Anyone who would like to get to know the history of Mangistau should visit its historical and cultural places to immerse themselves in the secrets of the sacred land. The region, akin to a living historical museum, continues to captivate visitors with its myriad and diverse attractions. Presently, it boasts four medieval historical settlements, with the ancient city of Kyzylkala standing prominently among them, rightfully earning its place on the list of 100 sacred sites in our country. Recognized as a significant trade and craft center, Kyzylkala holds profound historical importance, with archaeological findings unveiling exhibits that offer insights into the culture, economy, and distinctive features of its era.
Location of the Ancient Settlement of Kyzylkala
Situated 20 km northwest of the village of Shetpe in the Mangistau region, the Kyzylkala settlement rests gracefully on the banks of the Akmysh spring. The primary town extends along two river channels, spanning 700 meters from north to south and 400 meters in width, covering a vast area of 50 hectares.
Historical Background of the Kyzylkala Settlement
Kyzylkala, believed to have been a bustling trade and craft city in its prime, has a storied past. Originally, the site hosted a caravanserai, which later evolved into a fortress enclosed by stone fences and fortified with 13 watchtowers. Around this fortress, a thriving city of merchants and artisans gradually took shape.
Archaeological revelations within the ancient settlement have unearthed a treasure trove of valuable artifacts, including Baltic amber, Chinese jade, Indian and Egyptian glass, Badakhshan blue stone (lapis lazuli), and Mediterranean corals. These discoveries bear witness to the intricate web of craft and trade connections that once thrived within the city, painting a vivid picture of its diverse and cosmopolitan character.
Kyzylkala as a tourist site
For those seeking to step back in time and soak in the ambiance of a bygone era, the city of Kyzylkala stands as a must-visit destination. According to findings presented by archaeologist Andrei Astafiev, this city faced invasion on two occasions, a fact substantiated by the discovery of weapons during meticulous excavations. Kyzylkala emerges as a significant historical and cultural monument, holding immense importance for our country’s heritage.
Adding to its prestige, Kyzylkala secured a coveted spot on the original UNESCO World Heritage List in 2012, as part of the serial transnational Silk Road nomination. This recognition underscores the city’s pivotal role in the historical tapestry of the Silk Road, further emphasizing its contribution to the shared cultural heritage of nations along this ancient trade route. A visit to Kyzylkala promises not only a journey into the past but also an exploration of a UNESCO-acknowledged site that played a vital role in the interconnected history of civilizations.
Photo by akimat ofMangystau region