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Destinations and routes of the Great Silk Road

Destinations and routes of the Great Silk Road - e-history.kz

Kazakhstan section of the Silk Road, moving from west to east, was from Shasha (Tashkent) through the pass Turbat in Isfidzhab and Sayram (Saryam). The name of the ancient city has survived to this day. It is a settlement near Shymkent, in the center of which there are remains of a medieval fort, which was one of the largest centers of the Silk Road. Slaves, white cloths, guns, swords, copper and iron were exported from Isfidzhab.

Caravans went from Istfidzhab to the east to Taraz city through Sharab and Budukhket.
Taraz is one of the largest cities of Kazakhstan, it was already known in 6th century. The Turkic Kagan Dizabul in 568 took diplomatic embassy of Byzantine Emperor Justinian II led by strategist Zemarh. According to some sources Taraz was called the city of merchants. Moreover, it was the capital of the Turgeshs, and then the Karluks’ and Karakhanids’.

Dzhamukat city, which was mentioned in 6th century, located near to Taraz. Dzhamukat’s ruins are in the Talas valley near Dzhambyl, on the right bank of the Talas River, opposite to Mikhailovka village. Its ruins now called Kostobe — Double hump.

Atlah city, in the wall of which was the battle between Arabs and Chinese troops for influence, stood in the plains of the valley.
Not far from Taraz on the trade route, which goes down though Talas to the north, there is the town Adahket and Deh Nudzhikes. In the mountainous part of the Talas Valley there were also famous cities Sheldzhi, Sus, Kul and Tekabket. They emerged near the silver mines.
Caravans went to Talas Valley on the way from Fergana Valley through the pass Chanach on Chatkalsky ridge and Karabura in Talas Alatau. This stretch of the road linked «Fergana» and «Zhetusy» destinations of the Silk Road.

The route to Kulan went from Taraz to east. The territory between Taraz and Kulan belonged to Karluks. Road towards Kulan passed through the city Kasribas, Kul-Shub and Julie-Shub. Cities Merki and Aspara, in a four farsahs distance from each other, stood from Kulan further to east. Then caravans walked through the cities Nuzket and Harradzhuvan in Dzhul. The road from Dzhul led to Saryg, then in the «village Turkic kagan» and Kirmirau. The road from Kirmirau led to one of the largest cities of Zhetysu Navaket (Chinese Xingcheng). Both titles are translated as Novgorod. Navaket was the residence of the Turkish khagans and town of Sogdians.

Role of the capital proceeds to Balasagun city, early name of which was apparently Beklig or Semekna. Balasagun known as the capital of Karahanid then Karakitai, who destroyed it at the beginning of the 13th century. The city was rebuilt, but already in the 14th century it was ruined. The location of these cities is near modern Tokmak and matches two famous medieval monuments — fortresses Akbeshim and Burana.
The Silk Road Suyab was either the northern or the southern shores of Lake Issyk-Kul. On the southern segment of the caravans were large city Upper Barsahan, where northern marked with residues of small caravanserai whose names have not been preserved. Then these paths connected in Bedel pass, and through it or Tashrabat Silk Road led to Kashgar and Aksu.

Issyk-Kul basin of the pass and the valley Santas Karkara path led into the Ili valley and then along the right bank or through the valleys and truncating Khorgos in Almalyk, and on the northern tip of the Taklimakan Desert, through Hami and Turpan oasis — to Dunhuang in China.

In the 10th -12th centuries, one of the branches of the Silk Road crossed the entire Ili valley in the south-west to north-east. Offshoot began in Navakate, then went on through the pass and Bundzhiket Kastek led to the northern slopes of Trans-Ili Alatau. The pass was another road — from Balasaguna. There were discernible reference sacred mountains Urun-Ardzh. Route passed through the small towns in the foothills of Trans-Ili Alatau, located in place Kastek, Kaskelen and Almaty, and reached the city Talhiza (Talhira), which is located on the northern outskirts of Talgar. Here at the foot of the mountains on the right bank of Talgar there are the ruins of a large medieval fortress. Talhiz (Talhir) was a major center of transit trade.

There were other way to Ili valley: from Kulan, Aspara or Nuzket to the cities of middle and lower reaches of Chu.

In the Ili valley fell the other way: from Kulan, Aspar Nuzketa to cities or middle and lower reaches of Chu. The ford Tashutkul road went to the northern slopes of the mountains to Chu-Ili towns along the northern slopes of the Trans-Ili Alatau.

There are other way to get into Ili Valley: from Kulan, Aspara or Nuzket to the middle and lower reaches of Chu. The road passed through Tashutkul ford to the northern slopes of the Chuili mountains to towns along the northern slopes of the Trans-Ili Alatau.

The Silk Road forked in Talhize. The southern part was through Issyk Turgen Chilik to crossing through Ili near Borohudzira, and then on the right bank of Ili it passed through Horgos Almalyk, connecting with the route, marching here from the valley of Issyk-Kul. In this section of archaeologists found the ruins of the small towns of Issyk, Turgenev, Lavar and large town Chilik. On the right bank of Ili the road passed through modern settlements Kok-Tal and town Dzharkent. Ilibalyk loceed in the area of Kok-Tala.

North road from Talhiz passed along the Talgar River to crossing on the Ili River in Kapchagai canyon. After it the path led to Chingildy, then pass through the Altyn-Emel crossing the road led to the valley and reached the town Cox Ikioguz and reached the town Ikioguz, which located on the modern settlement Dunganovka. Wilhelm Rubruk calls the town Ekvius. Exactly here were found one of the largest settlements of the Ili Valley. According to the Wilhelm Rubruk who visited the city in 1253, it was inhabited with «Saracens» (Iranian merchants).

The road from Ikioguz led to Kayalyk (Koylak) — the capital of Karluk dzhabru. The city was famous for its bazaars. Apart from Muslims, Christians, who had their own church, also lived there.

The ambassador of the Louis IX Wilhelm Rubruk to Mongolian monk Mangu Khan visited the city.
Kajalyk was the capital of the Karluk, which in 9th — beginning of 13th century belonged to the Northeastern part of the Ili Valley. It located in the valley of Karatal River, on the outskirts of Antonovsk settlement. According to the W. Rubruk, the Christian settlement, from which the Silk Road passed, located near Kayalyk. Then he followed the valley Tentek and rounding Alakul through Dzhungarian gate led to the Shiho valley and from though Beshbalyk passed to Dunhuang and inner China.

There was the city, which was called «Capital of the region» by the travelers in 13th century, in the south-eastern tip of Alakul.

The caravan road went from Isfidzhab to Arsubaniket in Arys, in Otyrar-Farabi and further down the Syrdarya in the Aral Sea. The first name is still preserved in the name of a large settlement, located near the confluence Arysi the Syr Darya.

Otrar was host of many caravan routes. Hence, one road led to Shavgar and the other on the crossing of the Syr Darya to the city Vasidzhu. Of it was way up on the Syr Darya through Oguz city Syutkent in Shash and down in Dzhend. Hence, through the Kyzyl-Kum desert track was laid in Khorezm, Urgench, and then in the Volga and the Caucasus. This segment of the Silk Road was particularly busy in the 13th century and passed through Dzhend, Saraychik, Saray-Batu and Kaffa.

Shavgar already was known in sources in the 8th century, it corresponds to the mound Chui-Tobe located near Turkestan. On the site of the modern Turkestan near Shavgar in 10th-12th centuries. formed city of Yassy, where a famous poet, Sufi Ahmed Yasawi lived and preached.

Shavgar way of going to the city Yangikent — state capital of Oghuz. Hence, there was also a road through the Kyzyl-Kum desert in Khorezm.

The road passed from Shvgar to the northern slopes of the Karatau and ran parallel to the one ran along the Syrdarya.

The cities Suzak, Urosogan, Kumkent and Sugulkent stood in this way. It has access to lower riches of Talas, where it climbed up to Taraz, or passed along the western shore of the lake through the city Biylikul and Hutunchi also Taraz.

The main route of the Silk Road, passing through southern Kazakhstan and Zhetysu, retreated road to the north and east, which led to areas of Central and Eastern Kazakhstan steppe in Desht-i Kipchak, later known as the Sary-Arka, to the banks of the Irtysh, Altay and Mongolia. The steppe way, where tribes of mounted nomads, passed here. Rich in cattle, wool, skins, metal parts of Central Kazakhstan were involved in trade relations, including international, and included in many of the Silk Road caravan routes.

From Otyrar through Arsubaniket, vallyes Arystandy, Chayna, crossing the low mountains Karatau, from Shavgar and Yassy, from Sauran and Sygnak, from Yangikent the roads led to the steppes of central Kazakhstan and reached the shore of Sarysu and Kengir, Turgay and Ishim. The remains of medieval fortifications: Bolgan Ana, Zhaman-kurgan, Nogerbek-Daras, Dombgaul, Mila-Kuduk Ormambet were opened here. Apparently, the cities Zhubin, Kongliket, summer quarters Ortag and Keytag, ore developments Gabriana and Bakirlytaga that were mentioned in the medieval sources should be localized here.
From Taraz though the Adahkes and Deh-Nudzhikes cities the trade road passed to the Irtysh — to the residence of Khankans and Kimas, further into the Kyrgyz’s country in Yenisei.

Ili valley was connected with the Central Kazakhstan road that ran along the northern slopes of the Chu-Ili mountains, followed by Chu in its lower reaches and then to the shores Sarysu.

Another route depart from north-Ili near Chingildy and through Koktal and Boyauly passes — in Balkhash, and then along the channels of Ortasu River, where the remains of the Aktam city located and almost joined with the southern and northern shores of the lake, leaving little more than the width of the Strait of 8 km. Caravans crossed the strait and wade out to the Tokrau River’s estuary and then along its banks went to the Ulutau’s foothills.

The destination, located in western side of Alakul and through Tarbagatay that led to Irtysh, from the north-Ili passed the lands of the Kimaks' state. In Tarbatay and on the banks of the Irtysh there were Kimak cities Bandzhap, Hanaush, Astur, Isan and «capital of Khakan» — a huge city surrounded by a fortified wall with iron gates. Cities of Kimaks were connected by trade roads with the cities on the Yenisei Kyrgyz, Uighurs in Mongolia and oasis of East Turkestan.

Trade and commodities. Silk Road initially served to export Chinese silk. In turn, Rome, Byzantium, India, Iran, the Arab Caliphate, and later from Europe and Russia by this case were myrrh and frankincense, jasmine and amber water, cardamom and nutmeg, ginseng and bile python, carpets and fabrics, dyes and minerals, diamonds and jade, amber and coral, ivory and «fish tusks», silver bullion and gold coins and fur, bows and arrows, swords and spears and many other Silk Road carried on sale famous «pure-bred» Ferghana horses, Arabian and Nisiy horses, camels and elephants, rhinos and lions, cheetahs and gazelles, hawks, peacocks, parrots and ostriches.

Cultural plants like grapes, peaches and melons, spices and sugar, vegetables and fruits, and greens spread on the Silk Road.

However, silk remained the main trade thing. Along with gold it was international currency, it was given to the kings and ambassadors as a gift, salaries to troops and state debts were paid with it.
Silk and part of the commodities, exported through the Silk Road, settled in the cities of the Kazakh section. Archaeological finds are vivid evidence for it [2].

Silver treasure from Otrar is among the rare finds diversion, important for the study of international trade refers. In its composition it monetary and clothing. The composition of the coin hoard meeting is unique: it presents mints vostochnoturkestanskih cities — Almalyk, Pulad and Emil (washed), Ordu al-Azzam; European — Crimea; Asia Minor — Sivas, Konya, Tabriz; Kazakhstan — Dzhenda. Time coinage belongs to the second half of the 60s of 13th century. The hoard contains a kind of «business cards» city on the Silk Road.

Silk Road spread not only products, but also the fashion for artistic styles that could have a social order and, falling on fertile soil in certain ethno-cultural environment, were widely disseminated.