Academic journal article Asian Social Science

The Medieval Town of Kazakhstan

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

The Medieval Town of Kazakhstan

Article excerpt


Medieval towns and settlements on the territory of Kazakhstan is amounted by hundreds and most of them remained in the form of yellow hills that require a deep study by archaeologists. Of course one needs to consider that not every city became the political center for five centuries of a State. Syganak in this area is isolated from other territories and its archaeological study may decide to Kazakhstan's history the most key issues at the moment.

Keywords: medieval Kazakhstan, commercial and political center, medieval town, Syganak

1. Introduction

Speaking about trade relations in South Kazakhstan, one can specify two areas on which they were performed. On one hand there was an intensive exchange of goods in the markets of cities lying "along the caravan route from Islamic world to China", it was a number of cities, including Syganak which was a capital of the Kipchak Khanate in XI-XIII centuries, became a center of White (Blue) Horde in XIV-XV centuries, and became a political center of the Kazakh Khanate in XV-XVI centuries. On the other hand in the cities there was a great sale of the products coming from different parts of Asia, and to some extent from Eastern Europe: the slaves, grain, leather, cotton fabrics, woolen fabrics, silk, etc. It would be wrong to say that these cities located on the given direction were founded only due the need for cultural exchange of goods between the strip and the steppe. The main reason for their appearance is different. It has long been held that a caravan road in the most stopping points attracted the barter force from the nearest areas. The market development takes place in all these areas, many of which turn into real city.

2. Main Part

2.1 Mentioning of the City in the Written Sources

To the cities of southern Kazakhstan, which were related to Turkestan region (province), the city of Syganak was belonging, which is firstly mentioned in the sources of X-XI centuries. By Mahmud of Kashgar, in his "Collection of Turkish languages," we meet the outline that Sygnak was one of Oguz cities, located close to the site of the Samanid state settlements (Kashkari, 1997). Here we have an evidence of not only undoubted existence of the city, but also see that in X and in the beginning of XI century the roamed Guzas, like other Turkic nomads, lived in the vast expanses of the steppes of the lower flow of Syr Darya to the lower Kama, already had cities.

Academician V. V. Barthold who wrote many books about the history of Kazakhstan and Central Asia states that Sugnak (or Sygnak) is not mentioned by Arab geographers, but in respect of it, a city mentioned by a anonymous Persian geographer in X (so-called Tumanian manuscript) might be identical to the mentioned city of Sunah", a small town in the Faraba area (Otrar), very rich one; good bows there are taken to different places from there. Syganak had relations not only with steppe and the cities of Maurya but also with Khorezm (Barthold, 1963, p. 560). In the middle of the XII century in the sources appear the news about Sygnak possession of Kipchak (Kipchak possession or differently Deshti Kipchak, that is "Kipchak steppe", was extended to the huge areas from the spurs of Altai Mountains in the east to the Carpathian slopes in the West), located in close proximity to Khorezm and therefore become a real object of their claims, as Khorezm didn't allow the existence of strong political opponent on its northern and north-eastern borders (Ahinzhanov, 1989). In order to create a large independent state, Khorezm had to struggle not only with the West, but also with nomads from the steppe located to North and to the East. To strengthen its position inside the area it had to acquire a number of fortified urban settlements in the area of Syr Darya. On this basis occurs a desire of Khorezmshah Atsyz (leader of the empire Khorezmshah in 1128-1156) to go with the army to the land of Kipchak, where the capital was Syganak. …

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