Where: Semirechye, Anrakhai Mountains,Kazakhstan, Central Asia
When: Bronze Age – 8C
History: Cave paintings with solar imagery and scene of everyday life of an ancient civilisation
Ancient Tamgaly has been, for many centuries, a site for rituals and ceremonies; engravings of these events are preserved in its natural surroundings. Semirechye (meaning ‘Seven Rivers’) is the site of the most famous examples of Kazakhstan’s petroglyphic fine art. The pictures here date back thousands of years, some of the earliest dated around the eighth century. The region’s ancient tribes have proved to be very artistic, with around 80 percent of the paintings dating from the Bronze Age.
Unearthing of Tamgaly
Although the study of this art form also goes back many years, very little was known about them until recently. In the late 1950s, a unique collection of paintings was discovered in the mountains of Anrakhai, and research began two decades later to learn more about their meaning and the civilisations that created them. As more sites are discovered and incorporated into the research, it is possible to piece together the story of Central Asia’s ancestors, their rituals, and their beliefs.
50 sites have so far been unearthed in Semirechye, along with several on the natural boundary of Tamgaly. Next to these petroglyphs, other monuments have been discovered which give clues to these ancient people’s lives, including settlements, burial grounds, and sacrificial alters. All these findings enable archaeologists to put together a picture of these early civilisations.
These amazing artistic sites lie in the Anrakhai Mountains, 120 miles northwest of Almaty. Most are located in the lower part of the main canyon where paintings number around 2,000. Images displayed include sun-headed idols, warriors, marriage, childbirth, and even one of Buddha. Solar symbols were common and scenes of everyday life such as hunting and bull fighting; sometimes a rare image of a chariot appears.
Tourism in Kazakhstan
Info on the cave paintings and pics
Tour of Tamgaly
Almaty and Vicinities
Interesting information and pictures of Tamgaly
Guide by Jenna Colbourne