«We need to look into the past in order to understand the present and foresee the future»
N.A.Nazarbayev

A Legend about Korkyt Ata

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A Legend about Korkyt Ata
Korkyt is a legendary historical person who left a rich literary and musical heritage. A great thinker, philosopher, zhyrau-narrator, his melodies, compositions still have a great impact on our rich

culture. There are many legends about Korkyt that are found among the Turkic peoples of Kipchak (Kazakhs, Karakalpaks) and especially the South Oguz branch: Turkmen, Azerbaijanis and Turks. Our great ancestor was born and raised on the bank of the Syrdarya, presumably in the 8th-9th centuries. There is a legend that before the birth of the baby there was an eclipse of the sun, it became completely dark, a storm began with rain, thunder roared and lightning flashed. The people were very frightened. And when Korkyt was born, all these natural phenomena ended, everything around calmed down, a bright sun shone. "He came to this world at a time when everyone was scared, he scared us all, so let's call him Korkyt," people decided.

The life of the old man is not just a beautiful legend; historical documents confirm the existence of Korkyt. The first written proof of Korkyt is the heroic epic of the Oguzes "Kitabi dede Korkud". The epic is mainly known for two manuscripts: the Dresden, consisting of 12 legends, and the Vatican - from 6 legends. Among the Turkic peoples there is also a common folk epic "Oguz-name" ("The Tale of Oguz"). In the book, there are many instructions, proverbs, apt and wise words. Interestingly, in the epic Korkyt acts as a narrator and a hero. This is its peculiarity. In the introduction it is written: "In the tribe of Bayat lived a knowing prophet by the name of Korkyt, all his prophecies came true. He managed to solve the most difficult issues of the Ogyz tribe. " People were not accepted for any difficult work, without receiving the blessings of Korkyt, they unquestioningly fulfilled his orders. Legends show the disintegration of the Ogyz-Kipchak ulus. All events take place on the bank of the Syrdarya, in the territory of Central Asia and the Caucasus. They describe how the tribes of those parts were created and disintegrated. The "Bamsy-Bairak" zhir resembles the legend of Alpamys, "Uysun Skin" narrates about the ancestor of the Kazakh tribe Uysun.

Legends about Korkyt ata were preserved among the Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and other Turkic peoples. The book often contains geographical names, found in modern Kazakh. This proves the close connection of the book with our land, which was inhabited by many Turkic tribes, which eventually merged into a single Kazakh ethnos. The complete translation of the heritage into Russian, made by V. Bartold in 1922, was published in 1962, and in 1986 outstanding Kazakh scientists Alkey Margulan, Nemat Kelimbetov, Auelbek Konyratbaev translated it into the Kazakh language.

Korkyt was the vizier of three khans, dealt with state issues, laid the foundations of social laws. The great thinker has preserved documentary sources in the archives of the Vatican. In the memory of the people, Korkyt ata is primarily the creator of kyus, the founder of the tradition of playing the kobyz. The legend is alive that Korkyt, realizing the transience of human life and the fact that neither wealth nor nobility will preserve it, decides to leave the house and go in search of immortality. The idea that everything will come to an end, tormented him, and in search of an endless life the sage leaves people. Everywhere he sees wilting and death: in the forest, a decayed and fallen tree speaks of an imminent death, in the steppe a feather grass, burning out under the sun, even the mountains speak of the destruction that awaits them, and that the same end awaits Korkyt. Seeing and hearing this, in lonely torment, he hollowed out of the tree a sharga - the first kobyz.

If you believe the legend, Korkyt devoted much time to creating a new musical instrument. One day in a dream, the angels told him to wrap a wooden instrument in camel's skin, and from the horsehair to make strings. Having completed all this, Korkyt drew from his instrument a wonderful melody. Since then it has become customary - Kobyz Korkyt. His thoughts and feelings poured out the elder in music. He put his soul into these melodies, and the wonderful and piercing sounds of the kobyz's strings touched the hearts of the people and captivated them. Everyone listened attentively to Kuryt's kui. Birds in the sky stopped the flight, the wind stopped. Death also listened to music, but did not approach it. That's how playing on kobyz, Korkyt avoided death. So, he discovered the truth, and he found a way to immortality, leaving behind a great cultural heritage - kobyz. The revelation came to the old man on the bank of the native Syrdarya river, after which Korkyt ata called this place "the center of the earth".

For long sleepless nights, he finally fell asleep soundly. The crept snake stung the old man, but even after the death of his melody continue to sound. According to the legends, at the request of Korkyt, kobyz was put on his grave.
Korkyt's legacy has been preserved in the Kazakh musical art. There are about twenty works, eleven of which are recorded on a tape. To our days, there have been such wonderful cuies as "Tanir kuyi", "Aqqu" ("White Swan"), "Elim-ai, khalqym-ai", "Arystan-bab", "Korkyt kyu" , "Korkyt saryny", "Korkyt tolgau" and others. Each work has its own story. For example, kyu "Zhelmaya" is devoted to a camel, which was given to Korkyt. Korkyt raised him as a child. The camel grew and always followed the old man. Creating the same kyu "Elim-ai, khalkym-ai" Korkyt wished peace and prosperity to his people. And when the vision came that wars and disasters would collapse on the steppe, he fell into despair. In the legend of kyue "Korkyt" there is an episode how he managed to escape death with the help of immortal art. So the sage does not admit death, playing day and night on the kobyz, floating on the spread carpet along the waters of the Syrdarya. It was only Korkyt who succeeded in doing this. This is reflected in the art of his philosophical dreams.

The heirs of Korkyt art - Iskak Dukenuly, Zhappas Kalambaev, Daulet Myktybayev, Nyshan Shamenuly, Manat Koshayev, Tattikyz Buzaubakova made a great contribution to the wide propaganda of the musical art of our great ancestor. About 700 great researches have been done about the great narrator and sage. There is no exact data on the age of Korkyt. Some claim that he lived 95 years, others - more than 190, there are those who give him and 400 years. Four hundred covenants and aphorisms of Korkyt were published in Berlin by the German scientist H. Diez. His poems are kept in the libraries of Dresden, Vatican. "The Book of Korkyt ata" was translated into the languages ​​of the peoples of Western Europe and the East. Legends and stories about Korkyt are widespread among the Turkic peoples, especially among the Kazakhs. According to the sage, people must preserve human qualities. The most dangerous thing for a person is to lose morality. "Let the house break down better, if there are no guests there, let it not be better if the grass does not grow unless it is plaited by a horse; water, not suitable for drinking, let it better not run through the hollows; let it be better that a son be born who tarnishes the father's name". No matter how much a person wants, he will not eat more than he can. Traveling around the world, Korkyt came to the idea that each person is best in his native land.

Korkyt is a famous poet, an unsurpassed musician, a hero of legends with deep philosophical meaning, became the golden foundation of our spirituality. The creator of kyus, the founder of the game in the kobyz, he left a rich literary and musical heritage, widely spread in the fertile land of Syr. Since ancient times, they say "Syr eli - zhyr eli", meaning "The land of Syr is the land of songs, epics and legends". Here the traditions of Prisyrdarya singers-storytellers-jyrau-originated, many great creative personalities lived here and created - bright representatives of literature, poetry, music and other forms of multifaceted art. These traditions are passed on from generation to generation, therefore our region is called the guardian of the culture and spiritual heritage of the Kazakh people.
Our great ancestor is buried in the lower reaches of Syr. His mausoleum, having stood for 1300 years, collapsed. In 1866 the Orientalist Abubakir Divayev, who was on his way from Tashkent to Kazalinsk, visited the grave of Korkyt. He found it in a deplorable state.

According to the prominent scholar Alkey Margulan, the first photographs of the burial site of Korkyt were made in 1862, and today a copy of this photograph in the Turkestan (1862) album is kept in the fund of the Kyzylorda Regional Museum of Local History. The scientist writes that the grave of Korkyt and his contemporaries was located closer to the grave of his wife, and then to the north. In his work "The activities of Korkyt and the places he visited," he writes: "Mazar Korkyt was built on the model of architectural monuments of the 7th-8th centuries. Its base was built in the form of a quadrangle, and the walls were erected from ceramic bricks. According to the legends of the Kazakh people, next to the grave of Korkyt, closer to the river is the grave of his younger sister. At the end of the 19th century, the construction began to blur due to the spill of the river, but thanks to the strength stood for half a century. Its walls began to collapse from 1925 and in 1952 during the flood were completely blurred. Today, fragments and fragments of the back of the wall are still lying on the bank of the Syrdarya.

At the site of the former burial site of Korkyt ata, in 18 km to the north-west of Zhosaly village of Karmakshy district in 1980, a monument was erected on the project of architect B. Ibraev and the physicist-acoustic S. Isatayev. The structure is 8 meters high and consists of 4 straight stele, looking upwards. In the center of the stele is located kobyz, which, with a gust of wind, makes sounds. The authors of the monument made it, as in the folk tradition described in the works of Alkkey Margulan: "Korkyt's kobyz was buried with him, and by the will of the Supreme kobyz played kyui, as if Korkyt himself played it." In 1997, during the restoration work, an amphitheater, a desire pyramid, a museum, a hotel were built there as well. The architectural ensemble became a memorial complex. In 2014, on behalf of the President, the complex was completely reconstructed. A new building of the museum, administration and other facilities was built.
 Now the monument consists of four vertical stelae of Kurdish granite 12 meters high, with sockets in the upper part. Each stele is oriented to the sides of the world. Expanding sockets are associated with kobyzes. In the central part -
organ of forty metal pipes, which, with the wind, produce sounds similar to the sounds of a kobyz. If you look from a bird's eye view, you can see that the complex has the shape of a kobyz. Two buildings - the museum and the administration - are two ears - string adjusters. Stairs - strings, the monument "Bishop" serves as a special bone, which lifts the strings, and the arch symbolizes the bow of the kobyz.

The memorial is visited by people from all over the world, considering it a holy place. The complex "Korkyt ata" is included in the state list of historical and cultural monuments of local importance. Last year, within the framework of the international exhibition EXPO-2017, ethnoaul was deployed near the complex. It was visited by about ten thousand tourists from different countries. Ethnoaul is a single complex of seven yurts. Each yurt has its name. Nearby a concert hall, sports and children's playgrounds. The memorial complex "Korkyt ata" and ethnoaul became tourist objects of the international exhibition. Here, the guests' meetings and performances of musicians became traditional in the framework of the international folklore music festival "Korkyt and melodies of the Great Steppe".

The complex is included in the macrosacral list of historical and cultural objects of the project "Sacral Geography of Kazakhstan". Korkyt ata is a great thinker and narrator. He spiritually rallied the ancient Turkic peoples. Taking their history in the depths of centuries, rich in legends and traditions, the lower reaches of the Syrdarya have become the heart of the Turkic world. This fertile land preserves the eternal indelible memory of the heritage of its ancestors. Korkyt ata is a vivid evidence of boundless respect and attention to the memory of great personalities who left a mark on the history of not only the Kazakh people, but the entire Turkic civilization.