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

Ancient city of Saraychik under the threat of disappearance

Ancient city of Saraychik under the threat of disappearance - e-history.kz
In fact there are some new mysteries of that ancient city about which the people composed many legends and myths.
Golden boat

The first legend is connected with the golden boat which belonged to the princes Suyumbike. As sources say, during the times of ruling of the khan Az-Zhanibek in Saraychik the artificial pond was created. In it all year round swans were swimming. On the pond called Sekerkol (Sweet lake) every evening khan’s daughter Suyumbike liked to go for a walk in her boat. 

But, suddenly, the princess died because of the unknown illness. Killed with grief father ordered to say to the inhabitants of the city that the daughter’s funerals would happen in a month. At the same time the khan secretly buried Suymbike together with the golden boat and dowry. Nukers who were burying the princess were punished. And since those times people who heard about golden boat seek for the mysterious burial of the princess Suyumbike. These searches continued till 30s of the previous century, but they were not successful. Moreover, till now it is not known where exactly the very lake of Sekerkol was situated. 

But recently, new data had appeared. According to Moldash Berdimuratov’s words, on the shore of the river Ural where the remnants of the city Saraychik, closer to the lake Taylan the tombstones-kulpytases of 14 people, more likely relating to noble men were found. As all the tombstones were with the unique marks , scientists consider that here close to the palace Chingizids are buried. Berdimuratov supposes that the lake was located in these places. Taking into account the fact that the city of Saraychik during the times of ruling of Kasym-khan was situated on both shores of Zhaiyk, this version has the right to life. 

Apple tree against suicide

All in all, everything that is connected with the ancient city of Saraychik became abundant with numerous legends and myths. But among them there are more or less realistic, especially those that appeared in the present time. The first legend touches upon the secular tree which is in the pantheon where seven Kazakh khans are buried. 

As Moldash Berdimuratov told at the end of 90s in Saraychik the cases of suicide among adolescents happened more often. Local people connected that with the fact that local noble people disturbed the spirit of buried noble men, because at the same time the reconstruction of the memorial complex started. 

The number of victims of a small village reached 12 people. What was needy to do, nobody knew. And the marvelous thing happened. On business Berdimuratov was in Mangistau region where he met with one old man, oralman from Iran who said that it was connected with the apple-tree orchard in Saraychik. 

The trees from the garden were used for wood and became the reason for the mischief. And, according to the old man’s words in order to stop the suicide in the village it was necessary to replant one of the first apple trees to the visible place. 

After coming home, Berdimuratov told about the order of the old man. And after consulting the villagers came to conclusion that the most attended and eminent place is the pantheon of khans. 

Home folks dug the oldest apple-tree — it was planted in 1936 and planted in the pantheon. After that the suicides stopped as Berdimuratov said. The home folks agree with him who talked to him. 

 Magical cup 

The second case concerns directly the memorial complex, to be more precise, utensils found at the burial diggings. In 1999 by the conduct of diggings the well from which the jar and cup of XIV century were extracted was discovered. Both a jar, and a cup were not simple enough. For instance, the jar changes color during the day. The unusual case happened to the cup. When it was found at the depth of 7 meters, all the people were surprised: the cup was not stuck with dirt, but was clean as if it was just washed. 

But the cup lay a lot under the earth and near the river bank. Nothing suspecting people decided to celebrate that occasion and poured to the cup vodka... And all of a sudden, the sup became completely black. The same color it was when they poured there gasoline. It did not change color only they poured water or milk into it. That is, it reacted everything that was harmful for the human body. Now, as Berdimuratov says the jar and cup are placed in the Museum of the President in Astana. 

To save Saraychik


The foundation of the current memorial complex of Saraychik was put by the simple village teacher, now dead Mustazhap Namzgaliyev who by coming a young teacher to Saraychik secondary school in 1961 organized in this educational institution with the help of his apprentices and local residents of the museum. 

The whole his life the local history expert devoted to the preservation of the monument of architecture. Later, the start of the teacher was proceeded and that led to the creation of the memorial complex. At the excursion in the complex we were shown two skulls: one belonged to the modern one-humped camel, the second, as it was considered, belonged to mammoth. 

But today, as the Director of the museum told, another version regarding this skull appeared. 

It was originated after visit of the complex by the gust from Egypt. He told that the second skull more likely belongs to the Arabain — one-humped camel, which inhabited one time in Aravia. At the present, according to the words of the Egyptian guest and as Berdimuratov says in the universe there are only four of such camels-giants, the height of which reaches four meters. By comparing the skulls, which are alike but differed in size, and we also came to common opinion that this version is possible enough. 

Yes, Saraychik keeps a lot of mysteries. But less likely it would be possible to unriddle them for our descendants. Notwithstanding the fact that in the present time the remnants of the city Saraychik are under the protection and fenced the river Ural every year floods not only the old city, but also, more probably, the ancient cemetery which was situated in that place. 

At the sharp slope of the shore here and there the protruding bones can be seen, and local residents told that they found the whole burial places with the human remnants. Anyway, they got used to that and the special agiotage is not observed. Being in Saraychik, we also saw these human bones... It is needy to say that the feeling was awful. 

From the depth of centuries

Now we will go deep into the history. Thus, Saray Dzhuk (Saraychik) was one of the greatest cities of Golden Horde and the center of city agglomeration (there is a number of huge cities destroyed by the agricultural activity in XX century, at the suburbs of Atyrau the settlement of Aktobe — Laeti in the Genoese writings). Judging by the archeological findings, in particular the vessels with inscriptions, Saray Dzhuk was the city with developed culture. In the city the unique water pipe and canalization from ceramic tubes functioned. 

 The remnants of these tubes were pictured in the museum of memorial complex. There was the metallurgic and pottery production, the coin was minted, that is the own yard existed. Its residents were engaged with crafts, melon-growing and fishing. The strategic location connecting east and west made the city the huge center of trade. Saray Dzhuk in Mongolian means «Small Palace». At that time the main palace was Altyn Orda, and Saraychik was called Small Palace. Hence, the name of Saraychik (translated from Kazakh as «small palace»). 

Arabian traveler and geographer Ibn Battuta who was the first to describe Sarychik in his notes «Travelling to Desht-i-Kypchak» reported about the ferry at the flow of Uly-su that reminded him Bagdad. He wrote that the surroundings of the city were unique resort center, here the noble people from the whole Orda came to hunt and fish, and that water «itself was pouring every day». 

The city was fully destroyed twice. For the first time in 1395 it was destroyed by the army of Tamelan. Saraychik was restored in 30-40s of XV century. From the second half of XV century it became the political center of Nogay Orda. Here the headquarters of the khans of Nogay Orda, then — first Kazakh khans were situated. 

It is considered that in Saray Dzhuke seven khans were buried: Golden Orda — Sartak, Berke, Toktakiya, Dzhanibek (on other data and Mengu Timur), Kazakh — Kasym, Nogay khans Izmail and Uraz. 

After the track of Nechey and Bodgan Barboshi approximately in 1580 (on pther data, in 1581) the city was captured and razed by «thief», that is uncontrolled to Moscow, Kazaks. According to other data, two regiments of Astrakhan arrow-men. There is the opinion that here the tsar Ivan Groznyi who was here for 12 days after that he ordered to destroy the city fully. It turned out to be that the tsar did not want the city, separate parts of which were the basis for construction of analogic squares and streets in Moscow could exist. Thus, according to the words of Berdimuratov, the Red square is the exact copy of the central part of the city of Saraychik. 

 Saraychik. Our days 

From the history of Kazakhstan it is known that more precise and unconditional conclusion is in that the «city was built in XII century», was made by the founder of the Kazakh archeology Alkey Margulan on the results of diggings which were carried out in 1950. 

The scientists of the Republican institute who conducted during the last years at the place of burial of the city prove the correctness of the abovementioned opinion.  By the support of the akim of Atyrau region Imangali Tasmagambetov in 1999 at the place of the burial of the city of Sarychik the historical-memorial complex was constructed. 

To pass the history which lived through by our people as the bright example to the growing generation — the unique aim of the creation of such, unconditionally, beautiful monument of architecture. The construction of the memorial started on 2 may, 1999 and the same year on 3 September the festive opening, at which the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev was present, took place. 

At the end of last year in the Akimat of Atyrau region the meeting dedicated to the problems of Sarychik was held. Then the Deputy of Akim of the region Shyngys Mukan reported that the Akim of region Bakytkozha Izmukhambetov addressed with the given question to the government. As a result the special committee into which the representatives of all the competent bodies entered was created. 

 The archeologist Zeinolla Samashev suggested to the members of the committee two variants of the rescue of the settlement. The first variant — fortification of the river bank flowing the survived walls of the settlement which now literally fall apart. And the second one — the course of the river Ural at this place into the old river bed. In the middle of the previous century the Ural after the flood chose another river bed. And if to return it to the previous one, the ancient remnants would be placed in ground, and out of the freed river bed it would be possible to extract the artifacts washed from the settlement and get rid of the threat of disappearance of the city of Saraychik. 

The spring came. Soon, the next flood will be growing in strengh which will wash away even more not only the remnants of the city of Saraychik, but also will unman our attitude to history, our respect to spirits of ancestors, which bones lay open under feet. 

And, probably, this flood is not another phenomenon of nature, but the flood of our obduracy andinsensibility? 

Last year local authorities declared about the fact that soon in Atyrau the archeological institute is going to be opened. What is that, fashion statement? 

It is not clear why under the very wing of oil capital literally before one’s very eyes disappears the archeological site of world significance which has the huge historical meaning for our state is disappearing. 

And for 15 years since the day of the opening of memorial complex besides the issued periodical editions from the budget for the problems of Saraychik the perceptible shifts are not seen. Diggings, being conducted long ago the river washes away, unmanning more and more the cemetery of our history...