Max travel Kazakhstan Agency

Max travel Kazakhstan Agency


Historic – archaeological tours

Semirechie (Almaty region) is one of the most attractive regions for the development of tourism because there are different memorials of nature, history and culture on its territory. For one day in Semirechie you can cross all climatic zones from deserts to the snowy peaks of the Zailisky Alatau. Not far from Almaty there is a wide range of cultural and historical sites. First of all these are numerous and diverse archaeological monuments: Issyk barrows and the golden decorations of the Scythians, Medieval towns on the Great Silk Way and petrogliphs of the Bronze Age. But archaeological monuments are a difficult matter. Many ancient settlements are covered by earth or destroyed with time. To see such sites you should have specialist knowledge or have a qualified quide. Our company organises historical-archaeological tours under the supervision of guides who are well qualified and who can help you to know more about the history of the people that inhabited Semirechie in ancient times.

 Ancient settlements on the territory of Semirechie

In this region the traces of ancient man are preserved as stands or as individual stone instruments. The population of the region lasted for several centuries. Firstly there were tribes of shepherds. When it grew warmer and droughts were frequent the foothills and then mountains of Tian Shan started to become populated. A few dwellings of the bronze age were excavated in Semirechie. These were mud huts with the walls sunk in the ground for 1-2 m, made of stones and clay. Such excavations can be seen on the plateau Assy in Turgen gorge (12-10 centuries BC) and in the valley of the river Koksu (settlements Kuygan and Talapty, 10 -9 centuries BC). The biggest settlement in Semirechie with traces of irrigation system of the early Iron Age is sutuated on the river Charyn-Sary-Togai. It is more than 2 km long. On the surface there are scattered fragments of iron cauldrons, jugs, bowls and stone instruments.

Tombs on the territory of Semirechie

Nowadays about a hundred tombs of the Bronze Age have been found. A few score have been studied. First of all there are tombs in the mountains Anrahai and Tamgaly. The tombs of the people of the Andron culture in Tamgaly date back to 14-11 centuries. BC. Together with the pottery the bronze earrings and necklaces have been found in them. Also a big collection of petrogliphs and a settlement have been found in Tamgaly. The burial constructions of the Bronze Age were not covered by earth after the excavations. The tourists left them open for examination. The buried people were lying in stone coffins in crooked poses with their heads towards the west and with their wrists pressed to the chin. A different type of burial was discovered in Zailisky Alatau (plateau Assy and on the mound in the gorge Kolsai). The previously unknown burials were made in wooden coffins with subsequent cremation. These were collective burials of 3 to 8 people.

Tombs of the early Iron Age

In the early Iron Age the tribes of Scythians populated the territory of Semirechie. Numerous barrows of the nomad Scythians impress us by their large size: many of them were more than
100 m in diameter. The big barrows are called the tsar barrows. Most of them were robbed in ancient times. Of the artefacts those barrows had inside them we can judge by the famous barrow near Issyk where the tomb of a young man and a few hundred gold artefacts were found. There are interesting barrows Beshatyr in the national park Altyn Emel, where 31 barrows are concentrated in one place. The biggest one is 108 m in diameter and 17 m high. The barrows are surrounded by mengirs, groups of seven vertically and horizontally laid stones, which very much remind us of Stonehenge.


The most famous petrogliphs of the the bronze age are in the mountains Anrahai (Tamgaly), In the mountains Chu Ili and in the mountains Eshki Olmes. The large quantity of petroglifs in Tian Shan is explained by the fact that there are black rock-faces darkened by the sun, which are very suitable for engraving the pictures. The ancient artists painted scenes of hunting, sacrificial rituals, battles, mythological plots: scenes with the sun gods and with people dressed in animal skins. Petrogliphs had important information in them. It was a peculiar sign system. The places where they were engraved were considered sacred. These were sanctuaries under the sky. With the change of epochs the lifestyle changed and consequently the art images and ways of painting them. For example, in one of the biggest sanctuaries in the mountains Eshki-Ol mes there are petrogliphs of three epochs. The images in the gorge Taigak in Altyn Emel are also interesting. The petroglighs are scattered in the main gorge as well as in side crevices. Also in the canyon there are 50 buddhist in scriptures. In the upper part of the gorge there are petrogliphs of the middle ages depicting warriors on horseback, animals and a scene with figures of people and ancient instruments.

Middle age towns of Semirechie and Kazakhstan

Travelling along the Great Silk Way visiting the towns of Taraz, Turkestan and the ruins of the ancient city of Otrar is very interesting. In Semirechie there are ruins of the biggest city Koyalyk (modern village Koilyk). Today the ruins look like hillocks 5-10 m high and up to several km in perimeter.  The planning of the cities in the Eastern and Western parts of Semirechie is different. In the Eastern part there are no citadels. They started to build cities in Semirechie since the 7 th century but most of them appeared from 10th to 13th centuries. The middle age cities appeared as a rule along the caravan routes: for example, from the city of Taraz to the village Kulan and then further to the cities of the Chu valley. From the Chu valley the route went to the eastern Semirechie through the Kasteksky pass, where there are ruins of the city of Kastek in the upper part of the gorge.

By request of the tourists any tour can be developed. There are a few standard ones.

1 day tour
1. Almaty – gorge Tamgaly – grave Ungurtas – Almaty
Distance is 180 km, driving time to the starting point 2.5 -3 hours
2. Almaty – Issyk barrows – Turgen gorge – plateau Assy – settlement Assy – settlement Kyzyl Bulak – Almaty
Distance is 140 km, driving time is 2-3 hours.

2 days tour
1. Almaty – canyon of the river Charyn –Ash tree grove –settlement Aktobe – Wooden Lake Almaty
Distance to the starting point 250 km, driving time is 4.5 hours, sleeping in the cottages of the Ash Datcha.
2. Almaty – village Mukry – mountains Eshki Olmes – Almaty
Distance is 270 km; driving time is 5 h., sleeping in tents.

4 days tour on the Great Silk Way
Almaty – Taraz – Turkestan – Otrar – Almaty

On the way visiting settlements, graves. Sleeping in the hotels of Taraz and Tur towns.

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