The Kenty Baba necropolis, a revered site in the Mangystau region, stands as the cradle of a profound history. This heritage site, with origins dating back to the 10th-16th centuries, is situated 56 kilometers north of Fort Shevchenko, nestled between the villages of Shetpe and Shayir.
Kenty Baba was once a revered and devout man, known for preaching the principles of Islam. Local residents hold the necropolis in high regard, considering it a sacred place due to its association with Kenty Baba’s religious teachings.
The term “City of the Dead” attributed to the Kenty-Baba necropolis signifies its status as a burial ground rather than a dwelling place for the living. This necropolis, shrouded in mystery, is said to contain 130 memorial monuments. Some accounts suggest that individuals who perished in wars are interred here.
The necropolis is adorned with various depictions, including animals like argali, horses, and camels, as well as symbols such as triangles (amulets) and drawings of an open palm. These artistic elements are believed to serve as protective measures against malevolent forces, enhancing the sanctity of the site.
The necropolis features three mausoleums, with two situated closely to each other, while the third has been destroyed. Notably, one of the mausoleums includes a single passage and a staircase leading upward. This design allows people to ascend and engage in prayer at a designated area on the observation deck, resembling a steppe mosque.
As of January 5, 2018, by decree of the Akimat of the Mangistau region, the necropolis has been officially recognized and included in the State List of Historical and Cultural Monuments of Local Significance. Additionally, it holds a place in the list of sacred objects of regional significance as part of the “Geography of Holy Places of Kazakhstan” project under the broader initiative “Future Orientation: Spiritual Revival” (“Bolashaka Bagdar: Rukhani Zhangyru”). (See https://mangystau.inmap.kz/kz/places/title=kentyi_baba_koryimyi_570&page=2)
It is worth highlighting that the Kenty-Baba necropolis is situated just two kilometers away from the underground mosque of Sultan-epe. This proximity may hold additional historical or cultural significance, connecting these two sites in the rich tapestry of the region’s heritage.