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Sygnak Ancient City (Sunak-Ata)

Author's tours in Kazakhstan -

Excursion from Zhanakorgan to the settlement of Sygnak -

Sygnak is an ancient medieval city, fortress, monument to the history of Kazakhstan, an important trade and craft center along the Great Silk Road. In 1469-1511 and 1521-1599, the city was known as the capital of the Kazakh Khanate, and before that - as the main city of the Kipchak state and the Ak Horde. The first fact about the city can be found in the tenth-century Persian work Hudud Al-Alam. Early Syganak was the commercial and political center of the Kipchak state. Nomadic peoples brought cattle, meat, hides, wool, etc. to the city and received everything they needed in return. Historians of that time called Syganak “the oasis of the Kipchak steppes”.

How to get there, visit -

The city of Sygynak is located 2 kilometers northeast of the village of Sunakata, Zhanakorgan district of Kyzylorda region, Republic of Kazakhstan. GPS coordinates: 44°09'30"N 66°57'30"E

Information, history -

The city of Sygnak was also known as (Syganak, Sugnak, Sunak, Sunakh, Sunakata, Sunak-Ata, Saganak; kaz. Syganak). In 1219, the city of Syganak was captured by the army of Jochi Khan, after a siege for seven days, he executed those who resisted. Since that time, the city was part of the Jochi ulus (Golden Horde). In the 2nd half of the XIII century, the city began to revive. During the time of Jochi Khan, Syganak was the center of the Ak Horde, where coins were minted (in 1328, a mint appeared in the city).

In 1379, the newly united khan of the Golden Horde Toktamys, with the help of Amir Temur, captured Syganak and began minting tenge on his behalf. In 1383, Emir Timur issued his money at the mint of the city. In 1384-1395 . Syganak became the center of the struggle between the Altynordins and Amir Timur. At the beginning of the XV century, the city was conquered by the grandson of Amir Timur, Ulugbek. However, in 1423, the army of Barak Khan captured Tsyganak and expelled representatives of the previous dynasty from the city.

In 1446-1468, the city of Sygynak was part of the Abulkhair Khanate (state). It is said that Abulkhair Khan is buried in Syganak. The Kok Mausoleum, which has not survived to the present day, is considered the grave of the khan. The crisis of the Great Silk Road and the attacks of neighboring Uzbek and Dzungarian rulers led to the fact that Sygynak lost its importance. The central part of the city has been used as a cemetery since the seventeenth century. In the XVII-XVIII centuries, the city was repeatedly subjected to the Dzungarian invasion. Due to these invasions and various other reasons, the city gradually ceased to exist (by the 19th century). The Sunakata fortress built in the city around the ancient city of the XIX century was destroyed during the Russian-Kokand war.

Architecture -

The city of Sygynak is a large pentagonal hill with an area of 10 hectares. Numerous piles have been preserved on the sides, traces of construction where water flowed a long time ago. The area of the wall of 15 towers on the territory of Shahristan is 10 hectares. The pentagonal Shahristan has a length of 250 m in the north, 360 m in the west, 250 m in the south, 450 m in the southeast and 350 m in the northeast. On the side of the eastern wall there is an additional entrance to the citadel. Judging by the objects found during archaeological excavations, Syganak existed during the VI – XVIII centuries.

Study -

The city of Sygynak was explored in 1867 by P. I. Lerkh, in 1906 – 07 by I. A. Castanier, in 1947 by the South Kazakhstan archaeological expedition (headed by A. N.Bernshtam). Since 2004, studies of the ancient city have been conducted within the framework of the state program "Cultural Heritage". By 2006, a floor of the XV-XVI centuries was opened, a four-chamber mausoleum made of red brick and the foundation of a mosque of the XIV-XV centuries were discovered. During the excavations carried out in 2009-2011, 57 ceramic samples were found. The found samples were transferred to the Local History Museum of the Kyzylorda region. The city has been partially restored, the study of this object is still taking place, additional excavations are also underway here and restoration work is underway in parallel.

The medieval town of Sygynak in the Kyzylorda region


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