The city of Otrar excavations

One of big trading, craft and cultural centres that emerged on the ancient “Silk road”, was the great city with its famous suburbs Kokmardan, Cedar, Oksyz, Karakose, busy, famous as centers of trade and handicraft Affairs, science and culture and gave the world such outstanding scientists-Encyclopaedists, as Abu Nasr al-Farabi (870-950), Gabbas Side al-Jauhari (IX century), Ishaq al-Farabi (d. 961), Ismail al-Jauhari (mind. 1002), Ahmed al-Otari (XI—XII). Otrar had a clear layout of streets, blocks, squares, which was accessed through three gates, equipped with reversible bridges over the moat. The presence in the city mint coinage, artisan quarters, sanitation shows developed in the early middle ages urban life.

Only adjacent to the downtown area was more than 10 large and small towns, for many miles stretched his agricultural district with excellent irrigation facilities. In thicker multi-layer giant hill on an area of 20 hectares, what appears before us today Otrar, archaeologists K. A. Akishev, K. M. Baypakov, L. B. Erzakovich and others found the remains of material culture from the first centuries up until the first quarter of the eighteenth century, when the last inhabitants left in this desolate city.I had my reasons. Barely revived after the Mongol invasion, the city was repeatedly subjected to difficult tests, and became the scene of fierce clashes first between the rulers of the Golden Horde and Tamerlane, then Kazakh and Central Asian khanates.

Starting from the XV century, with the advent of the great geographical discoveries of the ancient “silk road” lost its former importance. Here less and less began to go the caravans of merchants with goods from different countries. Gradually declined, the artisanal, the network of ancient irrigation systems, the scale of farming. But the city continued to live until the eighteenth century. It is noteworthy that the architectural and design techniques Otrar dwellings, objects of material culture found in this once flourishing oasis are analogous in the Kazakh housing construction, the traditional culture of the Kazakh people, emphasizing the interrelationship of cultures, generations. In 2001-2004 there has been a project of UNESCO, Kazakhstan and Japan “Preservation and conservation of ancient Otrar”.

Since 2004, the state program “Revival of ancient Otrar”. It is planned to create archaeological Museum under the open sky. Otrar is the birthplace of the famous medieval mathematician and philosopher al-Farabi. Near the Fort is the mausoleum of revered Sufi Arystan Baba (Arslan-Bab). According to historical sources, after the execution of Genghis Khan’s ambassadors, the town was destroyed by the Mongols in 1219. In January, 1405, in Otrar in the beginning of his campaign to China, Timur died. In modern Kazakhstan the name “Otrar” is popular: it is worn cafe, hotel, train, TV channels, etc.


Having venerated the Holy places, we go to the ancient city of Otrar. This is the remains of the famous medieval city of Otrar, located in the Kyzylkum district (now Otrar) of South-Kazakhstan region in 10 kilometers to the West railway station Timur, near the confluence of the Arys and the Syr Darya just before the mausoleum of Arystan-Bab. The first excavations at the hillfort were conducted in 1904.

In 1979 began a large-scale archaeological excavations, after which Otrar became the first archeological reserve in Kazakhstan. The first object to view, we chose a restored ancient bath. It was a partial remodel and is protected by a special roof for a better safety against natural disasters. Next we’re headed to the citadel.

Yes, an impressive sight – the depth of the excavation is 6-8 meters. It is the base of the tower and ancient buildings can be seen the ancient walls of mud brick and feel the narrow ancient streets. Also visible is the remains of an ancient gate, whose height more than 7 metres. In the Central part of the settlement, by the Kazakh archaeologists and UNESCO, produced a significant reconstruction of the ancient quarters of the settlement. You can walk around and imagine how in ancient times there lived people. To look into the nooks and crannies of history and ancient centers.

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