If a nation does not know its history, if the country loses its history, then its citizens have nowhere to go.
Mirzhakyp Dulatuly

Shymkent – the most ancient city of Kazakhstan

Shymkent – the most ancient city of Kazakhstan - e-history.kz
Each city has its own history. The program "Tugan zher" is directed to the study of the history of the native land. "NDH" portal continues publication of materials about the cities of Kazakhstan

This time we met with the famous local historian, deputy director and editor-in-chief of the newspaper "Southern Kazakhstan" Kenesbay Ismailov. All his life Kenesbay Serikovich devoted to the study of the South Kazakhstan region. We learned a lot of interesting things about beautiful, attractive, warm Shymkent from him.

According to the master plan approved three years ago, the territory of Shymkent is 1170 km ². To visually imagine - this is roughly Moscow inside the Moscow Ring Road, even to compare the city of Almaty (682 km ²) and Astana (801.54 km ²). Shymkent is the largest city in the country. The city is big, but low-rise.

We met with K. Ismailov in the park of Abay. Previously, this was the edge of the city and was called the park 50 years of October. And now it is in the geographical center of the city.

- Before us is a unique museum, which is nowhere else in Kazakhstan, Kenesbay Serikovich is proud. -It is a museum of victims of political repression. The museum presents a unique material, a well-written section on the Suzak uprising of 1930, political repressions of 1937, and deported peoples.

The pearl of the park is the Memorial of Glory. The monument was built in 1979. It has an unusual design. It symbolizes the rear, which was the support of the front during the Great Patriotic War.

- Eternal fire burns here. Surprisingly, when Shymkent experienced a very severe collapse in the 1990s, there was no gas, no light, even in the most difficult years, eternal fire never faded. We found options, opportunities, even on gas cylinders it burned, but this fire never faded. The people of the city have always been so sensitive to the events of the Great Patriotic War.

In 2010, by the 65th anniversary of the Victory, a complete reconstruction was carried out here, and the complex was renamed. The essence of this memorial is that, when preparations were being made for the 65th anniversary of the Victory, it turned out that many people were not recorded as participants in the Second World War.

On the plates in alphabetical order, the names of all South-Kazakhstanis who in 1941-1945 were drafted into the ranks of the Soviet Army were knocked out. Therefore, they decided to engrave the names of all those who were drafted into the ranks of the Soviet Red Army in 1941-1945. According to the documents of the military enlistment office, there were about 90 thousand people.

And then people began to bring documents confirming that their parents were also drafted. A great deal of work was done by the military commissariats. For almost two months the regional newspapers published strip lists with new names. After careful checks, the list of South-Kazakhstanis, who were drafted into the Red Army in 1941-1945, reached 143 thousand people.

This is the Circle of Heroes of the Soviet Union. 51 heroes of the Soviet Union, 8 full Knights of the Order of Glory, and, shortly before his death, Maulen Kalmyrzayev received the title of Halyk Kaharmany (folk Hero) during the Second World War. He was assigned to the title of Hero of the Soviet Union during the war, but for some reason he did not receive it. And justice triumphed; Maulen Kalmyrzayev is the first person from the Syrdarya district, to whom the President signed the Decree on the handing over of Halyk Kaharmany.

- Did not you forget about your fellow Sabyr Rakhimov?

- Sabyr Rakhimov is a native of the Kazygurt district. For a long time it was believed that he was Uzbek, but we managed to prove that he was Kazakh, a native of the South-Kazakhstan region from the Kazygurt district. The Uzbeks now refused him, the district was renamed, even the metro station was renamed, and the monument was moved to the outskirts somewhere. And we do not abandon our heroes, as they say. In our perception, he is the first Kazakh General of the Soviet Army; he is the first Kazakh General.

- And here are all surnames listed? It's such a huge job!

- Here are surnames, in alphabetical order, by districts and cities. It was a tremendous job. Almost two months, it took us only to publish the lists. This is the corner we specifically left for those who suddenly did not appear on the list. And starting from A to Z - these are the names that were later printed, when it was already revealed that 143 thousand people had left to serve in the army. Over 60 thousand of them have not returned from the war. Imagine 60 thousand people lost only the South-Kazakhstan region! Some countries did not lose as much as one region during the Second World War. According to calculations of the Second World War, if you count - 60 thousand people - this is a minimum of seven or eight divisions.

- Why is there an airplane here?

- The fact is that during the Second World War in the South Kazakhstan region, not far from the village of Sayram, there was an airfield. Here from Ukraine was evacuated Chuguyev flight school and trained fighter pilots. The unique fact is that the pilot instructor who trained fighter pilots in Shymkent was the famous Ivan Kozhedub, three times Hero of the Soviet Union. And Ivan Kozhedub went to the war precisely from Shymkent. After the evacuation of the school, he worked as an instructor, then he asked to go to the front - he went to the front, and became three times Hero of the Soviet Union. And this plane was put in memory of the pilots who went to the front from Shymkent, who were trained in the Chuguyev Flight School.

The park of Abay is saturated with various objects, linking the city into one. On the right side is a huge sports complex. There - the famous stadium of Kazhymukan, next to it an indoor swimming pool, a winter pavilion of track and field athletics, a school of sportsmanship. Next is a huge sports complex and a tennis center is attached to it. The tennis center has the status of "Asian Tennis Center".

- There was never a stationary circus in Shymkent, always circus Shapito. Five years ago we built a stationary circus, for almost a thousand spectators.

This road rests directly to the Museum of Art, with a chic picture gallery. And on the right, among the trees, is the large water park "Dolphin".

- The park intersects different vectors and directions of city life. And what can you tell about historical directions?

- Shymkent itself is considered an ancient city. The historical center of the city is in the south. There is a river Kochkar Ata, near which is the citadel of the city. Now the akimat is developing a large project for its reconstruction. They want to raise the walls, excavate the streets, and make the open-air museum. Shymkent is the only regional center that has preserved its citadel untouchable. In Taraz, it remained under the central market, there one small piece was cleared, excavated, and they made the open-air museum. We want the whole citadel to become the open-air museum. Scientists conducted excavations, dug 17 meters to the land area and found artifacts of the fact that there was a permanent settlement of 2200 years old. That officially proved that the city of Shymkent is 2200 years old.

In the next few years we want to reconstruct the old city, the citadel, the old drawings, schemes have been preserved. When all these works are completed, the city will officially apply to UNESCO for the celebration of the 2200th anniversary. In Kazakhstan, the most ancient city was Taraz, its 2000th anniversary was celebrated in the autumn of 2002, and Shymkent will celebrate 2200th anniversary.

- Thus, Shymkent claims the title of the most ancient city of Kazakhstan?

- Yes, officially so. Although there are Syrdarya fortifications which can claim this title, too. All the cities were interconnected, because they were on the Great Silk Road. All the Syrdarya cities were once built by Sogdian merchants. Even since the time of Alexander the Great, maybe earlier. For example, in the Fergana Valley, there is the city of Osh, which officially celebrated its 3000th anniversary in 2000 by UNESCO.

- Ancient cities on the Great Silk Road, even on their Kazakhstan segment, should be, in principle, peers?

- Yes, approximately, plus or minus 500 years, because they were created at first as trading stands, caravanserais, growing gradually to administrative centers.

Part of the complex is the Alley of Soldiers-Internationalists. It's a bullet that stabbed into the heart of a soldier. It was created by the warriors-internationalists of Shymkent. From our region during the Afghan war, 68 people were killed. Here are the names of the guys by year; in what year, how many guys died in Afghanistan. Also, right in the center, there is a monument to the dead border guards.

At the very end of the alley stands a monument to the soldiers of the internal troops, who died in 1995 during the protection of the Tajik-Afghan border. In Shymkent there was a military unit of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. From there the boys left to serve in the Pshikhavrsky gorge. Seventeen guys died there.

Another interesting object of the city is the river Kochkar Ata. The fact is that Shymkent is the only city in the world where the main water artery Kochkar Ata crosses the city center, and originates in the city itself. A huge spring, two arms of the river, about a thousand springs merge into one stream. And from the first source, if you walk a mile and a half down, the river reaches a width of fourteen meters.

Thus, Kenesbay Ismailov revealed to us a new Shymkent: ancient, beautiful, with a rich history and real heroes.


Translated by Raushan MAKHMETZHANOVA