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Almaty Region history


  Almaty Kazakhstan
The Almaty Region’s History

The antiques found by archeologists in what now is Almaty and adjacent areas, as well as historical documents, witness that this area, with its good climate, had long ago been populated by nomadic and semi-settled tribes.

The most notable ancient monuments of this region are the Saki mounds (6th to 3rd centuries BC). The biggest of them are up to 20 m high and have the basal diameter of more than 100 m. They were mostly found along the shores of the Bolshaya Almatinka, Malaya Almatinka, Yesentai and Aksai rivers. Just a few of them have lived up to now, mostly in the north-western part of the city. The mounds are whole architectural structures consisting of burial chambers, stone walls, underground passes and banked earth shaped like a blunted cone. Its upper layer is a mix of stone, dirt and crushed rock, and the lower layer is made of cobblestone. There is a chamber and a passway underneath, made of the Tien Shan fir-tree – the burial vault where the Saki would bury their deceased, oftentimes with horses.Dishes were put in the southern and western parts of the chamber, while the northern part was the place for the body. Many tombs found later on, had been raided in ancient times.
Apart from accidental findings, archeological sites in the city also detected items made by the Saki craftsmen: iron knives and daggers, bronze hairpins, bracelets with a leopard’s head on the edges, carnelian necklaces, three-tailed bronze arrowheads, earthenware crockery, bronze cauldrons, altars, cressets, sickles, grain bruisers, and stone hoes. Due to a nomadic style of living, the Saki’s main occupation was cattle breeding. However, wooden structures of their sepulchers show that they could be able to build solid houses on their wintering sites. While the Saki were still switching to a settled life, the later Usuni tribes had already been engaged in farming and has permanent villages.
The ancient Usuni were very good farmer, judging by archeological findings (sickles, grain bruisers, etc.) and simple irrigation systems. Remnants of one of such early farming settlements were found in the southern outskirts of Almaty, in Gornyi Gigant. The archeologists found jars and bowls made of clay with a mix of river sand. Similar items of ancient ceramics were found in excavations near the airport. They date back to the first centuries ADAlmaty Kazakhstan
The next historical period of the city and the region was feudalism, when Zhetysu was part of Western Turkic, Tyurgesh and Karluk Kaganates, and the State of the Karakhanides, consequently. The major role in these entities was played by the Usuni, Tyurgesh, Karluks, Chigili, and Yagma, who later merged in the Kazakh nation. Settled farming villages and towns appeared under the Karluks in the foothill part of the Zailiiski Alatau, in the valleys of mountain rivers. The first ones were formed on the regular wintering sites, while the later were used as headquarters of the nomadic grands. The headquarters were usually set up in the most convenient spots, at the intersection of caravan routes. Gradually, they were settled by craftsmen and merchants, and so the headquarters would become not only an administrative center but also concentrate craft and trade, and turn into a town.
There were a few small villages in Almaty in the 8th-10th centuries. Scientists believe that one of them was called Almatu (Almaty). Now, they are all being developed. But in the 1920s, their traces could still be seen. In the 11th-12th centuries, they had grown into towns. In the spring of 1854, on the left bank of the Malaya Almaty, to the north-east of the ruins of the ancient Almaty, Major Peremyshlskiy’s military unit began building of the Zailiiski Fort, later called Vernoye. By the fall of the same year, the building had been completed. Major Peremyshlskiy’s military unit was helped by the Kazakh population in the construction of the fort. Later in the 19th century, Vernyi, being an oblast administration center, was developing fast. It had several two-class women’s and men’s schools, parochial and vocational schools, man’s and women’s grammar schools, and a few Muslim schools at the mosques. 
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