• Old Dude seeing me on my phone:Why don't you read the news instead of tweeting and texting.
  • Me:I'm actually reading an article from The Economist on my phone about Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan's mock elections. What are your thoughts on the topic?
  • Old Dude taken aback:I don't know.
  • Me:Well then why don't you read the news instead of chastising teenagers on their phones?
Ancient 'warrior princess' skeleton found in Kazakhstan

The remains of an ancient female warrior have been discovered in South Kazakhstan.

The perfectly preserved skeleton, believed to be a woman based on the skull’s size and shape, was found with a huge sword and dagger.

Archaeologists believe the woman lived in the period between the 11th century BC and fourth century AD. Previously, no records have ever been found of woman warriors in the area.

Experts believe she was a citizen of importance living in the ancient Kanguy state. She is thought to have led a group of nomads who lived somewhere in the area of modern Kazakhstan. Read more.

Historical Drama of Kazakhstan History Made by Kazakhstani
The ten-part epic will follow the dramatic events that led to the birth of the first Kazakh khanate over 500 years ago, after the Mongolian-ruled Golden Horde empire collapsed.

trigly submitted:

A bit outside your wheelhouse, and you may have already got wind of it, but this looks like a cool project!

National pride is running particularly high after Russian president Vladimir offended Kazakhs by dismissing their past and claiming that Kazakhstan had no history. 

Great to see people telling their own story. They do have a history, and they’re going to present it with beautiful cinematography and high production values! 

The article calls it Kazakhstan’s “Game of Thrones”, though I’m thinking more “Marco Polo Without the White Guy”. Having been absorbed in Marco Polo recently, it’d be great to see these stories told without the inherent ‘othering’ of having a western main character!

This looks REALLY cool! Thanks so much for your submission. Here’s the trailer:

As a sidenote, I reaaaallllly wish journalists would stop conflating Game of Thrones and actual history/historical fiction, because it leads to the whole “Things Were Just Like That Back Then” problem. Among others.


Huge Stone Spheres in Mangistau, Kazakhstan

These weird stone spheres have puzzled Russian scientists for over two centuries since their discovery in Kazakhstan in the old Russian empire. Some of them are very small, some are large. Take a closer look… I have few theories in my head what the heck they could be, but I leave that to you to wonder, ok? Few minutes ago I received email from my good old friends from some part of Russia who invite me there, and tempt me to back on Siberian-hike-trek. Well… At least in this month I cannot, have other plans and important things to do with my own life, but I remember well what we discovered there and hope one day, soon, who knows, if nobody knows? ;)



It took millions of years for the Aral Sea to form, and just a few decades to divest it of water

The Aral Sea is situated in Central Asia, between the Southern part of Kazakhstan and Northern Uzbekistan. Up until the third quarter of the 20th century it was the world’s fourth largest saline lake, and contained 10grams of salt per liter. The two rivers that feed it are the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers, respectively reaching the Sea through the South and the North. The Soviet government decided in the 1960s to divert those rivers so that they could irrigate the desert region surrounding the Sea in order to favor agriculture rather than supply the Aral Sea basin.  Aral Sea's surface area has now shrunk by approximately 74%, and its volume by almost 85%. The ecosystem of the Aral Sea and the river deltas feeding into it has been nearly destroyed, not least because of the much higher salinity. The land around the Aral Sea is also heavily polluted, and the people living in the area are suffering from a lack of fresh water, as well as from a number of other health problems. The receding sea has left huge plains covered with salt and toxic chemicals, which are picked up, carried away by the wind as toxic dust, and spread to the surrounding area; the population around the Aral Sea now shows high rates of certain forms of cancer and lung diseases, as well as other diseases. Crops in the region are also destroyed by salt being deposited onto the land.  The United Nations has estimated that the sea will essentially disappear by 2020 if nothing is done to reverse its decline.

  • credit: NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen, using data from the Level 1 and Atmospheres Active Distribution System (LAADS)
  • Map by EB 2010
  • More Info: The Aral Sea Crisis

The petroglyphs in the landscape of Tamgaly, Kazakhstan, dating from approximately 1400 BCE to the 20th century.

Offering us unique insight into the rituals and social organization of the pastoral peoples who inhabited this site through time, the archaeological landscape of Tamgaly contains about 5,000 petroglyphs (rock carvings), which are distributed throughout 48 complexes largely associated with burial grounds and settlements.

The central canyon has the densest concentration of petroglyphs, contains ‘alters,’ and has been interpreted to have had ritual significance. The central canyon is devoid of dwellings, and is thought to have been a place for sacrificial offerings.

During the Middle Bronze Age we see Tamgaly-type petroglyphs, which include zoomorphic beings, people, a huge variety of animals, and 'solar deities (sun-heads).’ During the Late Bronze Age the petroglyphs become smaller in size, and display less variety in what is depicted. Here scenes of pastoral life are popular, reflecting the prominence of nomadic cattle breeding activities during the time. During the Early Iron Age, scenes showing the hunting of wild animals remain present, but we also see camels starting to appear in the art.

If you are interested in reading more about the 'solar-headed’ petroglyphs I would recommend The Archaeology of Shamanism (2001, Routledge), specifically chapter 5. This publication is edited by Neil Price, professor of archaeology at the University of Aberdeen, who is a specialist on shamanism in archaeology.

The petroglyphs within the archaeological landscape of Tamgaly are listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site -their article on the landscape was of great use to me while writing up this post. Photos courtesy of & taken by Ken and Nyetta.


The Sunken Forest of Lake Kaindy in Kazakhstan

Kaindy Lake is a 400 meter long lake in Kazakhstan’s portion of the Tian Shan Mountains located 129 km from the city of Almaty. The lake was created after an earthquake in 1911 that triggered a large landslide blocking the gorge and forming a natural dam. Subsequently, rainwater filled the valley and created the lake.

The lake is famous for its scenic beauty particularly the submerged forest and the imposing trunks of spruce trees that rises out of the lake water. The water is so cold (even in summer the temperature does not exceed 6 degrees) that the great pines still remain on the trees, even 100 years later. (x)