Were the Kazakhs nomads in the past?


In the beginning, I should note that the author of the article is not a historian by profession, but an economist. Any educated person, especially a scientist, has sufficient ideas about the history of his people.

A sense of patriotism and the duty of a scientist to reveal the truth made me take up writing this article. As the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates said, “Plato is my friend, but Truth is dearer,” the author of the article must respond to attacks on our people by individual citizens in some foreign countries who distort historical truth. They speak about the backwardness of nomadic peoples, in particular, the Kazakhs. Kazakhs were nomads? Is not it? Let's try to figure it out through the search for truth based on logic.

I must say that the Kazakhs from time immemorial lived in harmony with nature and in accordance with the natural and climatic conditions - the winter is severe here, the summer is hot - they could not lead a year-round nomadic life. Therefore, Kazakhs lived in houses (kystau) in winter, and moved to pasture (zhailau) in summer, however, many modern people do the same when they live in the city in winter and in the summer in the country.

Between winter quarters and pastures, rich strata of the people, who had many livestock, roamed within their lands. They wandered for economic reasons to preserve and develop animal husbandry. And the poorest population, low-power farms remained in winter camps. Their numbers were large enough. They lived in wooden or clay houses, were engaged in the construction of winter camps and agriculture. They were not nomads. Therefore, the term "nomads" is not applicable to the entire people who lived in a combination of settler and nomadic lifestyles. This duality is most characteristic of the Kazakh people in the past.

At the same time, the Kazakhs built schools, madrasas, mosques and baths. Singing and poetry, oratory, crafts, blacksmithing and weaving, cooking were widely developed, which would have been impossible with a purely nomadic lifestyle.

Among the major discoveries were the "Golden Man", its own large libraries, coins, gold jewelry, weapons and military armor, four-wheeled carts.

During archaeological excavations on the territory of Kazakhstan, a number of large ancient cities were discovered (Turkestan, Otrar, Sairam, etc.), on the site of which many historical finds were found, indicating the high development of cities of those times.

They were also the most important points of international trade routes, one of which was the Great Silk Road, which passed through the territory of Kazakhstan. According to the level of their spiritual, cultural and economic development, the ancient Kazakh cities were among the most developed cities in the world at that time. The tradition of advancing development of our nation continues to take place in modern conditions.

Thus, based on historical realities and scientific logic, it would be correct to assert that in the distant past the Kazakhs were “sedentary nomads” or in the Kazakh language “mekendi koshpendiler bolgan”. The existing widespread concept of "Kazakhs - nomads" is erroneous and does not correspond to reality. To use it means to mislead our rising generation and all contemporaries.


Uraz Baymuratov,

academician of NAS RK

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