For history buffs, Kazakhstan is a treasure trove waiting to be explored. Across its vast landscape lie thousands of monuments – some dating back to a million years ago.
Since the mid-1930s, local scientific institutions have carried out archaeological excavations that have unearthed some historical gems.
Today, Kazakhstan is home to some 25,000 immovable monuments of historical and cultural heritage, of which 70 to 80 per cent are archaeological sites. These are complemented by architectural monuments and works of monumental art such as sculptures and mosaics.
However, this data – available since the Soviet era – is something of a mystery. No one has accurately accounted for the number of archaeological monuments in Kazakhstan; not even within individual districts. For all we know, the number of archaeological sites in Kazakhstan could be ten, or even a hundred times more than what has been recorded.
In addition, archaeological sites are unevenly distributed across the country, which meant that some areas were studied more in depth than others. As active archaeological work was carried out in the South and East, more monuments were discovered there.
World civilisation in Kazakhstan
Despite the varying numbers, there is one thing Kazakhstan can be sure of – hosting the largest archaeological expedition in the entire Soviet Union, in the ancient city of Otrar. Located in South Kazakhstan, the Otrar oasis is a 200 square-kilometre area on the Unesco World Heritage Centre’s Tentative List – a property considered for nomination.
The ruins were once a vibrant urban complex that housed medieval cities and agricultural settlements in the 17th and 18th century, and is now a modern archaeological site. But the remnants of human civilisation discovered in Kazakhstan go back even further to the Lower Palaeolithic age, which is more commonly known as the Early Stone Age.
In Kazakhstan, almost all types of archaeological sites related to ancient and medieval life are recorded. They define entire cultural complexes of that particular period, characterise the system of cultural values and life, and are material evidence of human activity.
By reconstructing cultural and historical processes, scientists can determine the level of technological advancements and the dynamics of changes that took place during those bygone eras.
With such rich monuments bearing testament to ancient civilisations, Kazakhstan is definitely a unique region that holds many secrets of our world’s history.