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A thousand years before the Christian era, the nomadic Skythian- Saka civilization prospered on the Central Asian steppes. Many of their cultural monuments have survived till present days. The most impressive are tools and things of everyday life made in gold and bronze in the “wild animals style” extracted from burial mounds in different regions of Kazakhstan. The royal tomb of the “Golden Warrior Prince” of the Saka civilization, found in the ancient town of Issyk close to Almaty, is famous for its integrity, beauty, elegance and craftsmanship. The motifs of this cultural treasure have become the basis of the modern Monument of Independence erected in Almaty in 1990s. In later centuries, the steppes were home to a powerful state formed by the Huns. Their empire greatly influenced the geopolitical map of that time. The Great Roman Empire in Europe eventually fell from the blows of the Attila the Hun’s daring warriors. Later, the Huns were replaced on the steppes by Turkic tribes. They founded several large states known as “kaganats” stretching from the Yellow Sea in the East to the Black Sea in the West. These states were distinguished by a culture progressive for that time. They were based not only on a nomadic economy but also on an oasis urban culture with rich trade and handicraft traditions. During this time, cities and caravanserais were founded in the oases of Central Asia, the territory of South Kazakhstan and Central Asia. They stood along the famous trade route known as the Great Silk Road which connecting Europe and China. Other trade routes were also important including the route along the Syr Dariya River to the Aral Sea and the South Urals as well the so called “Sable Road” from South Western regions of Siberia through Central Kazakhstan and the Altai region. It was through trade on the “Sable Road” that the Middle East and Europe were supplied with expensive furs. Major cities and trade centers founded on these routes included Otrar (Farab), Taraz, Kulan, Yassy (Turkestan ), Sauran, and Balasagun. The Great Silk Road not only stimulated the development of trade, it also became a conduit for progressive scientific and cultural ideas. For example, the great philosopher Al-Farabi (870-950) was greatly influenced by the culture of the trade routes. Born in the Farab district, Al-Farabi was dubbed in the East “the Second Teacher” after Aristotle for his profound researches in philosophy, astronomy, musical theory and mathematics. The outstanding scholar of Turkic philology Mahmud Kashgari lived here in the 11th century. He created the three-volume “Dictionary of Turkic Dialects” which summed up Turkic folklore and literature heritages. In the 11th Century, Yusup Balasaguni of the town of Balasagun, a famous poet and philosopher, wrote “Kutaglu Bilig” (“A Knowledge that Brings Happiness”) which is recognized as having played an important role in the development of modern social, political and ethical conceptions. The Sufi poet Hodja Ahmet Yassaui, who lived in the 12th century, wrote a collection of poetic thoughts “Divan-i-Khikmet” (“Book of Wisdom”). He is famous throughout the Muslim world. Part of the cultural legacy of that period is the elegant urban architecture. Examples such as the mausoleums of Arystan Baba, of the great Sufi Hodja Akhmet Yassaui in Turkestan and Aisha Bibi in Taraz are among the best preserved. Apart from this, the most ancient nomads of the region invented the “yurt”, a dome-shaped easily dismantled and portable house made from wood and felt, ideal for their nomadic life and beliefs.Link』
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