Tamgaly Tas petroglyphs, Kazakhstan's ancient canvas

Animals, anthropomorphic characters, scenes of hunting, everyday life, nomadic migrations, rituals, geometric symbols (solar and others) are depicted on rocks. Photo credit: altynemel.kz
Animals, anthropomorphic characters, scenes of hunting, everyday life, nomadic migrations, rituals, geometric symbols (solar and others) are depicted on rocks. Photo credit: altynemel.kz

The Tamgaly Tas petroglyphs in Kazakhstan are a fascinating archaeological site located on the banks of the Ili River, about 120 kilometers north of Almaty. This site is renowned for its ancient rock carvings, which date back to the 12th century, making it a vital link to the region's prehistoric past.

The petroglyphs at Tamgaly Tas, which means "written rocks" in Kazakh, were first discovered in 1957. The area is part of the larger Tamgaly complex, which includes around 5,000 petroglyphs. The carvings depict a variety of scenes and symbols, including sun-headed gods, dancing men, and animals. These are thought to represent religious beliefs and practices, as well as the daily life and environment of the people who created them.

Tamgaly Tas site holds a treasure trove of ancient rock art, known as petroglyphs, that offers a unique glimpse into the region's prehistoric culture. Photo credit: altynemel.kz
Tamgaly Tas site holds a treasure trove of ancient rock art, known as petroglyphs, that offers a unique glimpse into the region's prehistoric culture. Photo credit: altynemel.kz

The petroglyphs provide valuable insights into the spiritual lives of people in Central Asia over several millennia. 

Photo credit: altynemel.kz
Photo credit: altynemel.kz

The entire Tamgaly complex, including Tamgaly Tas, has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, highlighting its global significance and the need for its preservation against threats such as vandalism and natural erosion.

Photo credit: altynemel.kz
Photo credit: altynemel.kz

Tamgaly Tas is accessible to tourists who want to connect with the area's ancient past. This makes it a popular day trip for visitors from Almaty and surrounding areas. Tourists can explore the rock carvings up close, which are spread across a large, canyon-like terrain. The site offers not only a historical journey but also picturesque views of the rugged landscape that frames the Ili River.

Photo credit: altynemel.kz
Photo credit: altynemel.kz
A breathtaking view on the Kapchagai water reservoir. Photo credit: Photo credit: altynemel.kz
A breathtaking view on the Kapchagai water reservoir. Photo credit: Photo credit: altynemel.kz

 

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