“Kultobe Settlement” park tells history of Kazakh Khanate formation

“Kultobe Settlement” park tells history of Kazakh Khanate formation
Cultural and spiritual center of the Turkic world, Turkistan, may become one of the most tourist attractive places in Kazakhstan. An archaeological open-air park museum “Kultobe Settlement” located 350 meters from the Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi will play a big role in it. Local authorities opined that after its opening, the number of travelers arriving in Turkistan will increase from 1.5 to 7 million.
In creating the Kultobe Settlement archeological park, we relied on the experience of foreign analogues, such as the European Archaeological Park of Bliesbruck-Reinheim, Yoshinogari Historical Park in Japan, the Museum of the Barbarian Times in France, Parkin Archeological State Park in the U.S., the program for preservation of ancient towns in the United Kingdom, Pompeii open-air museum in Italy and others. At the same time, European archeological parks regularly carry out various events of historical reconstruction, showing certain important events or the everyday life of the inhabitants of the settlements,” said Andrey Khazbulatov, the chief scientist of the project “Restoration of historical sites of the ancient Kultobe settlement.”
Leading world and local experts, scientists, archaeologists, cultural experts and historians take part in every stage of the creation of the park. They believe that the open-air museum should not only show, but also tell the story of the ancient settlement from its formation. Experts considered it necessary to make this park unlike the others.
It is known that the base area of the park occupies 27 hectares which is more than 50 archeological sites of different eras, starting from the ancient cult settlement of the Kangyus to the buildings of the Kazakh Khanate period. Many similar archeological parks demonstrate only one era, while Kultobe demonstrates the genesis of the city in the context of four historical periods. Therefore, we decided to show all these eras,” commented Bauyrzhan Baitanayev, an academician and chief scientific advisor of the project “Restoration of historical sites of the ancient settlement of Kultobe”.
The creators plan to divide the archaeological park into several thematic zones.

The first zone will be of the Kangyus era with a citadel, its fortress wall and a cross-shaped temple. All of them have been preserved in their original form. The artifacts are a collection of gold jewelry and semiprecious stones, ancient coins, anthropomorphic figures and other objects with ritual attributes. The next zone is the early medieval period showing the ruins of buildings that were once economic and craft buildings, living quarters. The finding of the ancient pottery two-tier furnace became unique due to its design that has a number of features characteristic of this historical period. Among the discovered artifacts are ritual objects, coins, a large number of fragments of ceramics, and more. The cult incense burner with images is especially notable. It is made in the style of poorly studied traditional graphic art of Central Asia.”
The third zone covers medieval period when the Kultobe settlement became a major cultural, religious and economic center and was called Yassi. The main building of the citadel was the castle facade, which was decorated with terracotta tiles with a through image of an equilateral cross. A number of building structures have also been discovered. The most important among them are the remains of twenty buildings for various purposes, four of which are altars intended for religious rituals. In addition, fragments of the fortress wall. Artifacts are represented by various ceramic products involving household utensils and tiles as well as other products.”
Another thematic zone will present the era of the Kazakh Khanate, when the Kultobe settlement, having passed a huge development path, became the political, economic and cultural center, the capital of the Kazakh Khanate. During this period, urban infrastructure continued to develop here. Artifacts of this period are represented by coins, fragments of various ceramic utensils, old books, textiles, children's ceramic whistle toys and other items,” said Zhanerke Shaigozova, the chief researcher of the project “Restoration of historical sites of the Kultobe ancient settlement.”
In the future, there is a plan to create the ethnographic department in the archeological park. It will present copies of artifacts such as archaeological findings, historical reconstructions of national costumes of the inhabitants of Kultobe and much more.
All the information about the park is available in three languages – Kazakh, Russian and English on the official website https://kultobe.com  
The developers are faced with the task to partially reconstruct archaeological sites in full-scale using geotextiles and in 3D augmented reality format on the recommendation of the UNESCO. They plan to turn the park “Kultobe Settlement” into a super-modern multimedia platform, where each significant object can be seen using a special mobile application with the QR code.
The park opens as soon as the quarantine is lifted. Professional guides and archaeologists will conduct the tours. The entrance will be free. An official presentation of the “Kultobe Settlement” is planned to be held in 2021. Developers are confident that this unique project will become a place for a deep study of the history and urban culture of Kazakhstan in the future.