Смагулов, Е. (редактор). Загадки Древнего Туркестана: Алматы Сборник Научных и Научно-Популярных Статей. Алматы: Санат, 1998, 173c.
Smagulov, E. (ed.). Zagadki Drevnego Turkestana: Almaty Sbornik Nauchnykh i Nauchno-Populiarnykh Statei. Almaty: Sanat, 1998, 173pp.
The Mysteries of Ancient Turkestan: Collection of the Scientific and Popular Scientific Articles
Загадки Древнего Туркестана: Алматы Сборник Научных и Научно-Популярных Статей
Turkestan (Yasi), which is located in the South-Kazakh (Yuzhno-Kazakh) region of Kazakhstan, is an ancient and historical city, where the Mausoleum of Khawja Ahmad Yassavi (deceased 1166-67), one of the gems of Muslim architecture, is located. The city emerged in the fourth to sixth centuries CE and reached its peak of development in the twelfth century; by then it had become a political and cultural centre of the Kazakh Khanate.
The book is dedicated to the history of this city and gathers thirteen scientific and popular science articles. The main aim of the editor was to collect the articles published in the past, in different periodicals, and to release them in a single book; many of these articles have become bibliographical rarities.
The collection of articles is published in Russian and accompanied with short reviews in the Kazakh language. The articles included in the collective works, can be divided into three main categories: archaeology, architecture and history.
The article published by Mr. Shuhovtsov is of particular interest, as it is dedicated to research and translation of documents related to waqf (religious endowment) and the Mausoleum of Ahmad Yassavi. These documents, facsimile copies of which are attached as illustrations to the article, are valuable and reliable sources for the study of history of social relations in the city of Turkestan before the Russian conquest of the region.
The value of the article by M. Masson, who was a founder of Central Asian archaeology, cannot be underestimated either, because it refers to the history of the construction of the Mausoleum, drawn on the basis of scrupulous analysis of the primary historical sources.
The article by Mr. Erbulat Smagulov, the editor of the collective articles, mostly deals with the new archaeological materials, found in the course of restoration works at the site of the Yassavi complex.
The book has some shortcomings, such as the lack of bibliographical entries, but is still a valuable source material both for general readers and historians interested in the Muslim architectural monuments and medieval history of the Southern Kazakhstan city of Turkestan (Yasi).
Translated by Ivan Leonidov