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Saraishyk, the capital of Golden Horde, is vanishing away

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The ancient settlement of Saraishyk in the Makhambet district is on the verge of disappearance. Now the issue is raised not about the preservation of the historical heritage, but rescuing its remains.


The situation at the site of the ancient city looks very depressing. On a small area fenced off for tourists, where earlier the archaeological diggings took place, there is practically nothing left. The walls of couple of structures made of clay bricks preserved by a miracle, are  now crumbling in front of your eyes. Everything else has been “eaten” by wind and washed away by rains. Human bones scattered around on the large area.
– The clay brick masonwork of the remains of the ancient walls are collapsing very quickly, – says Marat KASSENOV, the Senior Research Associate of the Research Center for Archeology of the Atyrau University named after Dosmukhamedov. – Therefore, today there is very little left of the open-air museum. In 5 years time there simply will be a plain area.
But the biggest problem is the proximity of the Ural River. Annually the river “eats out” 1 - 1.5meters of the bank. From 1995 to 2009 on the territory of Saraishyk the archaeological diggings were conducted under the supervision of Zeinolla SAMASHEV, a well-known archeologist in Kazakhstan, the Director of Archeology Institute named after Margulan. In 2008 he proposed two options for saving the Saraishyk from the attacks of the Ural River. One of the options was the reinforcement of the bank and the second – straightening of the river course for about 1km with the construction of two closing dikes. Both options required big financial investments.


At the beginning of 2010, the oblast akimat reviewed the issue of saving the Saraishyk at session. The bank reinforcement project had been approved and the task had been given to prepare the cost estimate and present it to the government. But everything stayed at the level of idle talks, – said Zeinolla Samashev by phone from Astana. – I had an impression that nobody from the officials took this problem close to heart. The talks about the need for saving the cradle of the Kazakh Golden Horde are ongoing for many years not only at the local level, but also at the republican one. This problem was raised by the Head of the State in one of his speeches. But there are many idle talks and no deeds.
There are also other issues, except the washing away by the river. According to Samashev, if we seriously engage ourselves in the saving of Saraishyk, it will be necessary to relocate the part of the current habitation (60-70 families), as well as to stop housing construction in the area.
It is necessary to constantly add the archaeological objects to the category of museum objects, i.e. to bring them into the condition that is suitable for displaying at the exhibitions, and to preserve them for many years, instead of leaving them for destruction of winds and rains. Without these measures the threat to the destiny of the ancient Saraishyk is only to be preserved on the pages of scientific monographs.


According to Farkhad BAIDAULETOV, the Deputy Head of Atyrau Oblast Inspectorate for Protection, Restoration and Use of Historical and Cultural Heritage, the funds for preservation of Saraishyk had never been allocated.
– The Ministry of Culture up to 2009 allocated funds only for conducting archaeological diggings. For example, from 2007 to 2009 they allocated 6.5million tenge. Then financing of diggings was stopped. They say that Samashev refused from further diggings, because Saraishyk is on the verge of disappearance. We sent an inquiry to the Ministry of Culture about allocation of funds for the years 2014-2016 for saving of Saraishyk. We still don’t know what will be their decision on that.


September 14 2012, 10:35

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