channel of the river Ural was held here, and the town was located on the east coast. The thickness of the cultural layer in the coastal area, 1.5 — 2 meters, excluding household pits and hills — rolled off the remnants of houses. [Source: UNESCO]

“According to the historical version, Saraychik was founded in the middle of the 13th century by Batu Khan (1227-1256) in a convenient location, and most importantly — on the host site of junction of Europe and Asia. Through it ran the Silk Road from European countries and the capital of the Golden Horde Sarai Berke on the Volga River to the cities of Khorezm, Kazakhstan, India, Iran and China. Now we have descriptions of many merchants and travelers about the direction of this road. In "Dorozhnik" Hamdallaha Qazwini, written around 1339, shows the transition points on the way indicating the distance. Same we can meet in the writings of Arab geographer al-Omari (XIVcentury). Trade route of the road from Saraichik to Urgench in length of "month road" was supplied by wells and caravanserais. Saraychik was an important political center. Here was carried out a procedure of the accession to the khan throne of the Golden Horde Zhanibek (1341-1357), Berdibek (1357-1359 ) and other members of the dynasty of Dzhuchids.

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: Kazakhstan Tourism website, Kazakhstan government websites, UNESCO, Wikipedia, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Japan News, Yomiuri Shimbun, Compton's Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Updated in August 2020

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